Wednesday, April 18, 2012

TN "Don't Say Gay" Bill Advances In State House

*sigh* Last May the Tennessee State Senate passed a fragrantly unconstitutional bill called SB049 which would have banned any discussion of any other sexual orientation other than heterosexuality in that state's public elementary or middle schools. Commonly known as the "Don't Say Gay" bill, it brought much attention (and ridicule) to Tennessee last year.

Today comes word that the Tennessee State House has passed a similar bill (HB229) out of committee just weeks after the Governor allowed a bill  which would basically allow the teaching of creationism in that state's schools to become law without his signature. (Funny how Republican Governor Chris Christie wouldn't let a marriage equality bill become law without his signature but felt he needed to veto it. But I digress!)

The New York Times' Andrew Rosenthal connects the dots:

The small government Republicans who dominate the Tennessee Legislature are taking a very active role in public education. Earlier this month the governor allowed passage of a law protecting teachers who challenge the “scientific weaknesses” of topics such as “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming and human cloning.” The sponsors say it fosters “critical thinking;” its opponents point out the obvious: It’s an anti-science measure intended to promote creationism and intelligent design, and to cast doubt on climate change. 
Now the Legislature is considering a measure that would bar any critical thinking in another area. It would interdict elementary and middle school teachers from discussing homosexuality. 
On Tuesday, House Bill 229 cleared a House education committee. Dubbed by critics the Don’t Say Gay bill, it “prohibits the teaching or furnishing of materials on human sexuality other than heterosexuality in public school grades K-8.” Its sponsor, Rep. Joey Hensley, explained that he has “two children—in the third- and fourth-grade—and [I] don’t want them to be exposed to things I don’t agree with.”

The sheer arrogance of the position that one can ban discussion of topics from children because you don't "agree with" them is breathtaking. I suppose if Rep. Hensley doesn't agree with Euclid's Postulates does that mean Tennessee will get legislation to ban the teaching of Geometry?

(As an aside, it should be noted that it is already illegal under Tennessee law to have an discussion of sex education at the middle or elementary school level.)

And they wonder why Republican's are called the "know nothing" party!

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