Lawmakers propose new LGBTQ bill

Georgia’s proposed bill would prohibit teachers from discussing sexual orientation and gender identity with their students.

10 Republican Senators have spearheaded the Common Humanity in Private Education Act, which they presented to the Georgia Senate. 

It states that “No Private or nonpublic school or program 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, ironically, was introduced the same day that the Florida Senate passed their version of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, poised to limit discussion surrounding LGBTQ issues in schools.

Florida’s bill has drawn plenty of attention nationally and across the globe. Various states have even proposed their versions of Florida’s bill this year as those ideas appear to be gaining traction.

Indiana legislation is still considering a bill introduced earlier this year prohibiting teachers from discussing human sexuality with students under 18 without parental consent. It covers several topics such as abortion, birth control, sexual orientation and “transgenderism.”

In January, Neighboring Tennessee introduced a bill that would effectively ban public schools from using textbooks or educational materials that “promote, normalize, support, or address lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, or transgender (LGBT) lifestyles.” 

In Kansas, Republicans proposed a bill in February that would make teaching with classroom materials about “homosexuality” a Class B Misdemeanor by state law. 

The Georgia bill also claims that it will help “deter developmentally inappropriate classroom discussion of gender identity and sexual orientation.”

Supporters of the bill believe that it encourages inclusion for all in the classroom, but LGBTQ advocates on the other side believe that it works against the rights of young LGBTQ children. 

Georgia Equality, an LGBTQ advocacy group, voiced its displeasure with the bill and called for action in a statement.

“[Georgia’s] Don’t Say Gay bill is government-sanctioned censorship disguised as nondiscrimination,” the group said. 

“This bill gives the government broad censorship over honest conversations about our nation’s history and the root causes of injustice and discrimination. The vague language in this legislation opens the door to a surge in lawsuits aimed at teachers over basic classroom instruction. 

“This bill goes even further by explicitly targeting LGBTQ students, families, and history by banning classroom discussion about sexual orientation and gender identity. Simply talking about your family could be a violation of the provisions in this bill.”

Georgia House Speaker David Ralston appeared to have limited knowledge of the bill as he discussed it recently.

“I don’t read Senate bills until they get over here,” Ralston said. “If it gets over here, I’ll [look] take a look at it. It doesn’t sound like something that is  [very high] on my agenda.”

While SB 613 is unlikely to pass with the deadline quickly approaching, a stark trend has emerged across America, with multiple other states considering similar bills to Florida’s recently passed bills. 

There is a clear cut in political circles around our nation, and these bills are likely just the beginning of various legal proceedings that will follow throughout this year. 

As this story develops, we will keep you updated on the latest surrounding SB 613 in Georgia Legislation.