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US state may ban discussing homosexuality in schools

Thursday April 28, 2011 08:54:31 AM, IANS

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New York: The US state of Tennessee will soon vote on a bill that would prohibit school teachers from discussing human sexuality "other than heterosexuality" in schools.

School teachers could even lose their jobs for discussing homosexuality with students, Fox News reported.

The state senate will vote on the bill - termed "Don't Say Gay" - that would prohibit educators from "teaching or furnishing of materials on human sexuality other than heterosexuality in public school grades".

The senate education committee has passed the bill.

The author of the bill, state senator Stacey Campfield, has been trying to advance the bill for several years as member of the House.

Campfield said the bill aims to stop gay-rights activists from pushing their agenda inside the classroom.

He cited children's education material that taught homosexuality and said several teachers told him that they were already teaching the material.

He also cited cases in Massachusetts and California.

In Lexington, Massachusetts - the first American state to legalise same-sex marriage - a couple sued after their five-year-old son brought home a book from kindergarten that described a gay family. Another family joined the lawsuit after a second-grade teacher read to the class a fairy tale about two princes falling in love.

A federal judge, however, dismissed the lawsuit saying parents' rights to exercise their beliefs were not violated when their children were exposed to contrary ideas in school.

Campfield said he has received hundreds of letters from around the world that are either hate-filled or that ask him why he proposed the bill.

"Schools shouldn't be advocating for or against homosexuality," he said.

The Tennessee Equality Project, a gay-rights organisation, has condemned the bill.

"We believe it's a ploy to advance a social agenda into the classroom," its chairman Jonathan Cole told Fox News. "And we think it will create an unsafe environment for kids who may be gay, lesbian, transgender or just have questions."

Cole said the bill would increase the risk of suicide among gay children.




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