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Tennessee Senate approves ‘don’t say gay’ bill

James Park May 20, 2011
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Tennessee’s Senate has passed a bill that proposes to introduce a ban of discussing homosexuality within schools.

The bill, approved by 5 votes to 4 at the Senate will ban all teachers in public elementary and middle schools from talking about the subject.

The legislation, known as the ‘don’t say gay bill’, has been compared to the UK’s hated Section 28 law, which was repealed in 2003.

Senator Roy Herron of Dresden said: “I am concerned that, with the bill as amended now, that we may inadvertently prevent the teaching of ethics or morality, and that we may inadvertently preclude the teaching of abstinence.”

Mr Campfield claims his bill is neutral and is not anti-gay.

In an interview with CNN, he said: “My bill is neutral. It doesn’t say anybody can speak for it or against it. So, I’m sure people wouldn’t want someone coming out and saying, you know, there are some people who say, you know, we should be preaching against it and saying it’s evil, dirty and wrong, or some people say hey, it’s great, wonderful thing.”

“I don’t think that’s appropriate,” he added. “Like I said, I think we need to let the families decide that.”

Mr Campfield has been pushing for the law for years.

According to On Top magazine, he compared homosexuality to bestiality during an interview in 2009.

Speaking to Sirius XM’s Michelangelo Signorile, he said: “If I want to talk about the bestiality movement, do you think we should be teaching that?”

Mr Campfield also claimed that homosexuality was a “learned behaviour”.
The Tennessee Equality Project said the bill could lead to more gay teen suicides.

“We believe it’s a ploy to advance a social agenda into the classroom,” chairman Jonathan Cole told

“And we think it will create an unsafe environment for kids who may be gay, lesbian, transgender or just have questions.”

He added that it would prevent anti-bullying initiatives and ban counsellors from speaking to children who are worried about their sexuality.

“So if they witness a kid being bullied because of sexual orientation, how will they be able to deal with that?” he said.

Similar legislation was introduced in the UK in 1988.

More: Americas, don't say gay, Section 28, Tennessee

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