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“Don’t Say Gay” expansion bill heard in committee

HB130 would extend the prohibition of discussing sexual orientation and gender identity throughout high school.

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Rep. Mack Butler, R-Rainbow City, introduced legislation in a House committee Wednesday that would expand the state’s current “Don’t Say Gay” law through 12th grade.

Current law prohibits teachers from leading discussions or teaching instruction regarding sexual orientation and gender identity through the fifth grade.

Butler brought HB130 and received input from the anti-LGBTQ organization Moms for Liberty to extend the prohibition throughout all of high school.

“We simply want the school to focus on reading, writing and arithmetic and not— there is some indoctrination going on,” Butler said. “If you’re paying attention and watching the news … it is happening all over and it is a component of Marxism, destroying the family and teaching some of these things—let it happen somewhere other than our schools.”

ALGOP Chairman John Wahl appeared at the public hearing to give his stamp of approval to the bill.

“I think this bill is a common sense bill,” Wahl said. “The bottom line for public education is it should be free from any political agenda, social agenda … We know it’s out there, on both sides. We have areas in our culture where you have books, or things that are influenced by a socialist agenda, and things influenced by a conservative agenda.”

Resident Jordan Price said the legislation is “part of a clear and proud mission to erase queer people from the narrative of Alabama’s history and present,” but said the bill also unintentionally goes far beyond those bounds.

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“Queer people are not the only people who have gender identities and sexual orientations,” Price said. “If this bill passes, it would be illegal to teach that Michelle Obama was married to Barack Obama, making her a former first lady. Teachers could not mention that she was married because that would give away her sexual orientation, of that she was the first lady, because that would be giving away her gender identity.”

Rep. Barbara Drummond, D-Mobile, asked Butler how this would apply to students receiving public funds via the CHOOSE Act that at that point was primed for passage in the Senate. 

“That’s a good point,” Butler responded.

The CHOOSE Act, which Gov. Kay Ivey is expected to pass into law this week, does not interfere with private schools’ curriculum despite funding students at $7,000 each similarly to public school students.

Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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