Louisiana poised to introduce its own ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law

Classrooms in Louisiana may be banned from discussing LGBTQ+ topics. (Stock image/Getty)

Louisiana is set to introduce its own “Don’t Say Gay” law, restricting how teachers can discuss LGBTQ+ issues in schools in the state.

Two years ago, the “Don’t Say Gay” law in Florida – called the Parental Rights in Education Act – was signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis. The law originally banned discussions of gender identity and sexual orientation from kindergarten to third grade, before being expanded through the eighth grade.

The law has since been legally challenged, but Louisiana is now following suit with its own version of the anti-LGBTQ+ law. 

On 23 May, the Lousiana Senate passed a similar bill which was voted 28-7. It previously passed the House 69-28. 

House Bill 122, was passed by all Republicans and two Democratic votes, and would “prohibit teachers and others from discussing their sexual orientation or gender identity with students” in all school grades.

It also bans teachers and activity leaders from discussing such LGBTQ+ topics in extracurricular, athletic or other social clubs.

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Republican representative Dodie Horton, who introduced the bill, said that the bill would “protect” children. 

Horton said via local reports: “We are the last line of protection for our children. This is meant to protect them from conversations that their parents are having to approve that have no part of the curriculum, has no part of the subject being taught.”

When the bill was discussed in committee, she added: “Having sexualized personal discussions between educators and students in our classrooms are not appropriate, and they can rob our children of their innocence while imposing suggested influence over their developing young minds.”

However, Democratic Senator Royce Duplessis stated that the bill could “negatively impact” LGBTQ+ youth “who already have mental health challenges”.

The bill “oppresses and stigmatizes young people who are struggling,” he said during the debate. “I don’t think there’s a need for this bill.”

Duplessis proposed an amendment which would limit the bill to kindergarten to grade 8 and allow teachers to discuss sexual orientation in certain situations, but the amendment failed.

The bill will now be headed to Governor Jeff Landry, who is expected to sign it into law.

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