Controversial ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Introduced By NJ State Senator

A measure filed by a New Jersey state senator on Monday would prohibit sexual orientation and gender identity education from kindergarten through sixth grade. Sen. Edward Durr’s (R-3) measure is similar to other bills introduced throughout the country to restrict the teaching of LGBT issues in schools.

For kids in grades 7-12, Durr’s measure would also need parental or guardian authorization for classes involving gender identity or sexual orientation. Parents would be able to sue schools if they included the themes in K-6 classes or taught them in grades 7-12 without parental authorization.

If school districts or staff “knowingly violate” the new statute, the Attorney General’s Office might pursue injunctions against them. The bill also allows the New Jersey commissioner of education to remove state money from a school system that breaks the law.

Durr’s measure restricting LGBT instruction is eerily similar to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act, dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay Bill” by detractors. The rule, which took effect on March 28, forbids sexual orientation and gender identity training in Florida public schools from grades K through 3, as well as courses in any grade that are not “age appropriate or developmentally suitable for pupils.”

The bill’s lone sponsor is Durr. Patch has reached out to his press contact for comment and will keep you updated as soon as he hears back.

Due to Democratic dominance of both legislative houses and the administration, the measure looks unlikely to become law in New Jersey. However, this hasn’t prevented Republican legislators in New Jersey from attempting to adopt identical legislation.

In January, Republican lawmakers reintroduced legislation from the previous session prohibiting trans athletes from competing in scholastic athletic competitions with or against competitors of their gender. If a student’s qualifications to compete with a specific gender are questioned, the measure provides for “genital makeup study.”

Hundreds of anti-LGBT measures have been submitted by state legislators around the US this year. Bills to outlaw gender-affirming health treatment for children and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to launch child-abuse investigations into parents who seek gender-affirming care for their trans children are among these initiatives. A legislation in Alabama makes it illegal for doctors to give gender-affirming care. Missouri lawmakers have proposed prohibiting people under the age of 25 from receiving gender-affirming care.

According to Allen-McMillan, the curriculum is organized around three themes: “personal and mental health, physical wellbeing, and safety.”

Murphy has fought hard against efforts to keep sexual orientation and gender identity out of the classroom.

“I don’t like that certain people are exploiting this to earn political points and further divide us,” Murphy stated earlier this month. “That is something I express on behalf of the LGBTQIA+ community. Let’s not let this be used to divide us.”

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