Bill to prohibit classroom discussion of sexual orientation, gender identity heads to Senate for final passage

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House passed legislation to prohibit classroom discussion of sexual orientation and/or gender identity in public schools’ heads to the full Senate after Senate Education approved the bill. Critics refer to the legislation as Louisianan’s version of the “Don’t Say Gay Bill.” Bill author Houghton Representative Dodie Horton disagrees.

“This has nothing to do with saying a word at all. It has to do with protecting our children while they’re in a classroom from unwanted, unapproved conversations,” said Horton.

But opponents like openly gay Public Service Commissioner Davante Lewis said the bill is hateful and it tells children they aren’t accepted if they are different. The former educator said it’s not an issue in the state.

“And it’s a piece of legislation that is being pushed by national extremists who are not in Louisiana to push a conservative ideology agenda across the United States,” said Lewis.

Opponents also say the bill is a solution looking for a problem and that this isn’t an issue in Louisiana. But Horton cited examples that it is happening and even referred to a teacher in Caddo Parish.

“A teacher tweeted out that she delights in causing confusion at her children when they try to guess what her, the teacher’s identity is. Delights in the confusion. Yes, it’s an issue,” said Horton.

Horton said parents should decide how their children learn about these topics and the bill gives parents the right to do that. Lewis said the bill singles out students, teachers, and parents who are different.

“And no one is taking a parent’s right away, every parent has a right but at a certain point one parent’s right of what they don’t like shouldn’t trump another parent’s need for their child,” said Lewis.

In the final days of the session the House Bill 466  heads to the Senate for what could be final passage.

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