- Category: LGBT Issues
- Published on Wednesday, 04 January 2012 18:16
- Written by Lara Landis
- Hits: 739
Gary Fowler, a former Tennessee State senator has recently expressed concern over Tennessee’s proposed new anti-bullying law. Fowler said that the law creates a broad class of protected people and prevents students from expressing their religious views about homosexuality. FACT's newsletter said the law needed to be revised so that it does what it is intended to do, to stop bullying.
FACT worries that the bill may restrict the free speech rights of people, but Equality Tennessee countered by saying that FACT's proposed provisions would let people use the right to Freedom of Religion and their right to Freedom of Speech to “hide their irrational biases behind an extreme religious belief”.
Fowler's proposed addition to the bill prevents schools from using teaching materials that focus on political agendas or political characteristics. The amendment requires schools to focus on correcting the harassment and intimidation of other students on the part of bullies.
The proposed amendments to the anti-bullying bill are similar to the language used in a piece of legislation that has been dubbed the “Don't Say Gay Bill”. The “Don't Say Gay” bill prevents teachers from mentioning Homosexuality until students enter high school.
Critics, such as Johnathan Cole of the Tennessee Equality Project, believe that the passage of such legislation exposes students to further risks. Fowler responded by saying that the point of anti-bullying legislation is to prevent people or property from being harmed.
LGBT blogs have accused Fowler of promoting LGBT bullying after his statements become public. FACT's website features articles opposing policies that LGBT groups support.