Author kills Louisiana’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill

Lawmaker said she will bring the proposal back next year

By: - June 1, 2022 5:30 pm
Representatie Dodie Horton

Rep. Dodie Horton said she has pulled what’s been labelled Louisiana’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill from consideration this session. I would have prevented teachers in K-12 schools from discussing sexual orientation or gender preferences in the classroom (Greg LaRose/Louisiana Illuminator)

For now, Louisiana teachers will still be allowed to discuss sexual orientation and gender identity in K-12 classrooms.

Rep. Dodie Horton, R-Haughton, author of what’s been labeled Louisiana’s “Don’t Say Gay” legislation, told the Illuminator she has voluntarily shelved her bill for this legislative session. 

Her bill would have made it illegal for schools to incorporate “classroom instruction or discussion relative to sexual orientation or gender identity” in kindergarten through eight-grade classes. Teachers and school employees would have been prohibited from discussing “personal sexual orientation or gender identity” with students in grades K-12th grade.

“Next year,” Horton said Wednesday.

Horton’s bill failed to pass from the House Education Committee last month, when three Republicans joined Democrats in opposition in a 4-7 vote.

Conservatives in the Louisiana House of Representatives turned to a seldom used procedure the following week and moved the bill to the Committee of the Whole, where all representatives have a vote.

Bills brought before the Committee of the Whole are handled much like any other legislative hearing. Representatives can bring supporters and opponents to testify, a process that has never happened on the House floor to the recollection of longtime legislative watchers.

“I didn’t want to put the body through that,” Horton said.

Horton’s proposal is modeled after “Don’t Say Gay” legislation that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed into law.

A resolution that ask BESE to adopt a policy to ban discussion of gender identity and sexual orientation from Louisiana classrooms also failed to be heard on the House floor when the author, Rep. Raymond Crews, R-Bossier City, attempted to discharge the bill from committee.

The bill needed 53 votes to be discharged, but fell short by a 49-30 vote.

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JC Canicosa
JC Canicosa

JC Canicosa is a former Louisiana Illuminator reporter. Prior to working with the Illuminator, Canicosa worked for Investigate-TV and The Loyola Maroon. Canicosa earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Loyola University New Orleans. At Loyola, he was the senior staff writer at The Maroon and the president of the school's chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Off the clock, Canicosa enjoys playing basketball, watching movies and dabbling in comedy writing.