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Senate committee advances “Don’t Say Gay” bill

The bill would ban teachers from wearing flags, stickers or other insignias representing sexual orientation or gender identity.

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A bill extending Alabama’s prohibition on instruction and teacher-led discussion of gender identity and sexual orientation through eighth grade is just one step away from passing through the Legislature.

HB130 by Rep. Mack Butler, R-Rainbow City, originally would have extended the prohibition all the way through senior year, but an amendment on the House floor reeled the prohibition back to only goipng through eighth grade.

An amendment in House committee added language prohibiting teachers from wearing flags or other insignias representing sexual orientation or gender identity such as a pride flag.

Sen Rodger Smitherman, D-Birmingham, said the bill is unconstitutional.

“I’ve said what I’m saying about certain bills five times, counting this one, since I’ve been in the Legislature,” said Smitherman, a former Constitutional law professor. “All four of them went to court and were declared unconstitutional. If this goes to court it’s going to be declared unconstitutional.”

Butler said the bill is a response to a push to “sexualize our children.”

Three people spoke against the bill during a public hearing, with some also calling out the constitutionality of the provision regarding flags and insignias.

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Sen. Kirk Hatcher, D-Montgomery, said he is tired of the state trying to legislate morality.

“Now the state is willing to engage in parenting all the children of the state,” Hatcher said. “I don’t, I don’t see, you probably have good intentions. I believe that with all due respect, representative, but I do know the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

The bill is now primed for a vote on the Senate floor with just four legislative days remaining in the session.

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

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