Friday, May 27

“Outright Dangerous,” “Cruel,” “Silencing”: Reactions to HB 616 are swift & condemning

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Less than 24 hours after Ohio’s version of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill was introduced in the Ohio House of Representatives, reactions from all across the state have been swift and condemning.

Sponsored by Representatives Mike Loychick (R-Bazetta) and Jean Schmidt (R-Loveland), HB 616 features broad, vague, and barely defined language designed to ban the promotion and teaching of “divisive and inherently racist concepts.”

The bill would also ban the following:

  • With respect to a student in any of grades kindergarten through three, schools may not teach, use, or provide any curriculum or instructional materials on sexual orientation or gender identity
  • With respect to a student in any of grades four through twelve, schools may not teach, use, or provide any curriculum or instructional materials on sexual orientation or gender identity in any manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.

Ohio Democratic lawmakers were quick to speak out against the bill.

“Students can’t grow into well-rounded, educated adults ready to join a diverse, thriving workforce when the ability to think critically and the desire to recognize and celebrate each other’s differences has been banned in schools,” said Rep. Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati). “These censorship bills all move Ohio in the wrong direction– backwards.”

“The ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill is outright dangerous and sets a precedent of censorship and misinformation in Ohio,” said Rep. Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood). “As a proud primary sponsor of the Ohio Fairness Act, I strongly oppose HB 616 and its tactics to silence, limit and infringe upon the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.”

LGBTQ+ organizations across Ohio issued statements descrying HB 616 in the strongest possible language.

“Ohio’s Don’t Say Gay bill is yet another insidious attempt to chill and censor free speech in the classroom. Lawmakers are effectively trying to erase LGBTQ+ people and skew  history in their favor,” said Equality Ohio’s Executive Director, Alana Jochum. “Attacks like these are a product of a small minority of people pushing their agenda to dismantle diversity at all costs—and in the process putting educators and families in jeopardy for political gain. Equality Ohio  vehemently opposes House Bill 616, and we will work tirelessly to stop it from inching its way into our classrooms.”
“This entire thing is unequivocally unacceptable,” said Kaleidoscope Youth Center in a statement. “HB616 would specifically ban acknowledging or discussing LGBTQ+ identities in school, among other curriculum bans. Appropriate K-5 education includes teaching about respect, diversity, and family structures – that includes #LGBTQ+ families and people. We urge you to contact your reps and tell them you DO NOT support HB616. We will amplify more action steps as they become available.” 🔥 
Ignite Action:
  • Equality Ohio is urging everyone to contact Speaker Cupp to speak out against the bill:

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The Buckeye Flame amplifies the voices of LGBTQ+ Ohioans to support community and civic empowerment through the creation of engaging content that chronicles our triumphs, struggles, and lived experiences.

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  1. Pingback: UPDATE: HB 616 moves forward as the proposed ban on curriculum is assigned to a committee - The Buckeye Flame

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