TN bill outlaws the word “gay” in school

Once again the freedom that I  prize most is under attack. It’s not my state this time but since Texas has shown they are a big fan of copy and paste politics, I’m sure we’ll be seeing some form of this bill here soon. SB 49, a bill that will prohibit educators from discussing homosexuality in schools before the ninth grade, has passed. The bill isn’t set to become a law this year. When it does becomes a law, teachers in violation can be punished by a $50 fine and up to 30 days in jail. That’s right. We’re going to potential jail teachers for teaching human behavior simply because it’s not “normal”. You can look SB 49 up by its number by going to www.capitol.tn.gov.

This bill takes me by surprise though. Really? How hateful has our society gotten? “Homosexuals are IMMORAL! I need the government to step in and save my children from these corrupt individuals.” We’re just inviting censorship and control now. How can people be okay with this?

I wrote the first draft of this article while at a Birthday party for a kid in my daughter’s class. One of the other mom’s decided to read what I was scribbling in my notebook (By the way that is extremely rude.) and commented what a great idea it was. I was in a very patient mood that day so I asked her why this bill was a good idea. She said it would protect against bullying, which we all know is an “epidemic” and it’s the school’s job to do something to protect students. Her stance was that if homosexuality couldn’t be discussed in school then students couldn’t call their peers gay as an insult. I asked her what if the student was gay or had gay parents. What if being gay or connected to a gay person makes you a target for harassment? This bill prohibits the teacher from defusing the situation.

This bill is about hate. It’s about fear. It’s about our government enforcing their “moral” code on us. It’s also another instance where the freedom of speech is in jeopardy.

There is some hope in this giant mess as there are several groups that came forward to protest the bill. Among them was a group of students that converged on the capital. Even though it passed, it doesn’t change the fact that people in TN didn’t let this one slide by. Someone stood up. Someone said no and it was children. With all the outcry I was stunned that this bill passed. How much longer are we going to allow a select group to play with our future? The younger generation is listening; let’s give them something to hear while we still can.

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