Story at a glance
- A Tennessee House committee on Tuesday advanced legislation that would bar public K-12 schools from using educational materials which “promote” or “normalize” LGBTQ+ “issues or lifestyles.”
- The bill now heads to the full House for a vote.
- The bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Bruce Griffey, has claimed that LGBTQ+ issues in schools should be subject to the same restrictions placed on the teaching of religion in public schools.
Lawmakers in Tennessee on Tuesday advanced legislation that would prohibit public schools from teaching young students about “LGBTQ issues or lifestyles.”
Under the bill, sponsored by Republican Rep. Bruce Griffey, the state’s Textbook and Instructional Materials Quality Commission would be banned from recommending instructional materials that “promote, normalize, support, or address lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, or transgender (LGBT) issues or lifestyles.”
The bill, which would apply to all K-12 public schools in the state, was passed by a state House committee on Tuesday and will now go to the full House for a vote. Should the bill pass, it will head to the state Senate for consideration.
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If signed into law, the measure would apply only to textbooks approved by the commission after July 1. Although Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) has not indicated whether he would approve the legislation, he has never vetoed a bill while in office, according to The Associated Press.
“I think most parents would like the sexuality of our children to be left to our parents in the home and not part of a curriculum,” Griffey told the AP.
Griffey added that the “vast” majority of parents in Tennessee agree that materials promoting LGBTQ+ issues and lifestyles should be subject to the same restrictions placed on the teaching of religion in public schools.
That point is argued in Griffey’s bill, which references a portion of the Constitution forbidding school-sponsored prayer.
Public schools may offer lessons about religion in a secular context, and the Bible may be taught in schools, but only for its historical, cultural or literary value.
“The State of Tennessee is not allowed to teach my daughters Christian values that I think are important and they should learn, so I teach those at home,” Griffey told FOX-affiliate WXIX-TV earlier this month. “So, if those are not part of the school curriculum, I don’t see how LGBTQ and other issues and social lifestyles should be part of the curriculum.”
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