Legislators put off ''Don't Say Gay' bill

March 14, 2012 at 12:14 PM

NASHVILLE, March 14 (UPI) -- Tennessee legislators say they've put off a bill that would have further restricted student-teacher discussions about homosexuality before high school.

The (Nashville) Tennessean said the move appears to have ended a 2-year-battle on what schoolchildren should be told about homosexuality.

"We found out there really is not sex education curriculum in K-8 right now," state Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville, the bill's original sponsor, told the newspaper.

Sponsors of the "Don't Say Gay" bill agreed Tuesday to delay debating it until the end of the session. The newspaper said that usually signals lawmakers do not intend to pursue it -- and supporters now say they will focus on an abstinence in education measure.

The measure was intended to keep schools and teachers from initiating discussions about gays and lesbians, but even its backers conceded it might have brought unintended consequences.

The delay came after Republican Gov. Bill Haslam criticized the "Don't Say Gay" bill this week as an unnecessary distraction that could create more problems.

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