NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Tennessee children will be shielded from the word homosexuality if one lawmaker has his way. It's another contentious debate that could find its way to the State House this week.
"We're not going to teach about topics that I think should be taught at home in the first place. We're not going to teach about homosexuality, the homosexual lifestyle, the lesbian lifestyle, the transgendered lifestyle. We're going to leave that up to families to decide when it's age appropriate, when it isn't appropriate, and what they want to tell their children," said State Rep. Stacey Campfield, (R) Knoxville.
House Bill 29-97 is slated to file through a House sub-committee Tuesday about the time an army of opponents plan to appeal to lawmakers for equal rights. The Tennessee Equality Project said Campfield's proposal to teach exclusively hetero-sexuality is an embarrassment and an attack on the spirit of education.
Chris Sanders, TN Equality Project: "Teachers don't have to advocate one side or the other. But they do have to give opportunity for students to explore those issues and debate those issues -- particularly in 7th and 8th grade when they're learning to think critically," said Chris Sanders with the Tennessee Equality Project.
It is a divisive issue. But some teachers, who stick to science, teaching physiology over feelings, are square in the middle. Parent of three and former teacher, Lisa Howard said taking the word from textbooks doesn't make homosexuality go away.
"It's really not fair to the student population to shun the topic, because of a lot of their peers are gay," said Howard.
Campfield said his classroom idea doesn't have a pro-gay or anti-gay slant. He said it's more middle of the road and adds the GLBT or the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender community should thank him for protection.
"There could be a teacher out there who is preaching, or teaching, against, against the lifestyle.. saying how terrible, rotten, evil it is. And what this bill would do is say, that teacher has to be quiet just as much," said Campfield.
Tuesday, roughly 100 members of the GLBT community and their supporters will be on Capitol Hill for the 4th Annual Advancing Equality Day on the Hill.