“Don’t Say Gay” Advances in Tennessee

In other outstanding Republican-led legislative action on the cultural front, a subcommittee of the Tennessee House of Representatives approved the infamous “Don’t Say Gay” legislation passed last year by the State Senate, banning any classroom discussion of homosexuality in public schools prior to the ninth grade. The Senate action attracted a great deal of national attention, in part thanks to the aggressively ignorant homophobic views of its sponsor, Sen. Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville).

While House Democratic leader Craig Fitzhugh was the only member of the subcommittee to speak against the measure, another Democrat, John DeBerry of Memphis, had perhaps the most interesting comment in favor of “Don’t Say Gay:”

The basic right as an American is my right to life, my right to liberty and my right to the pursuit of happiness. Within that includes being able to run my home, raise my children as I see fit and to indoctrinate them as I see fit.

Ah yes, parenting as “indoctrination.” But some parents clearly need indoctrination on how to indoctrinate, as Nashville Scene‘s Jeff Woods noted:

Before the House education subcommittee acted, chairman Joey Hensley scored bonus points by admonishing all Tennessee parents not to let their children watch “Modern Family” on television because they might discover there are homosexuals in the world.

These days, life often imitates parody.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.