By Lucas Grindley
Originally published on Advocate.com April 24 2012 3:12 PM ET
Missouri Republicans, borrowing an idea from Tennessee, have proposed a "don't say gay" bill of their own.
The Huffington Post reports that dozens of sponsors are signed onto the bill, including House Speaker Steve Tilley and Republican Majority Leader Tim Jones. House Small Business Committee Chairman Dwight Scharnhorst perhaps offered the strangest reasoning for why Missouri needs a "don't say gay" bill.
"There is no need to talk about Billy wanting to marry a goat," Scharnhorst told the Huffington Post.
In Tennessee, the law threatens teachers and school administrators with fines and jail time if they discuss homosexuality before high school. It has advanced out of committee and could soon be considered by the full House. In Missouri, HB 2051 would ensure "no instruction, material, or extracurricular activity sponsored by a public school that discusses sexual orientation other than in scientific instruction concerning human reproduction shall be provided in any public school."
But to clear up any confusion about the Missouri version, sponsor Rep. Steve Cookson issued a statement explaining that it applies to all discussion of sexual orientation, both homosexual and heterosexual.
"My bill does not target a particular sexual orientation but instead says instruction or materials related to any sexual orientation should not take place in our public schools," Cookson said.