The Texas Senate advanced a bill mirroring Florida’s infamous “don’t say gay” bill without much debate.
In a 19-12 vote on Monday, the senate’s upper chamber decided to preliminary advance House Bill 890. The legislation seeks to drastically limit teacher guidance, classroom lessons and school programming about gender identity and sexual orientation.
If signed into law, the bill will ban discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in Texas classrooms from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. While critics are accusing the Texas GOP of mirroring Florida’s efforts to suppress the LGBTQ+ community. Texas republicans claim that the bill is an effort to protect parental rights. “This bill takes a stand by enshrining parental rights and ensuring that Texas parents are the chief decision makers in their child’s education,” said republican Senator Brandon Creighton.
The bill was passed unanimously by the Texas house in late April as its initial focus was on processes schools should implement to receive and address complaints. Republicans drastically changed the language of the bill almost one month later in what the opposition is calling a move to turn HB 890 into a “don’t say gay” bill. The senate version requires teachers to notify parents of changes to their children’s “mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being,” which critics claim forces educators to “out” children to their parents. It also severely limits campus activities, teacher guidance and lessons regarding gender identity and sexual orientation in all public and charter schools.
This is the third time that the Texas GOP move to pass what critics call a “don’t say gay bill.” The two previous bills weren’t signed into law as Republican legislators missed key deadlines.
The Senate version of the bill is pending one more vote, if passed it would be sent back to the House for another vote. The Texas House of Representative has been controlled by Republicans since 2002.