Connect with us

Did Tennessee Go All The Way With Anti-Gay School Sex Bills?



The Tennessee Legislature has spent much of the past few years focusing on conservative Christian-based “education” bills, and has become so much of a joke that Governor Bill Haslam recently was forced intervene, and suggest they shelve the infamous “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The Governor has chastised the media for actually covering all the archaic, religion-based bills that have made a mockery of the institution itself, bills like one that would classify hand-holding “gateway sexual activity,” and bills that preach abstinence-only sex education. Even a cyber-bullying bill was debated, but of course did not pass after one lawmaker was upset that students who literally bullied classmates to death might become criminals, claiming that poor parenting and not bullies are the cause of gay youth and teen suicides.

Fortunately, today is the final day of the Legislature’s session.

Last week, lawmakers supporting the “Don’t Say Gay” bill compared same-sex marriage to bestiality, then Republican state Rep. Steve Cookson, the bill’s sponsor in the House, grew upset and said he felt misunderstood when Tennessee citizens expressed anger. Tennessee state Senator Stacey Campfield, then sponsor of the Senate’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill has claimed (falsely) it’s virtually impossible to contract HIV through heterosexual sex.

The fate of the infamous Tennessee “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which would make it illegal to discuss anything related to homosexuality, is now in doubt. One of the sponsors of the House version reportedly has decided he will not bring the bill to the floor today, although until the session is officially ended, he still can.

“An education measure known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill was posed for final action in the House, despite Haslam’s call for lawmakers to focus on other education issues,” the Knoxville News Sentinel reported:

But Republican Rep. Joey Hensley of Hohenwald told The Knoxville News Sentinel on Sunday night that he won’t seek a vote on the measure in exchange for a pledge from state education officials that they will send a letter to all state schools “telling them they cannot teach this subject in grades kindergarten through eight.”

“With that assurance and the opposition of some people who didn’t want to vote on it, I’ve decided simply not to bring it up,” said Hensley.

Perhaps what was most embarrassing for supporters of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill was its sheer and utter uselessness. Aside from the fact that there are civil liberties issues at stake, and that the bill would demonize homosexuality even more, the bill, it turns out, was drafted to fix something that did not exist.

The “Don’t Say Gay” bill was placed on hold last month after lawmakers realized that the bill was not only unnecessary from their own standpoint, but counterproductive as well. In grades K -8, the bill would have made it illegal to discuss homosexuality in any manner at all, and allow only the discussion of heterosexual reproduction.

Lawmakers in the House put a hold on the bill upon learning — after more than two years of debate — that Tennessee does not have sex education classes in grades K – 8.

We found out there really is not sex education curriculum in K-8 right now,” GOP Rep. Bill Dunn, one of the bill’s sponsors said.

In Tennessee, yet another ludicrous and poorly-drafted bill, the “embryo bill,” has became law. Miscarriage is now murder in Tennessee, under certain circumstances, which the bill insufficiently defines.

Earlier this month, the legislature passed a “monkey law” bill that protects teachers who teach creationism, and those who welcome “debate” on culture war issues, like global warming. The Governor was too embarrassed to sign the bill, but allowed it to become law anyway.

The Tennessee House last week passed a bill that would force thousands of Tennessee children every year to take a “maturity test” to enter kindergarten. The Senate did not act on the bill.

Senator Stacey Campfield‘s bill requiring drug testing — presumably, urine tests — for welfare recipients last week passed in the Senate by a 24-9 margin. The House did not take up the measure.

The Legislature also passed the now-infamous hand-holding-is-gateway-sexual-activity bill, “drafted by a conservative Christian organization,” and it’s on it’s way to Governor Bill Haslam’s desk. Will he sign it?

Image via Flickr.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.


Reporters Reveal Some Republicans Don’t Understand What a Default Means – and Don’t Believe the Debt Ceiling Is Real



CNN’s Jim Acosta and John Avlon compared notes on Republicans speaking on raising the debt ceiling over the weekend only to realize that the far-right members refuse to support the deal between Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Joe Biden.

Acosta cited an interview he conducted Saturday with Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN), who said he’s voted for shutdowns and would vote again this week.

After ranting about cutting spending, Acosta said, “Well, you can have the argument about cutting spending during the budget and appropriations process, but as you know, Congressman, the U.S. has never missed making payments on its bills before. In the last 45 years, Congress has raised the debt ceiling 65 times. So, again, I go back to the question: is it responsible — I understand what you’re saying about how much your daughter spends, but we’re not talking about $15. We’re talking about the American economy. Is it responsible to be the deciding vote to send the country into default?”

Burchett claimed that the country wasn’t going to be sent into default. He crafted a conspiracy that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen kept changing the date the U.S. default would happen.

“Nobody is, as the young people say, nobody has provided the receipts. Nobody has called her into Washington and said, ‘Show us the math on this,'” he said.

Yellen works at the Treasury Department, which is in Washington.

Burchett also had his own math, saying that if they cut the budget spending to the 2022 levels, the country would be in a surplus. The House passed a massive defense spending package that would have required cuts from other places.

“All they’re doin’ right now is scarin’ people,” Burchett claimed. “They’re talkin’ about cutting programs that have no need other than political cronyism, we’re tellin’ our seniors — and the Democrats will, and I get it — they’re tellin’ the seniors they’re gonna be cut. Veterans are gonna be cut. And nothing can be farther (sic) from the truth. And that’s just the reality of politics.”

The reason Democrats were citing cuts to seniors and veterans goes back to the Republican Party budget bill that required cuts to seniors and veterans. That’s because returning to the 2022 budget levels means making cuts to increases already passed by Congress.

Acosta turned back to Burchett to ask if he believed the debt ceiling wasn’t real.

“I think the debt ceiling is — it’s just a creative thing to hold us into responsible — into check,” said Burchett.

Avlon cited Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC), who claimed he refused to sign a bill that would bankrupt the economy.

“Well, hold it right there,” said Avlon. “I mean, if you let the country default on its debt, that’s functionally the same thing.”

An annoyed Avlon was frustrated the process was even something allowed to happen.

“It’s a fact, Congress has to control the pursestrings. So, frankly, someone should figure out the 14th Amendment side of this because I think this is not the way we’re supposed to play ball, the greatest nation in the world constantly every couple of years when there’s a Democratic president flirting with defaulting on our debt because it’s fiscal policy by extortion,” said Avlon. “This is a win to the extent that we came up to a bipartisan agreement, but this is not the way the greatest nation in the world should conduct its fiscal policy. It’s ridiculous. And it didn’t happen when Donald Trump was president because Democrats worked with Republicans to ensure the debt ceiling was raised three times.”

See the discussion below or at the link here.

Image: GOP Rep. Tim Burchett


Continue Reading


‘Start the Kevin McCarthy Death-Clock’ After Biden Wins Debt Ceiling Battle: Rick Wilson



Appearing late Saturday night on MSNBC after it was announced that President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) had reached an agreement “in principle’ on a budget deal, former GOP strategist Rick Wilson claimed this could be the beginning of the end for McCathy’s speakership.

Sitting in on a panel with guest host Michael Steele, Wilson suggested that McCarthy’s decision to compromise with the president to avoid a default that would spin the economy into chaos will not go over well with far-right members of his House caucus who could make a motion to “vacate the chair” to express their displeasure.

Asked by host Steel about what comes next, Wilson stated it was a win for the White House which will not make conservatives happy.

RELATED: ‘Crazy cuckoo MAGA people’ could sink debt ceiling deal: Dem strategist

“Great night for Joe Biden, great night for the White House even though I think their messaging has been kind of tentative the past few weeks” the Lincoln Project founder began. “I think though we are now going to start the Kevin McCarthy death-clock. He has certainly got a very angry part of his caucus tonight who probably burning up his phone no matter how good it is for the country not to default.”

“It’s not going to please the chaos caucus in the GOP,” he added.

Watch below or at the link:


Continue Reading


Debt Ceiling: McCarthy Faces ‘Lingering Anger’ and a Possible Revolt as Far-Right House Members Start Issuing Threats



As House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) continues to negotiate a deal to avoid a debt crisis, members of the far-right Freedom Caucus are growing furious with him over broken promises he made to them.

According to MSNBC political analyst Steve Benen, with a slim GOP majority in the House, McCarthy is walking a tightrope to get a budget deal passed and may need help from House Democrats if members of his caucus refuse to go along with him.

As Benen points out, in order to win the speakership McCarthy agreed to an easier path for a motion to “vacate the chair” which could end his tenure as Speaker. That could come into play if the Freedom Caucus stages a revolt.

“… as the negotiations approach an apparent finish line, the House Republicans’ most radical faction is learning that it isn’t likely to get everything its members demanded — and for the Freedom Caucus, that’s not going to work,” he wrote in his MSNBC column.

ALSO IN THE NEWS: Trump in danger of heightened espionage charges after bombshell report: legal expert

Citing a Washington Times report that stated, “[Freedom Caucus members] want everything from the debt limit bill passed by the House last month plus several new concessions from the White House,” Benen suggested far-right House Republicans are now issuing veiled threats.

In an interview, Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) stated, “I am going to have to go have some blunt conversations with my colleagues and the leadership team. I don’t like the direction they are headed.”

With Politico reporting, “The [House Freedom Caucus] was already unlikely to support a final bipartisan deal, but lingering anger with Kevin McCarthy could have lasting implications on his speakership,” Benen added, “If this is simply a matter of lingering ill-will from members who come to believe that GOP leaders ‘caved,’ the practical consequences might be limited. But let’s also not forget that McCarthy, while begging his own members for their support during his protracted fight for the speaker’s gavel, agreed to tweak the motion-to-vacate-the-chair rules, which at least in theory, would make it easier for angry House Republicans to try to oust McCarthy from his leadership position.”

Adding the caveat that he is not predicting an imminent McCarthy ouster he added, “But if the scope of the Freedom Caucus’ discontent reaches a fever pitch, a hypothetical deal clears thanks to significant Democratic support, don’t be surprised if we all start hearing the phrase ‘vacate the chair” a lot more frequently.”

Continue Reading


Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.