Be careful, Missouri and Tennessee educators: it may soon be against the law to say "gay."
Last week in Missouri, House Republicans are advancing a bill that would also prohibit discussions relating to sexual orientation "other than in scientific instruction concerning human reproduction." The bill's sponsor, state Rep. Steve Cookson, argues that the bill is not meant to promote homophobia, but that his intent is to shift the conversation about sexuality away from the classroom and back into the home.
State Rep. Andrew Koenig, chairman of the state's House Ways and Means Committee, told the Huffington Post that sexual orientation should be a discussion in the home for parents to talk with their kids about, not a discussion for school: "It is a pretty political subject. I know there are a lot of parents that do not want the homosexual agenda taught in the schools." Koenig added that he supports an amendment to the proposed bill that would allow LGBT issues to be discussed in current events classes.
Meanwhile in Tennessee, the House advanced a bill last week that would restrict the state's elementary and middle schools from "providing any instruction or material that discusses sexual orientation other than heterosexuality." The original bill was introduced last year by Sen. Stacey Campfield and passed in the Senate (20-10), but was defeated in the House.
One of the most vocal opponents of Tennessee's "don't say gay" bill is Republican governor Bill Haslam, who told Nashville Public Radio that the bill was not helpful or necessary. After the bill was reintroduced in the House, Gov. Haslam reiterated his stance, telling Tennessee's NewsChannel 5, "It's no secret we've been part of talks there, and I've said from the very beginning I think there's better things for the legislature to occupy themselves with right now."
The Tennessee Senate and House also recently approved a bill that would eliminate sex education from K-8 public school curriculum.
Because if you don't acknowledge something exists, that means it'll just go away, right?