In 2012 and 2013, the “Don’t Say Gay” bill that sought to ban the teaching of “anything other than heterosexuality” in Tennessee schools failed in the House.
This time around, the bill introduced by Senator Paul Rose and Rep. Debra Moody, both Republicans, received an overwhelming majority of votes (64 - 23) in the Legislature.
Their bill requires school districts to notify parents of any instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity thirty days before the class begins to give them the option of removing their children from these LGBTQ curricula.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee will soon sign the bill into law before it goes into effect.
“How do you try to make people afraid of a certain population? Well, talk about how scary they are in school or refuse to acknowledge that they exist in school,” said Cathryn Oakley of the Human Rights Campaign. “It hurts everybody when LGBTQ people are excluded from those discussions.”
So a new anti-LGBTQ bill was approved in Tennessee after 50 corporations and 134 local businesses expressed their opposition to the legislation in an open letter.
I can tell you right now that there will be consequences to the approval of this anti-LGBTQ law.
Joe Woolley, CEO of the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce, said some events scheduled to take place in Nashville next year have just been canceled and more may follow.
“The business community is overwhelmingly against anti-LGBT bills. Unfortunately, so-called business-friendly legislators are not listening to business or anyone else and continuing to advance discriminatory legislation,” Woolley said in a statement.
Note that another bill that would ban all LGBTQ-related teaching materials is moving through the House.