published Thursday, May 19th, 2011

State Senate delays anti-gay legislation

NASHVILLE — A proposal to prohibit the teaching of homosexuality in Tennessee public schools has been delayed in the Senate, but a measure to study the issue is advancing.

The delayed legislation would require the state board of education to review current curriculum on human sexuality and then make it clear that elementary or middle schools will provide only instruction and materials on heterosexuality.

The bill, which has made headlines and drawn protesters to the Capitol, was scheduled on the Senate floor for Wednesday but was rolled to later in the week. The companion bill has been withdrawn from consideration in the House, but its sponsor has said he will move forward next year if the Senate version passes.

Meanwhile, a proposal that would require the board of education to complete a study of the state curriculum by next February unanimously passed the Senate 28-0 on Wednesday.

Also Wednesday, legislation that would prohibit local governments from creating anti-discrimination laws that are stricter than the state’s is headed to the governor for his consideration after lawmakers agreed to a minor change in the proposal.

Gov. Bill Haslam is expected to review the measure when it reaches his desk.

The proposal would void a Nashville ordinance barring companies that discriminate against gays and lesbians from doing business with the city.

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