Louisiana ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Passes State House
A controversial bill has won passage in one Louisiana State chamber. The state's "don't say gay" legislation passed Tuesday in the Louisiana House 67-28.
The anti-LGBT legislation would outlaw K-12 public school teachers and staff from mentioning sexual orientation and gender identity in school. It would also ban these discussions during extracurricular activities, which could impact debate, theatre, and sports.
The term at the heart of Louisiana's "don't say gay" bill is this part about how gender and sexual identity cannot be discussed:
“in a manner that deviates from state content standards or curricula developed or approved by the public school governing authority.”
Which essentially allows teachers or staff to discuss heterosexual relationships and sexual activity. This also comes into plays with part of the bill that addresses teachers directly. The anti-LGBT legislation would force teachers to use a student’s name and pronouns that align with their sex assigned at birth.
Bills like this have passed in multiple states, and have reminded people of the failed "don't ask, don't tell" policy the United States Military once used. It has also forced business leaders to challenge states that have passed the legislation.
United Teachers of New Orleans Union President Dave Cash told The Advocate:
“Every educator knows that having strong relationships with students is critical to building a community of trust in the classroom...Imagine not being able to share stories from your own family experiences to connect with those you teach. These bills would have a deeply chilling effect on schools, students, and educators alike."
Interestingly, for a law said to be about children and parents, and not specific beliefs held by politicians, a parent can tell the school that their child should be referred to by certain pronouns, or by a different name, but a teacher can simply reject that under this legislation. Suggesting that the parents and children do not actually matter in the scope of this plan.
The Louisiana "don't say gay" bill is now moving to the State Senate for final passage, then onto the Governor to be signed. If Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards vetoes the legislation, there will have to be a vote to get 2/3 of both Louisiana chambers to override the veto.