‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Back in the News

The suicide of a Cheatham County high school senior should show every Tennessee legislator how devastatingly dangerous the “don’t say gay” law would be, says Gail Kerr.
This unnecessary, homophobic law made national headlines last year. Now, Tennessee is in those headlines again. Only this time, it’s for a tragedy: the Dec. 7 suicide of 18-year-old Jacob Rogers, a senior at Cheatham County Central High School. He was openly gay.
“I think it will wake some people up,” said Chris Sanders, chairman of the Nashville committee of the Tennessee Equality Project. “This is the first notable case right next door to Nashville.”
The project works to protect the civil rights of the state’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their families. It fought against the “don’t say gay” bill last year and said cases like Rogers’ are exactly why. The bill got so much publicity, “it’s created a chilling effect in Tennessee. A lot of people think the law has passed, and we can’t talk about those things
The Tennessean’s year-end story on Bill Haslam also has a quote from the governor on don’t say gay (along the lines of what he’s said before):
“I don’t think it’s something we need to have,” he said. “In the end, I don’t know that that’s a problem in our schools today.”

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