'Don't Say Gay' bill finds new life - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

'Don't Say Gay' bill finds new life

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

A controversial bill known as "Don't Say Gay" has been re-filed. But, the sponsor says this bill is different. People who plan to fight the bill agree, saying it's even worse than previous versions.

MORE: Don't Say Gay statute sparks councilman outrage

This bill prohibits classroom discussion of sexuality, outside of natural human reproduction. It would be for kindergarten through eighth grade students in public school in Tennessee.

State Sen. Stacey Campfield of Knoxville said this bill is different from the one that died in 2012. It doesn't ban certain words, just protecting children and families.

SOUND OFF:Comment on Sen. Campfield's 'Don't Say Gay' bill

Sen. Campfield says sexuality is a sensitive topic and parents should decide when to discuss homosexuality with their children. He calls it the classroom protection act.

"We're protecting families from a teacher who may have an agenda to push out and say, we're not going to go agendas, we're not going pro, we're not going con," he told FOX13 News.

Jonathan Cole with the Tennessee Equality Project disagrees.

"To me it's Stacey Campfield's personal agenda that he's trying to push, not the welfare of children or protecting the classroom," Cole said. "I think he's trying to protect his reputation because he's lost on this for the last six years in a row."

A new aspect to the bill is the requirement that teachers or counselors report safety issues regarding human sexuality to the child's parents. Opponents to the bill worry this means homosexual students would be outed to their parents before they're ready.

The Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center often helps LGBT kids who are not accepted by their families.

"This center deals with a lot of youth who run away from their families because of that sort of rejection, so I think this would be catastrophic for this sort of bill to be pushed on public schools right now," Cole said.

"The thought of homosexuality is not dangerous, not physically life-threateningly dangerous," Sen. Campfield disagreed. "The act of homosexuality does have dangers to it."

The bill has not been put on the schedule yet. It's still waiting for a companion bill in the House of Representatives.

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