Roughly a year ago, Tennessee came out with a "Don't Say Gay" bill that would have made it illegal to say the word gay in Tennessee. My colleague, Emily, wrote about it at the time, detailing the narrow-minded insanity of said bill, which has now advanced in a House committee. It has already passed the Senate.
Well, move over Tennessee, you aren't the only state that wants to make it illegal to talk about teh gayz in school. Missouri has decided that it didn't have enough to do, so it's tackling the very important issue of teachers talking about homosexuality in the classroom.
The bill is short, but definitely not sweet. It states:
Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, no instruction, material, or extracurricular activity sponsored by a public school that discusses sexual orientation other than in scientific instruction concerning human reproduction shall be provided in any public school.
The bill has been referred to the Elementary and Secondary Education Committee. It was sponsored by Rep. Stanley Cookson (R-Jackholeville) and has two of the most powerful House Republicans supporting it - Speaker Steve Tilley and Majority Leader Tim Jones. The latter, as pointed out by ThinkProgress in the aforementioned link, is a plaintiff in an Orly Taitz birther suit. To me, that's clearly a sign of someone who just isn't right in the head, and cosponsoring this bill isn't inclined to make me change my mind.
The bill is not just attempt to muzzle freedom of speech, it's aimed at keeping Gay-Straight Alliances from meeting on school property. Straight kids and LGBTQ kids mingling and talking openly about sexuality? Oh, hell, no! We can't have that!
One of the co-sponsors of Tennessee's bill said that he had young children, and he didn't want them exposed to anything that contradicts what he has taught them because it's hard work brainwashing your kids, damn it, and he didn't want that effort to go to waste because of some patchouli-loving, tree-hugging, equal-rights supporting teacher*!
There is scant information on the author of the Missouri bill, but I would bet that he felt similarly. Otherwise, why ban any mention of teh gayz in school? By the way, I don't have children, but if I did, I wouldn't like them to accept creationism, mindless jingoism, or the fact that Snooki exists** - and yet, you don't see me pushing for legislation to outlaw any mention of these things in school, now do you? No, you do not. Why? Because I would want my hypothetical children to be exposed to a variety of ideas, even ones in which I don't believe. Then, I would want little Banana*** to come home and tell me what she'd learned in school so we could discuss it together.
That's just me. Apparently, the rough-and-tough Republicans of Missouri, the party of no government, is so skeered by the word 'gay', they have to use the government to force teachers in school not to say i t! I would be boggled by the stupidity and the cowardly nature of the bill, but the GOP has set the bar so low, nothing seems too stupid for them these days.
P.S. The video above is George Takei, after the Tennessee bill was introduced, offering his last name as a substitute for 'gay'. Happy birthday, Sulu!
image via Wiki Commons, all rights reserved.