Senators voted 20-10 Friday morning to pass Senate Bill 49, known by opponents as the "Don't Say Gay" bill, after accepting a new amendment that says the measure would only ban discussion in prepared materials and instruction. Democrats opposed to the measure argued it would muddy state laws that already restrict sex education in middle and elementary school.
"We have said we should not have age inappropriate material in K through 8," said Sen. Andy Berke, D-Chattanooga. "What we're doing here is passing something just to pass it."
The bill is likely dead for the year. Companion legislation in the House has not advanced out of committee. "But its sponsor has said he will bring it up again next year if the Senate version passes," reports the Commercial Appeal.
More developments on another evil piece of anti-gay legislation in Tennessse. Last week the Senate overwhelmingly passed a law that prohibits local governments from creating anti-discrimination laws that are stricter than the state's. This would effectively "void" a Nashville LGBT non-discrimination ordinance that covers contractors.
The Tennessee Chamber of Commerce, which is headed by Nissan, heavily lobbied for the bill, reports AMERICABlog. Alcoa, AT&T, Comcast, DuPont, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Caterpillar, FedEx, KPMG, United HealthCare and Whirlpool sit on the board.
Very surprising news on the part of FedEx, which is the largest private employer in Memphis. Last year the company announced that it would offer health care benefits to same-sex domestic partners. "It will be extended to all 225,000 domestic employees. Here in Memphis, that means about 30,000 people," FOX 13 reported at the time.
AMERICABog has started an online campaign to pressure the governor to veto the bill.