Gov. Vetoes Bill That Would Have Restricted Discussion of Sexual Orientation in Schools

HB 466 by Rep. Dodie Horton, RHaughton, would have prohibited the discussion of gender  identity and sexual orientation in public schools, but was vetoed by Gov. Edwards on Jun 29.

The proposed law, passed by the house with a vote of 74 to 25, and passed by the Senate with a vote of 29 to 9, would have prohibited a public school teacher, employee, or other presenter at a school from doing any of the following in grades kindergarten through 12:
(1) Incorporating into classroom instruction or discussion topics of sexual orientation or gender identity in a manner that deviates from state content standards or curricula developed or approved by the public school governing authority.
(2) Covering the topics of sexual orientation or gender identity during any extracurricular activity.
(3) Discussing his personal sexual orientation or gender identity.

Proposed law provides that no public school employee shall use a pronoun for a student that differs from the pronoun that aligns with the student’s sex unless the student’s parent provides written permission.

In his veto letter, Gov. Edwards said, ” House Bill 466 aims to prohibit teachers, school employees, or other school presenters from engaging in discussions regarding sexual orientation and gender identity. This bill unfairly places vulnerable children at the front lines of a vicious culture war.

Further, the language would lead to absurd consequences. As passed, the mere mention of one’s spouse who happens to be the same gender could cause the school employee or presenter to run afoul of the law without ill intentions and educators would be prohibited from teaching United States Supreme Court jurisprudence (see Obergfell v. Hodges) as well as from the Bible, which was just authorized as a course of instruction (see the Book of Leviticus).

“The bill is also unduly harsh as it allows students, teachers, and others serving students to totally disregard a student’s autonomy by forcing the student to answer to pronouns that they do not wish to use. Every parent would have to provide written permission to the school to allow or direct the employee to use pronouns differing from pronouns used in accordance with the child’s gender assigned at birth. This forced rejection of self-identity is particularly cruel to a child and this cruelty may adversely affect the child in their formative years. […]

“It is the duty of our schools to create an environment that fosters and supports all of the children of our state, to help them succeed academically and professionally. As I stated in response to another unnecessary and harmful bill from a previous session, ‘the real harm of this bill is that it would set as the policy of the State of Louisiana that there is something wrong with these children and that they should be treated differently from whom they really are. All of us are sons and daughters of this great state, and we should do and be better than that.’ “.



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