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House passes bill to prevent Alabama middle schools from teaching LGBTQ+ ideology

On Tuesday, the Alabama House of Representatives passed legislation to prevent public school teachers in the 6th through the 8th grades from teaching LGBTQ+ ideology in Alabama schools.

HB130 is sponsored by State Representative Mack Butler (R-Rainbow City).

In 2022 the Alabama Legislature and Governor Kay Ivey, signed legislation that prevents Alabama public schools from teaching gender ideology in grades K-5, grades where that is considered inappropriate. This bill originally would have originally “prohibit classroom instruction related to gender identity or sexual orientation in public K-12 schools.”

At the request of the Alabama State Department of Education, Butler agreed to an amendment that change the law to only extend to the 8th grade.

“We have documented cases where this agenda is being taught,” said Rep. Butler. “Most parents don’t want their teacher teaching this. They want the math teachers teaching math and the science teachers teaching science.”

This legislation has been held up due to a disagreement with State Department of Education (SDE) officials who wanted to continue to teach sexual orientation in health classes in high school.

RELATED: Ivey signs ban on teaching, promoting ‘divisive concepts’ in schools, state agencies

Rep. Barbara Drummond (D-Mobile) brought the SDE approved amendment to the bill.

“They were good with this as long as went to the eighth grade,” Butler said of the SDE and the legislation.

Democrats strongly opposed the bill.

“How do you feel that you here that your bill would cause children to commit suicide,” Rep. Philip Ensler (D-Montgomery). “What’s going to come out of this is that the legislature is anti-gay.” “I cannot believe that we are going to pass something that may lead a child to commit suicide.”

“If I am a school board and I hire a teacher, I want them to teach what I hire them to teach,” said Butler. “The Bible can be used as a literature book; the Bible can be used as a history book.” “The point is that the curriculum coming from the State Department of Education.”

Butler rejected the argument that this bill is targeting the LGBTQ+ community.

“Let children be children,” said Butler. “This bill is born of love: this bill is not born from hate.”

Ensler has brought a number of gun control bills that he has had difficulty moving in the Republican controlled Legislature.

“So many of our constituents want us to address the real issues that they face, yet we waste time on made up stuff like this,” Ensler said angrily.

“It is not the job of our schools to sexualize our kids,” said Rep. Ernie Yarborough (R-Trinity). “It is our job to be the adults in the room and stand for what’s right and the sooner that we do the better off our country will be.”

“I have a lot of friends who are gay – in fact my best male friend is gay,” said Rep. Juandalynn Givan (D-Birmingham). “My concern with this bill, and I hope the corporations come together because you can stop some of this foolery.”

Givan warned that there would be unintended consequences from passing this bill.

Rep. Neal Rafferty (D-Birmingham) asked, “What is the purpose of this bill?”

“To focus on academics,” answered Butler.

Rafferty asked Butler if a teacher with some personal issues could talk with their teacher.

“The student will be able to talk with the teacher, but the teacher will not be able to instruct on it,” said Butler.

“I don’t think anybody here in this body does not want to protect children,” Rafferty said.

“We want the schools preparing them for 21st Century jobs,” said Butler. “We don’t want to indoctrinate children.”

“This bill simply extends from fifth to eighth grade the prohibitions that are already in place for grades K through fifth,” said Butler.

Rafferty offered an amendment to limit the bill to instruction on gender transition,

Butler asked the body to table the Rafferty Amendment which they did. HB130 passed largely along party lines 74 to 25. It now goes to the Senator for consideration. Wednesday is a committee day for lawmakers, and Thursday will be day 25 of the 2024 legislative session.

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