Tennessee’s Newest “Don’t Say Gay Bill” is Worse Than it Ever Was


By now the Tennessee bill, which has been nicknamed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, is pretty famous. That’s not surprising because it has been introduced every year for at least seven years. Though the wording seems to differ each time it is introduced, the basic premise is always the same:  teachers are prohibited from discussing “any sexuality other than heterosexuality” in grades K through 8. Each time it’s introduced the bill meets with both praise and contempt. Some say it would keep inappropriate topics away from innocent young children while others say it is blatant discrimination and censorship.

Last year’s version of the bill was never put to a vote by the General Assembly but one of its sponsored warned that it would be taken up again if it turned out that “alternative lifestyles” were being promoted in the school. 

Perhaps the sponsor has found evidence of such “promotion” because the bill is back and it’s worse than before. Once again called the “Classroom Protection Act,” the 2013 version states:

At grade levels pre-K through eight (pre-K-8), any such classroom instruction, course materials or other informational resources that are inconsistent with natural human reproduction shall be classified as inappropriate for the intended student audience and, therefore, shall be prohibited.

It also includes a new provision that allows school personnel to intervene if they fear that an individual student is:

“…engaging in, or may be at risk of engaging in, behavior injurious to the physical or mental health and well- being of the student or another person.”

Once the school intervenes, the bill says that:

Parents or legal guardians of such students shall be notified as soon as practicable of the circumstances requiring intervention.”

While this provision is clearly subject to interpretation, many see this as code for forcing schools to “out” any kid they suspect of being gay to his or her parents. Though the bill’s lead sponsor, Republican Senator Stacey Campfield, has said the bill is not trying to single out anyone’s sexual identity, he has made so many outrageous and homophobic comments in the press in the past few weeks that it’s hard to think anything but the worst. 

On January 31st he told USA Today that:

“Being gay is not a dangerous activity. The act of homosexuality is very dangerous to someone’s health and safety.”

On February 1st he called into TMZ and called LGBT advocates “the biggest bullies in the world” and said he wished the gay community would “…quit trying to ram it down everybody’s throats… and quit pushing it on everyone. Just leave us alone.”

When the TMZ host asked him why not teach young people how to protect themselves if they are going to engage in homosexual acts anyway, Campfield compared homosexuality to heroin use, saying:

“You know, you could say the same thing about kids who are shooting heroin. We need to show them the best ways to shoot up. No, we don’t. Why do we have to hypersexualize little children? Why can’t we just let little kids be little kids for a while?”

During that interview, Campfield also explained that HIV rates are so high in Africa because “they are really into sodomy” and that it is virtually impossible to get HIV during heterosexual sex. (Wow.)

And Huffington Post reports that using the handle The__Sen, Campfield replied to a commenter on the Knoxville News Sentinel’s website who opposed the bill’s suggestion that schools should contact parents by saying: 

“Just so I have this straight, you want me to make it so if a school catches one 12-year-old boy providing unprotected sex in the bathroom to five other boys that activity would not be reported to the parents right?”

Such homophobic rants are not new for Senator Campfield. According to the Gay Star News he has in the past called homosexuality a “learned behavior” and compared it to bestiality.  Worse, he justifies his suggestion that homosexuality is “dangerous” by saying that: 

“… AIDS came from the homosexual community — it was one guy screwing a monkey, if I recall correctly, and then having sex with men. It was an airline pilot, if I recall.”  

I suppose we can’t be surprised that someone with these beliefs keeps trying to get a “Don’t Say Gay” law passed in his home state. I continue to be surprised, however, that someone with these beliefs keeps getting elected. 

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jonathan-Kuperberg/698603245 Jonathan Kuperberg

    This is a pro-family bill requiring parents to be informed about their minor children’s sexual preference and/.or behaviour should they take the liberty of disclosing it to a supposed authority figure. Please do not smear it. This is elementary respect for parental rights in an age where anti-family teachers and other professionals threaten deeply held values.

    • PreferNotToDisclose

      Unfortunately, many families are not as accepting of their child’s orientation, and ‘outing’ those students by informing their parents, may put them at serious risk. Children who do not receive their parents’ acceptance are significantly more likely to not pursue post-secondary education, abuse substances, or commit (or attempt to commit) suicide. It is perfectly fine to cherish the deeply-held values you mention, but it becomes less ethical when those values jeopardize the health and lives of children.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jonathan-Kuperberg/698603245 Jonathan Kuperberg

        I am absolutely not “jeopardizing” the “lives” of anyone- this language is far too inflammatory and close to saying I have blood on my hands. If a child did indeed kill themselves because of their parents’ hatred or rejection of them, it would be partly due to their already fragile mental state, in part the fault of the parents and potentially others would share guilt if they, for example, bullied them or knew they were in trouble and failed to get help for them. A teacher who informs parents would just be doing her job in passing this important information to a family; what they do with it is their responsibility.

        Defining “acceptance” is also a sticking point; as for me, if a child came out to me as homosexual I would be disappointed but would continue to love them and welcome them within the family, and would treat them no differently than a straight son or daughter, but I would let them know that my belief was that the homosexually inclined should abstain from sex. Except where a child is in danger of immediate significant harm parents should have a right to expect that their child’s school will not collaborate in a campaign of secrecy against them.

        The other reason I like this Bill is that it is now sexual preference neutral: it does not only cover homosexuality, but would for instance require parents to be informed if a girl disclosed she was having underage sex and thought she may be pregnant. This is another matter which schools have no business covering up.

        • Liberty

          You do have blood on your hands your disgusting Nazi maggot.

        • fiona64

          Wrong again, you sorry POS. Your homophobic, bullying rhetoric is *exactly* why so many gay kids suicide. Anyone who reads your putrid posts knows that you’re a sick bastard who revels in that.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jonathan-Kuperberg/698603245 Jonathan Kuperberg

            Ahh come on… we haven’t spoken for weeks, I walked away from our discussion because it was getting crazy and I was dropping nuggets of virulent extremism only to get the same and worse back from leftists which won’t help either of us on the last day- Christ never called us to scream nasty names and lurid rhetoric at our brothers and sisters in Him over politics, so I repented of doing so and left you alone. Why do you now, in Holy Week, the most sacred week of the year for many believers, start with your venomous and false speech against me?

    • Liberty

      This is anti-freedom and you are a Nazi