Friday, May 20, 2011

Tennessee Senate Passes Reworked "Don't Say Gay" Bill

     The Tennessee State Senate passed a reworked version of the "Don't Say Gay" bill this morning 20-10. Though it is too late in the legislative season to pass it through the House, it will be introduced in that body in next years legislative season. The Tennessee Equality Project has been doing an excellent job at keeping voters and citizens informed about this bill, the potential effects on students, and what it means for the state, as well as what we can do as individual citizens to lobby for the bills death.

     The bill that passed in the Senate today was a more watered down version of the legislation. Instead of blatantly stating that homosexuality could not be discussed in any way shape or form in grades K-8, the bill now only says that homosexuality cannot be a part of the "official curriculum" of the state. Though this is a tad bit better than the original legislations - as it allows students to ask about sexual orientation and get answers from teachers - in my opinion it still has the same effect.

     As I have said previously in my discussions on this legislation, it is a backhanded approach to placating the social conservative element of the Republican party. It effectively singles out homosexuality as something that absolutely cannot be discussed, thus giving it a sense of "abnormality". Instead of showing that homosexuality is something that exists in almost all animal species and that there are family structures that are equally as valid as the "traditional" one, it idolizes one family structure and orientation over the others; effectively establishing a hierarchical ladder of values. It is interesting to note that the social conservatives have no problem elevating their own values above everyone else's -  what this bill in effect does - but yet when the LGBT community just wants their values placed on an equal playing field as the social cons, the social cons cry indoctrination and a "gay agenda".  I for one will never understand their hypocrisy.

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