The Missouri House has taken up a lot of ridiculous legislation this session. It has passed bills making gun owners a protected class, outlawing the use of Islamic law, guaranteeing the freedom to participate in rodeos and threatening federal officials who enforce the Affordable Care Act with jail terms.
But nothing else has caused a furor like House Bill 2051, aptly dubbed the “don’t say gay” bill. It directs that “no instruction, material, or extracurricular activity sponsored by a public school that discusses sexual orientation other than in scientific instruction concerning human reproduction shall be provided in any public school.”
This bill effectively denies gay and lesbian students a chance to find a supportive haven at school. It bans school-sponsored gay-straight alliances and appears to prohibit teachers and administrators from cautioning against bullying based on sexual orientation.
It is vile legislation, made worse because the two top leaders of the house, Speaker Steve Tilley and Majority Leader Tim Jones, are co-sponsoring it.
The chief sponsor, Republican Steve Cookson of southeast Missouri, a retired school superintendent, no less, told a local television station that his bill has been misunderstood, and he only wanted to shift the discussion of sexuality from schools to the home. Jones said much the same thing, and Tilley has not been heard from.
All this confirms that some of Missouri’s top legislators really do dwell, figuratively, under a rock. Do they really think the topic of sexual orientation can be expunged from classrooms and hallways and consigned to the family dinner table?
Fortunately, the chairman of the House education committee says he doesn’t intend to give Cookson’s bill a hearing. But an apology from House leaders is in order.
Star: "An Apology from House Leaders is in Order"
Copyright 2005-2013, Fired Up!, LLC