Georgia state senators introduced a bill on Tuesday similar to Florida’s recently-passed legislation — that some have referred to as a “Don’t Say Gay” bill — to ban schools from discussing sexual orientation and gender identity in public school classrooms for younger students.
SB 613 aims to keep discussions of controversial topics like gender identity or sexual orientation out of instructional materials of primary grades across the state.
“No private or nonpublic school or program to which this chapter applies shall promote, compel, or encourage classroom discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not appropriate for the age and developmental stage of the student,” the bill proposes.
If passed, the law could apply on July 1 of this year, in time for the next school year.
In addition to banning instruction regarding sexual orientation and gender identity, the Georgia bill also includes provisions to stop the teaching of elements of Critical Race Theory in classrooms, though the bill’s wording does not use the term.
“Gives annual written assurances that the school in no way directs, promotes, encourages, or compels students to personally affirm, adopt, or adhere to any of the following tenets: (i) That any sex, race, ethnicity, color, or national origin is inherently superior or inferior,” section four of the bill adds.
In addition to public schools, the legislation would also apply to any private school receiving funding through the Georgia GOAL scholarship program.
Republican Sen. Carden Summers, who introduced the bill, told Axios in a statement, “You can’t use the woke philosophy while using taxpayer funding.”
The Atlanta Constitution Journal reported, “Senate Bill 613 stands little chance of passing this late in the legislative session, though its provisions could be spliced onto other proposals that have already gained traction.” Others have seen it as a political push, as Burt Jones, a Republican currently running for lieutenant governor in the state, has supported the bill.
“No teacher should be promoting gender identity discussions with small children in a classroom setting — which is exactly what this bill says and why I support it,” Jones said, according to the AJC.
Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis faced pushback from the mainstream media this week after signing a similar bill in his own state.
Reporter Evan Donovan shared a video of the exchange, tweeting, “JUST NOW: I asked @GovRonDeSantis if he supported HB 1557, the legislation critics call the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.”
— Evan Donovan (@EvanDonovan) March 7, 2022
“I’m asking you to tell me what’s in the bill, because you are pushing false narratives. It doesn’t matter what critics say,” DeSantis said in the video.
“It bans classroom instruction on sexual identity and gender orientation,” Donovan replied.
“For who?” DeSantis asked. “For grades pre-k through three. So five year olds, six year olds, seven year olds — and the idea that you wouldn’t be honest about that and tell people what it actually says, it’s why people don’t trust people like you because you peddle false narratives.”
In addition to the false accusations, some Florida Democrats also made a scene by shouting the word “gay” repeatedly in a now-viral video.
We’ve got one thing to say to our GOP colleagues — GAY! pic.twitter.com/AiXzW0chUq
— Florida Senate Democrats (@FLSenateDems) March 7, 2022
Florida’s bill does not include the word “gay” in its text.
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