Press Releases

MTSU Poll: Majority in TN Opposed to Same-Sex Marriage, Also ‘Don’t Say Gay’

Press release from the MTSU Survey Group; March 4, 2013:

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Opposition to gay marriage remains stronger in Tennessee than nearly anywhere else in the country, but the state’s proposed “don’t say gay” law has little support, the latest MTSU Poll indicates.

“Though Tennesseans may be fairly characterized as extremely opposed to same-sex marriage at this point, whether and how homosexuality should be addressed in public schools is a very different matter,” said Dr. Jason Reineke, associate director of the poll at Middle Tennessee State University.

A solid 62 percent majority of Tennesseans oppose “allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally,” while 28 percent are in favor, 6 percent don’t know, and the rest decline to answer, according to the poll.

This nearly two-thirds opposition in Tennessee to legalizing gay marriage is significantly higher than the 43 percent opposition registered nationally in surveys throughout 2012 by the Pew Center for the People and the Press. It is higher even than the 56 percent opposition Pew found to be typical in 2012 of the South Central region that includes Tennessee as well as Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas.

‘Don’t Say Gay’ lacks support

Somewhat paradoxically, though, a 57 percent majority oppose “a law forbidding any instruction or discussion of homosexuality in eighth grade and lower classes in Tennessee public schools,” the key provision of the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill under consideration by the state Legislature. Only 31 percent support such a law, 8 percent are undecided, and the rest decline to answer.

Similarly, nearly half (49 percent) oppose “a law requiring school counselors and nurses in Tennessee’s public schools to notify parents if they believe a student has engaged in homosexual activity, but not if a student has engaged in heterosexual activity.” Only 33 percent support such a law, 14 percent are undecided, and the rest decline to answer.

There was little difference in attitudes toward “don’t say gay” based on attitudes toward gay marriage. Of those who are in favor of gay marriage, 61 percent were opposed to “don’t say gay,” while only 31 percent were in favor. Similarly, among those opposed to gay marriage, 57 percent were opposed to “don’t say gay,” while only 33 percent were in favor.

Attitudes toward parental notification regarding homosexual activity did differ significantly across attitudes toward gay marriage, though. Tennesseans opposed to legalizing gay marriage were about evenly divided on parental notification regarding homosexual activity, with 40 percent in favor and 39 percent opposed. However, among those in favor of legalizing gay marriage, 73 percent were opposed to parental notification regarding homosexual activity, while only 19 percent were in favor.

Breakdown by religious, political affiliations

Interestingly, religious and political affiliations that sharply divide Tennesseans on gay marriage tend not to produce similar divisions on the “Don’t Say Gay” measures.

On the question of gay marriage, 73 percent of the state’s self-described evangelical Christians oppose legalizing gay marriage compared to only 38 percent of those who do not identify themselves as evangelical Christians. And among evangelicals, 85 percent of Republicans are opposed compared to 73 percent of independents and only 54 percent of Democrats.

But asked about a law forbidding instruction or discussion of homosexuality in public school classes up through eighth grade, only 32 percent of evangelicals expressed support, a figure similar to the 31 percent of non-evangelicals who expressed support. Levels of support were similar among evangelicals regardless of whether they considered themselves Democrats, independents or Republicans.

Non-evangelicals are more likely than evangelicals to oppose requiring school counselors and nurses to notify parents of students’ suspected homosexual activity. But the 64 percent of nonevangelicals who are opposed and the 45 percent of evangelicals who are opposed represent the largest segments of their respective groups. In other words, both evangelicals and nonevangelicals tended to express opposition. Non-evangelicals were just more likely to do so.

“The overall opposition to provisions of the so-called ‘don’t say gay’ bill may be due to different political and religious groups opposing those provisions for different reasons,” said Reineke. “For example, non-evangelicals and Democrats may feel that the bill goes too far in discriminating against homosexuality, while evangelical Christians and Republicans may think that the bill doesn’t go far enough in its opposition to homosexuality or that the bill should require school officials to report not only homosexual but also heterosexual activity among young, unmarried students to parents.”

Poll data were collected from Feb. 11–19 via telephone interviews of 650 Tennessee adults conducted by Issues and Answers Network Inc. using balanced, random samples of Tennessee landline and cell phones. The data were weighted to match the latest available Census estimates of gender and race proportions in Tennessee.

Press Releases

TN Transgender Coalition on ‘Crazy’ Legislative Session

Newsletter from the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition; May 4, 2012:

Knoxville Bans Discrimination; Tennessee General Assembly Adjourns

The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC) is pleased that the Knoxville City Council passed the proposed non discrimination ordinance unanimously. We appreciate all of you who stepped up by contacting your Council members and urging them to ban discrimination in City Government against transgender, lesbian, gay, and bisexual employees. We especially wish to express our gratitude to the Mayor, Madeleine Rogero, for her inspired leadership on this issue. Knoxville now joins a list of approximately 200 cities around the country, including Metro Nashville, that have banned such discrimination. Tracked 120 bills and was active lobbying on a number of issues.

The “Crazy” Session Finally Ends

The 2nd Session of the 107th Tennessee General Assembly adjourned on Tuesday, May 1, 2012. Earlier this year, Governor Bill Haslam described many of the bills being debated as “crazy.” We could not agree with him more. During the session, the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC) tracked 120 bills and was active lobbying on a number of issues.

Education: TTPC worked against a bill which would have banned public school teachers from discussing sexual diversity. We also opposed a substitute bill which would place new restrictions on the Family Life Curriculum. We were part of a broad coalition of opponents against both bills which included the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, Tennessee Education Association, Tennessee Equality Project (TEP), and the Women’s Political Collaborative of Tennessee. The former but died in the House, but the latter passed and was sent to the Governor. We also opposed two bills to require parental permission to join student clubs. One died in a Senate committee, but the former passed and was sent to the Governor. TTPC also opposed bills which would have provided religious exemptions for bullying. One was amended to remove the offensive language. TTPC also opposed bills that would permit official recognition of religious organizations in Tennessee schools that discriminate. The version for Colleges and Universities was passed, but was vetoed by Governor Haslam on May 2. The version for High Schools passed in the Senate, but died in the House.

Employment: TTPC fought in support of a bill that would repeal the ban on local non-discrimination ordinances, such as the one adopted by Nashville in 2011. Unfortunately, that effort failed in a Senate committee. TTPC also opposed proposed efforts to extend the local government bans to additional benefits, which which include full health care coverage for transgender workers and domestic partner benefits for couples. That legislation did not move in 2012. TTPC will continue to work against discrimination in the workplace.

Family Issues:There were no bills in 2012 to restrict the rights of LGBT residents to adopt. TTPC will continue to monitor this issue and will oppose any efforts to prevent LGBT Tennesseans from have loving families.

Hate Crimes: TTPC had SB314 by Senator Beverly Marrero (D-Memphis), and HB188 by Representatives Jeanne Richardson (D-Memphis) and Brenda Gilmore (D-Nashville), which would add gender identity or expression to the Hate Crimes Penalty Enhancement Act of 2000. Our list of allies includes the NAACP, NOW, the Tennessee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, and TEP. A House subcommittee was not yet ready to protect the lives of Transgender Tennesseans in 2012.

Health Care: TTPC continued to educate legislators on the need to expand health care coverage to all Tennesseans, and to ensure that coverage was not denied to anyone based on sexual orientation or gender identity, or gender expression.

Personal Documents: TTPC strenuously opposed a bill that would permit harassment of transgender, gender variant, and gender non conforming persons who use public facilities. Because of this, the bill was withdrawn in the Senate. We will continue to fight any effort to move this bill in the future. TTPC was also part of a broad effort to repeal the new law requiring Photo Identification to vote, because we believe this legislation will disfranchise transgender voters. The coalition included the ACLU, AFL-CIO, Center for Independent Living, Common Cause, Mid-South Peace and Justice Center, NAACP of Nashville, NAACP of Tennessee, Nashville Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Nashville Metropolitan Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Organized Neighbors of Edgehill, Tennessee Citizen Action, Tennessee Mental Health Consumer Association, and Urban EpiCenter. The repeal effort failed in a Senate committee.

Birth Certificates: TTPC had SB313 by Senator Marrero, and HB187 by Representatives Richardson and Michael Kernell (D-Memphis), which would permit gender changes on birth certificates. We held a hearing on the bill on March 13, but a majority of committee members were not yet ready to lift the ban. We will continue working with our sponsors and allies to get this important legislation passed in 2012.

Relationships: The House Republican Caucus announced in late 2008 that they would push a bill to ban recognition of civil unions. No such bill was introduced in 2011 or 2012. TTPC previously opposed this legislation in 2004, and is prepared to oppose any such bill in the future.

The 1st Session of the 108th General Assembly will convene on Tuesday, January 8, 2013. TTPC will continue to work for equal rights legislation including transgender persons, and will continue to oppose any legislation denying equal rights to all.

Marisa Richmond, President


And Please Save These Other Dates!

Saturday, May 5, 4 to 7 pm CDT
Upper Cumberland Pride
Dogwood Park
30 East Broad Street

Thursday, May 17, 7:00 pm, EDT
Community Forum
East Tennessee State University
Johnson City

Saturday, June 16
Nashville Pride
Riverfront Park

Saturday, June 23
Knoxville PrideFest

Saturday, July 21
TTPC Summer Meeting

Contact TTPC for information.

The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC) is an organization designed to educate and advocate on behalf of transgender related legislation at the Federal, State and local levels. Founded in 2003, TTPC is dedicated to raising public awareness and building alliances with other organizations concerned with equal rights legislation.

Press Releases

ACLU: Amended ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Still Sends Wrong Message

Letter from the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee; April 20, 2012:

The “Don’t Say Gay” bill has returned from the dead. Despite numerous reports that Rep. Joey Hensley, the sponsor, was not going to move for a vote on the bill, he did just that. The bill passed the House Education Committee by one vote on 4/17/12.

Whether or not Tennessee is embarrassed nationally for passing a bill that fosters discrimination against LGBT people is now in the hands of the House Calendar and Rules Committee.

Urge committee members to send the discriminatory “Don’t Say Gay” bill back to the Education Committee today.

Though amended, this bill is so tainted by its original wording and intent to ban any discussion of sexual orientation that its passage will still send the wrong message to schoolchildren: that a particular group of people are not worthy of recognition or even mention in their day-to-day lives.

Anti-LGBT bullying is clearly a problem in our schools. Research shows that kids as young as elementary school-age frequently hear the word “gay” used negatively. Do we really want to interfere with educators’ ability to encourage all students to be respectful of one another regardless of sexual orientation—promoting safe schools for all students?

Tell legislators that educators should not be hamstrung in their efforts to address all forms of bigotry and harassment.

Thank you for standing up for the fair treatment of all Tennesseans.

Press Releases

TTPC: ‘Shenanigans’ Ongoing in the General Assembly

Newsletter from the Tennessee Transgender Politcal Coalition; April 6, 2012:

We may have said goodbye to March Madness, but the shenanigans in the Tennessee General Assembly have not yet ended.

Family Life Curriculum and Ban on Teaching Diversity

This Tuesday, April 10, the House Education will hold its final meeting. They are expected to vote on HB 3621 by *Gotto, which would place numerous, ridiculous, restrictions on the family life curriculum. Unfortunately, the Senate version, SB3310 by Johnson, passed yesterday. The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition commends Beverly Marrero (D-Memphis) for being the only Senator willing to vote No.

The House bill will be heard this week in both the Education Committees. It is intended as a substitute for the equally odious Ban on Teaching Sexual Diversity (a.k.a., Don’t Say Trans/Don’t Say Gay), HB0229 by *Hensley, Dunn, which is also on the agenda.

We urge you to contact members of the House Education Committee and express your opposition to both HB3621 and HB0229, and then join us in Legislative Plaza, Room 16 on Tuesday, April 10, at 10:30 am, CDT:

Richard Montgomery (R-Sevierville), Chair

Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald), Vice Chair & Bill Co-Sponsor

Joe Carr (R-Lascassas), Secretary & Bill Co-Sponsor

Harry Brooks (R-Knoxville)

Kevin Brooks (R-Cleveland)

John DeBerry (D-Memphis)

Lois DeBerry (D-Memphis)

Bill Dunn (R-Knoxville), Bill Co-Sponsor

Craig Fitzhugh (D-Ripley)

John Forgety (R-Athens)

Ron Lollar (R-Bartlett)

Debra Maggart (R-Hendersonville)

Jimmy Naifeh (D-Covington)

Joe Pitts (D-Clarksville)

Dennis Powers (R-Jacksboro)

John Ragan (R-Oak Ridge), Bill Co-Sponsor

Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville)

John Mark Windle (D-Livingston)

Anti-GSA Bills in Senate Education Committee

On Wednesday, April 11, at 1:00 pm, CDT, the Senate Education Committee will also take up two anti-GSA bill, long fought by TTPC. The first is SB 2488 by Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville), which requires schools to notify parents, by way of student handbooks or policy guidebooks, of school-associated extracurricular activities. TTPC is joined by school administrators in opposing this bill who recognize that this is an unnecessary and bad bill. The House of Representatives passed the companion bill, HB2548 by 74 to 14, but it is not too late to stop this legislation in the Senate.

The second is HB0432 by Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville). This bill, already passed in the House, will require parents to send permission notes to schools before any student can join any club. This is intended to intimidate and harass anyone wishing to join a Gay-Straight Alliance.

The members of the Senate Education Committee are:

Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville), Chair

Reginald Tate (D-Memphis), Vice-Chair

Brian Kelsey (R-Collierville), Secretary

Andy Berke (D-Chattanooga)

Charlotte Burks (D-Monterey)

Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville)

Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City)

Jim Summerville (R-Dickson)

Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville)

If you do not know the name of your State Representative, you can Find Your Legislator by clicking here. Feel free to tell your story and educate them about the reality of the lives of their transgender constituents.

State Senate Supports Workplace Discrimination

On Tuesday, the Senate State and Local Government Committee voted down SB2762 by *Kyle, which repeals the “Equal Access to Intrastate Commerce Act” (a.k.a., No CANDO). TTPC fought against that original bill which bans local governments from adopting their own non discrimination ordinances as Metro Nashville has done. The vote on Tuesday was 2 to 6.

The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition thanks Jim Kyle (D-Memphis) for bringing the bill, and Thelma Harper (D-Nashville) and Joe Haynes, (D-Goodlettsville) for their support as well.

Tennessee Congressman Supports Non-Discrimination Executive Order

With the current leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives also opposed to ending discrimination in the workplace, an online campaign has begun to urge President Obama to sign an Executive Order ending discrimination in federal contracts.

At the beginning of this week, 72 Members of Congress joined the campaign by sending a letter to President Obama asking him to issue an executive order requiring companies doing business with the U.S. government to have non-discrimination policies inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity.

One of those signatories is Steve Cohen of Memphis.

U.S. Representative Stephen Cohen

The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition thanks Congressman Cohen for his continuing support of fairness in the workplace, and we urge the remaining members of the Tennessee Congressional delegation to join him in this effort.

2012 Candidates for Federal and State Offices

Yesterday was the filing deadline for candidates to qualify for the August 2 primaries and November 6 General Elections for Federal and State offices, and various local offices. We urge everyone to review the lists of candidates for U.S. Senate, U.S. House, Tennessee State Senate, and State House, and actively support those who will stand for equal rights for all.

One race of interest is in Hamilton County for House District 27. There, Representative Richard Floyd , who introduced the Bathroom Harassment Act (SB 2282/HB 2279) earlier this year, and said that he wants to to stomp transgender women, is being challenged in the Republican primary by perennial candidate Basil Marceaux. In 2010, Marceaux received national attention, and an endorsement from Stephen Colbert, because of his unorthodox videos.

We will be watching this race closely.

Happy Passover and Easter

We also wish to say to those of you who will be celebrating Passover or Easter that we hope you have a very good weekend.

Education Liberty and Justice NewsTracker

Haslam to Legislators: Drop ‘Don’t Say Gay’

Gov. Bill Haslam just wants “Don’t Say ‘Gay’” to go away.

Talking to reporters Wednesday morning, he reiterated comments he made last month when he said that the controversial bill and several others dealing with sexual orientation should not be a priority for legislators this session.

“It’s no secret we’ve been part of talks there, and I’ve said from the beginning I think there’s better things for the Legislature to occupy themselves with right now,” he said. “We’d love to see the Legislature focus on some other issues right now.”

Haslam’s comments came a day after the House Education Committee delayed action on the bill. The committee’s Republican members arrived 15 minutes late, after reportedly meeting with a member of the Haslam administration, who relayed the governor’s concerns.

On Wednesday, Haslam was asked whether the negative attention the state has garnered as a result of the proposal was part of the reason he’s asking legislators to drop it.

“It’s an issue that we’ve encouraged people to lay aside,” he said. “I think in the end you have to look at any bill, what it actually says, as well as the perception of it. Both of those things are issues here.”

Education Liberty and Justice NewsTracker

Sex-Education Bill Held Over

The House Education Committee Tuesday delayed action on the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill, calling off what has become a weekly event on Capitol Hill.

Bill sponsor Rep. Joey Hensley, R-Hohenwald, told TNReport he rolled the bill because of an amendment proposed by Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville, which rewrites the bill in an attempt to clarify its aim.

The meeting was delayed for 15 minutes as no Republican members were yet present. They were reportedly meeting in Speaker Beth Harwell’s office with a member of the Haslam administration who relayed the governor’s concerns about the bill.

Haslam told reporters last month that such legislation shouldn’t be a priority for lawmakers this session.

The amendment rewrites the bill so that it would require local school systems to adopt “policies and procedures” to ensure that any discussion of human sexuality is “age-appropriate for the intended student audience.” A subsequent section of the amendment states that instruction or materials “inconsistent with natural human reproduction shall be classified as inappropriate” and prohibited before ninth grade.

Additional subsections of the proposed amendment essentially mirror arguments made last week by Dunn, when he attempted to quell what he called “hysteria” about the bill’s implications. The amendment states that the aforementioned policies and procedures shall not prohibit teachers from answering “in good faith” any relevant questions from students or keep school counselors from helping at-risk students or “appropriately responding to a student whose circumstances present issues involving human sexuality.”

In a House subcommittee meeting last week, Dunn argued that the bill – in its current form – was in line with current curriculum. He said adding the bill’s language to the code would simply slow down any future attempt by the state’s Board of Education to change the curriculum by making it so that they must come to legislators first.

Department of Education spokeswoman Kelli Gauthier told TNReport Tuesday that, as currently written, “the bill is consistent with the state’s current curriculum as established by the state board of education.”

Education NewsTracker

Schoolteacher Sex-Talk Dictates Debated

After delays earlier in the legislative session, the so-called “Don’t Say ‘Gay’” bill moved out of a House subcommittee Wednesday afternoon.

As amended Wednesday, the bill, House Bill 0229, states that “instruction or materials” given to public school students before the ninth grade “shall be limited exclusively to natural human reproduction science.”

The amendment is identical to the one applied to legislation the Senate passed last year.

As has been the case every time the bill is scheduled to appear, the hearing room – which had to be changed to accommodate the crowd – was filled to capacity for the House Education Subcommittee’s afternoon meeting. Many in attendance wore purple shirts to signal their opposition to the bill.

Rep. Bill Dunn, the bill’s former House sponsor who brought the amendment Wednesday, said the new language is in line with current curriculum and state code. The amendment, he said, effectively makes it so that the state’s Board of Education will have to come to legislators before changing the curriculum in the future. He also tried to quell what he called the “hysteria” surrounding the bill.

“This bill [as] amended does not prohibit the use of the word ‘gay,’” he said. “It does not change the anti-bullying statute and it does not prohibit a school guidance counselor from discussing issues of sexuality with a student.”

Rep. Joey Hensley, R-Hohenwald, who is sponsoring the bill in the House, reiterated Rep. Dunn’s comments, saying that the bill requires teachers to follow the curriculum and does not ban them from answering questions brought by students about human sexuality.

Democratic House Leader Craig Fitzhugh spoke against the bill, saying he “[did] not know the purpose of bringing this legislation again at this time” and calling it a “solution looking for a problem.”

But Rep. John DeBerry Jr., D-Memphis, was the most vocal Democrat Wednesday afternoon.

In a passionate defense of the legislation, he chided those who he said were demonizing people with views different from their own. He also defended “the basic right[s] of an American,” which he said included the right to “run my home, raise my children as I see fit.”

Education NewsTracker

Early Timeout Taken on Bill Restricting Human Sexuality Discussions in Public Schools

A measure making it illegal for public elementary or middle schools in Tennessee to teach about homosexuality has cropped up again in the state Legislature and suffered a minor setback Wednesday.

But Rep. Joey Hensley delayed committee action on the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill, after a request from House Education Committee Chairman Richard Montgomery.

Hensley, R-Hohenwald, who serves as the number two man on the committee and chairs the subcommittee where the bill currently rests, told TNReport Wednesday the controversial legislation will most likely reappear in three weeks.

House Bill 229, which has become the source of an annual hubbub on the Hill and was to be the target of protests Wednesday, would prohibit schools from providing “instruction or materials” that discuss sexual orientations other than heterosexuality.

The proposal has previously drawn national media attention, falling on sympathetic ears as well as eliciting criticism that it turned the state Senate into “a national laughing stock” when that body last year passed a version of the bill – Senate Bill 49 – by Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville. The measure died in the House.

Montgomery, R-Sevierville, said he asked Hensley for the delay after several committee members asked for more time to look at it. Explaining the move to the committee, Montgomery said the bill would be packaged with other curriculum legislation and taken up at a later date.

Hensley recently replaced Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville, as the bill’s lead sponsor. Dunn, who still appears as a co-sponsor, said, “The key point was strategy.”

As a committee leader, Hensley is well-positioned to shepherd the bill forward, and Dunn noted Hensley’s status as a father, a doctor and a former school board member as reasons his sponsorship might be advantageous for the legislation.

Hensley has also just announced plans to to run for a new state Senate seat.

Montgomery said he hasn’t surveyed the committee’s membership and that he’s still on the fence himself.

“I’m not sure yet where I’m at,” he said. “I’d like to get all the knowledge we can first.”

One leading statehouse Democrat said the early appearance of such a controversial bill sets the wrong tone for the legislative session.

“Why are we doing this? It’s just a political move,” said Democratic House Leader Rep. Craig Fitzhugh, of Ripley. “The first meeting out of the box, I think you have to set the tone, and this is not a good tone to set.”

Both Hensley and Dunn said they feel confident they have the votes to get the bill out of committee this time. But if they don’t, that doesn’t mean it’s going away. Campfield, who has pushed the measure for years, said another delay wouldn’t phase him.

“Hopefully it will make it up to the House,” he said. “But if not, we’ll be back again next year.”

News NewsTracker

A Lot to Say about ‘Don’t Say Gay’

A story on about Knoxville Republican state Sen. Stacey Campfield’s effort to prohibit teachers from discussing “human sexuality other than heterosexuality in public school grades K-8” is among the news site’s most read and commented-upon stories of the day.

As of this posting at 2:30 CDT it was approaching 5000 comments.

Campfield’s bill, SB49, is scheduled for a floor vote in the Senate on Thursday.

From the Fox story:

Campfield told that he has gotten hundreds of letter from around the world that are either hate-filled or asking him why he proposed the bill.

“Schools shouldn’t be advocating for or against homosexuality,” he said.

The Tennessee Equality Project, a gay-rights organization, condemned the bill.

“We believe it’s a ploy to advance a social agenda into the classroom,” Chairman Jonathan Cole told “And we think it will create an unsafe environment for kids who may be gay, lesbian, transgender or just have questions.”

Cole took issue with how broad the bill is written, arguing that it effectively prohibits all educators, including guidance counselors, from talking about homosexuality with students.

“So if they witness a kid being bullied because of sexual orientation, how will they be able to deal with that?” he said, adding that the bill would increase the risk of suicide among gay children.

“Why is it that legislators are trying to micromanage curriculum?” he said, charging Campfield with failing to produce evidence that this is a problem in schools. “Why don’t they leave it to local schools boards?”

But Campfield said his bill won’t prevent educators from addressing bullying and that families should ultimately decide when their kids should receive sex education.

“This is stopping the advocating of one point of view over another,” he said.