Monday, March 23, 2009

TTPC Legislative Report

Ban on Teaching Sexual Diversity Sent to Board of Education & Response to Rep. Shipley

On Wednesday, the House K-12 Subcommittee sent HB0821 by Representative Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville), which would prevent teachers from discussing sexual diversity and would limit academic freedom and intellectual curiosity, along with all curriculum related bills, to the State Board of Education. The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition supports the subcommittee's action. A report is due back in March 2010. We will continue to monitor this issue.

On Monday, March 23, Governor Phil Bredesen will deliver his budget proposals to a joint session of the General Assembly. The budget will have a direct impact on many pieces of legislation, including TTPC's Hate Crimes bill, HB0335 by Richardson/SB0253 by Marrero, and the adoption ban, SB0078 by Stanley/HB0605 by J. DeBerry, which TTPC opposes.

The Governor's budget address will take place at 5:30 pm, CDT (6:30 pm, EDT), from the House of Representatives Chamber in the Tennessee State Capitol. Check your local listings for the media outlet which will cover the address live.

This Tuesday, March 24, the State Senate State & Local Government Committee will hear one additional bill which would make new requirements for Voter ID's in Tennessee, SB1999 by Mark Norris and Bill Ketron. The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition is one of many equal rights and voter advocacy groups opposed to any legislation which could result in the disfranchisement of voters in Tennessee.

The Senate State and Local Government Committee meets Tuesday, March 24, at 8:30 am, in Legislative Plaza, Room 12.

The companion bill in the House, HB1838 by Curry Todd, will be heard the same day, Tuesday, March 24, at 1:00 pm, by the House Elections Subcommittee, at 1:00 pm, in Legislative Plaza, Room 16.

The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition also supports HB0050 by Brenda Gilmore, which would require the Department of Health to develop a plan to respond to the HIV/AIDS crisis in African American communities across the state. This is a special problem among LGBT African Americans. This bill will be heard by the House Public Health & Family Assistance Subcommittee, on Tuesday, March 24, at 4:00 pm, in Legislative Plaza, Room 30.

Finally, we feel it necessary to denouce the harmful and hurtful nature of remarks made by freshman Representative Tony Shipley (R-Kingsport) that were reported this week by an anonymous lobbyist on the OpenPen blog:

"They can do whatever they want out in California, with gays passing babies around, and violating God's law, but when God drops California off into the sea, they will have to deal with the consequences of their actions."

-"That [gays adopting] ain't gonna fly-I'm sorry, I'm a Southern Baptist, I'm a Christian."

-"If they [the "secular progressives"] keep pushing and pushing and pushing-they're pushing us too far, and something will happen-just like we did in 1860."

Representative Shipley's subsequent claim to Out and About Newspaper that the comments were "taken out of context" is not acceptable.

We call on Rep. Shipley to reach out and meet with members of the LGBT community of Kingsport and Sullivan County, in order to learn more about the lives of LGBT people in his district, rather than insult real families and perpetuate negative stereotypes and myths.

Marisa Richmond


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