Lawmakers Dispose of Campfield's 'Don't Say Gay' Bill Again



Democrats have managed to avoid voting again this year on Rep. Stacey Campfield’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill. It would ban teachers from discussing homosexuality in public elementary and middle schools. No one claims that’s happening now, but so what? This is all about politics, not public policy.

Democrats are afraid to vote down the bill. They know they’d face attacks in their reelection campaigns this year for voting to let gays and lesbians brainwash our schoolchildren. So instead this morning in a House subcommittee, they sent the bill to the state Board of Education for a summer of study. That was the same tactic the subcommittee used last year to kill the bill. We guess one year of study wasn’t quite enough. The vote was 7-3.

“I believe in tolerance,” Campfield told lawmakers, but not “acceptance” of gay people.

“I don’t think we need to be making our children advocates to push any sort of agenda, no matter what it is, be it pro or negative. I don’t think that’s what teachers should be doing.”

Education Department officials pointed out Campfield’s full of it. No one is teaching homosexuality in public schools or even bringing up the topic. Rep. Ulysses Jones, D-Memphis, said, “What we’re doing here is dealing with a figment of this man’s imagination.” Tennessee Education Association lobbyist Jerry Winters castigated Campfield:

“Public schools are being attacked for something that’s not happening, and I don’t appreciate it. I don’t appreciate the intent of this bill. Teachers are not teaching alternate lifestyles in the classroom. If that was happening, they would be told to stop it. If they didn’t stop it, they would rightfully be fired. I represent teachers, and I generally defend teachers. But we’re not going to tolerate that kind of activity. I think this is again not trying to solve problems with the curriculum. This is an attempt to bash public schools and it’s an attempt to bash teachers and it’s obviously an attempt to bash my association.”

Some Republicans came to Campfield’s defense. Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, R-Lancaster, called his bill a “line in the sand, a red flag.”

“Everyone has their rights. They can do what they want to do. We live in a free country. But when we are shaping the minds of young children and sewing into them to be great citizens of this country, I think it’s imperative that we do watch what we teach.”

But one Republican drew his own line in the sand and came out against Campfield. Rep. Ron Lollar, R-Bartlett, said:

“My biggest job in my life is to be a Christian. That’s my biggest job, the most important thing. … I was on the school board for 10 years and we followed state guidelines and I can say unequivocally and without a doubt the state never in any way, form or fashion insinuated that anything be taught that I’ve heard in this room. We stood up for our God. We stood up for our flag. We did things that we could do according to the law. When things get divisive, I feel that’s not in the best interest of this state or this school system.”

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