Tennessee lawmaker scraps ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill

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The sponsor of Tennessee’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill dropped his push to ban the discussion of homosexuality in schools. Republican Rep. Joey Hensley said he is shelving the bill for this legislative session based on the opposition of “some people who didn’t want to vote on it.” He also said he received a promise from the Tennessee Department of Education that the department would send all elementary and junior high schools a letter banning teachers from discussing homosexuality.

The bill cleared the Senate last year and won approval from the House Education Committee with an 8-7 vote this year. The bill was on a clear path to the House floor where it was expected to pass. However, Hensley said the nickname of the bill was ill-placed and it contributed to the unease of some lawmakers who were to vote on the measure. He said the bill would be refiled next year if there was any indication of “alternative lifestyles” being promoted in Tennessee schools.

“With that assurance and the opposition of some people who didn’t want to vote on it, I’ve decided simply not to bring it up,” Hensley told the Knoxville News Sentinel.

Last month, the bill’s co-sponsor Republican Rep. Dwight Scharnhorst made headlines when he compared homosexuality to bestiality while advocating for the bill.

“There is no need to talk about Billy wanting to marry a goat,” he said.

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