‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill May Ban Tennessee Teachers From Discussing Homosexuality

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Because if you don’t talk about something, it doesn’t exist, right?

A committee in the Tennessee State Senate has green-lighted a bill that, if passed, would ban elementary and middle teachers from discussing homosexuality at school. The legislation, dubbed the ‘don’t say gay’ bill, would mandate that before ninth grade, teachers not “provide any instruction or material that discusses sexual orientation other than heterosexuality.”

(More on Time.com: See a photo history of the gay-rights movement.)

The bill supporters, including sponsor Sen. Stacey Campfield, a Republican from Knoxville who unsuccessfully pushed the same bill in the House for six years before being elected to the Senate, say the bill is “neutral” and simply leaves it up to families to decide when it is an appropriate time to talk to their kids about sexuality.

But in only restricting speech about homosexuality, not heterosexuality, the measure seems to have a more one-sided agenda than the sponsor purports. That point has led gay-rights activists to call the bill a form of discrimination, especially as it bars teachers from talking about gay issues or sexuality even with students who identify as gay or have gay parents.

The bill will next be put up for a vote before the state’s full, Republican-controlled, Senate.

(More on Time.com: Watch a video of Gay Days at Disney’s Magic Kingdom.)