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It was a bill that would have deprived Missouri classroom teachers of their First Amendment right to freedom of speech and made the already serious problem of bullying in schools into an epidemic.

The so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill, sponsored by Rep. Steve Cookson, R-Fairdealing, during the 2012 session, would have prevented any discussion about gay issues, including gay marriage and bullying, in Missouri schools.

Usually, when you have a ludicrous bill, you don’t see any co-sponsors. Not in the Show-Me State, where more than 20 representatives battened down Cookson’s door for a chance to sign on. After all, in the Missouri Legislature, it’s not politically correct to target African Americans, Hispanics, or the poor (just eliminate funding for anything that helps them and cut taxes for anyone who won’t hire them) but you can still jump on the bandwagon for any anti-gay bill and be rewarded with a wider victory margin come next election time.

When the “Don’t Say Gay” bill received national attention, Cookson issued the following statement:

"Many of the recent articles on HB 2051 have shifted focus away from the true intent of my legislation, which is meant to protect the moral values that are most important to Missouri families. In a time when our public schools continue to struggle financially, we want their focus to be solely on core education issues such as math, science and reading; and not on topics that are better left for discussion in the home at the discretion of parents. It's also important to point out that my bill does not target a particular sexual orientation but instead says instruction or materials related to any sexual orientation should not take place in our public schools. This would not prohibit a student struggling with his or her sexual identity from talking to a school counselor or cause any of the other issues that have been misreported by the media. Instead it would simply ensure the focus of our public schools is on the curriculum parents expect their children to learn when they send them to school each day."

Cookson’s statement was the height of hypocrisy since he was also the co-sponsor of a bill last session that would have mandated discussion of sexual orientation- of the heterosexual variety. HB 1631 called for providing “dating abuse information” to students in grades 7-12.

The bill included this section:

3. For purposes of this section, "dating abuse" means a pattern of behavior in which one person uses or threatens to use physical, sexual, verbal, or emotional abuse to control the person's dating partner. "Dating partner" means any person who is involved in an intimate association with another person that is primarily characterized by the expectation of affectionate involvement that includes casual, serious, and long-term dating partners.
Now correct me if I am wrong, but even if this was limited to discussions of boys and girls dating, isn't heterosexuality a sexual orientation?

Cookson never answered any questions from the media about his “Don’t Say Gay” bill. A Huffington Post article noted Cookson never returned a call asking for a comment. His assistant, Agnes Rackers, told HuffPo her boss rarely speaks to people from outside of his district. ‘He will probably not get around to calling you back since you are not in his district,’ “

Even the House of Representatives realized this bill was a loser and it never went anywhere, but no bad deed ever goes unrewarded in this state.

Today, Speaker of the House Tim Jones, R-Eureka, a co-sponsor of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, tabbed Cookson, a former public school teacher, principal, and superintendent, as chairman of the House Education Committee.

And so continues Missouri's rapid change from the Show-Me State to the You've-Got-to-Be-Kidding State.

Originally posted to rturner229 on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:20 PM PST.

Also republished by Your Government at Work and Show Me Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Wow (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Remediator, Rogneid

    and here I thought we here in Wisconsin had alot of nut job state gov. officials....wow

    Give peace a chance get up and dance... Alvin Lee/Ten Years After

    by Blue Collar on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:59:55 PM PST

  •  harking back to the Seven Mountains theology (5+ / 0-)

    of Dominionists, you will find this sort of infiltration was first recommended by Jerry Falwell in the 80's and was referred to as "Steeplejacking".  In short, Dominionist legislators were encouraged to not only introduce various social legislation but also to seek committee memberships which would give them a degree of control over that area of life among their constituency.

    We have already seen TX rewrite its textbooks to cover various wounds and scars on the body politic.  We have also seen several states renounce TX generated texts in history and other social studies areas because of their extreme winger slant.

    Wonder what this guy will churn out as yet another elephant straining to produce a gnat?  

    •  It's despairing to see the mix of (0+ / 0-)

      discrimination and stupidity in Cookson's initiative.  

      Section 3 of the bill is low-down and mean-spirited, and poorly written.  The bill itself sounds to me as if it is "dating abuse," as its overriding principle seeks to prohibit discussion of same-sex relationships, or discussion of same in public schools.  

      The bill failed.  Good.  It reaches for the gutter and gets there.

      Cookson's Committee appointment is not a plus.  His constituents should know better than to support him, if for no other reason that their children deserve broader and more fair representation.  

      •  problem is the problem will not go away (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Remediator

        Expect more foolishness from this guy and his ilk as they have the philosophy of the proverbial billy goat ramming his head into a brick wall on the premise that the wall had to give way sooner or later.

  •  Yet another reason I am getting OUT of Missouri. (0+ / 0-)

    I have honestly lost count of the reasons why I am fighting to get the hell out of this state!  But it's pretty easy to sum up thusly: Missouri is becoming unrecognizable to me.  

    The state that I grew up in was always conservative in the outlying areas and liberal in the cities, with the politics always trying to balance between the two.  But I remember from my younger years there always being a sense of compromise and a current of common sense, which is barely a glimmer here anymore.

    This has been exacerbated by the near take over of state government by the Teapuglicans... especially in the General Assembly, which now has a veto proof majority in both houses... so it really does no good to have a Democrat in the State House.  They will do what they want anyway.

    I grew up the daughter of a union truck driver in the suburbs of St Louis, he was a shop steward, contract negotiator and even had to put a locking gas cap on his truck due to the fear of sugar being put in his tank.  I remember those tense days in the early 1970s and going with my mom to take dinner to my dad at a motel where he and the other negotiators were working on their strategy.  He also fought vigorously to prevent Right to Work coming to Missouri... so whenever I see this state NOT on a RTW state, I think proudly of my father.

    The Missouri I remember valued education, conservation, taking care of the poor, public health, and many progressive causes.  But no more.

    Today I see a State run by special interests and sold to the highest bidder.  Education is being slashed to where our once proud institutions of higher learning are falling farther behind every year.  And our public schools are failing at every turn.  The town I live in, once a liberal bastion in the middle of the state, has been subdivided (rather like Austin TX) and now goes Republican.

    So, as soon as my son graduates next year, I am getting out... I can't stand to see the state that I love, where I have raised my children and gone to school, turned into less than a shadow of her former self.

    Despite it all, I have hidden tiger stripes on my skin and Missouri River water in my veins.

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