Some are calling it the "Don’t Say Gay" bill New Jersey edition. But actually what New Jersey state Sen. Ed Durr introduced this week goes further than the controversial Florida law.

There, instruction on gay issues or sexual identity is banned in K through 3rd grade. After that, any discussion on LGBTQ matters must be done in an “age-appropriate” and “developmentally appropriate” manner.

Durr’s bill would ban such instruction from kindergarten all the way through grade 6.

Then, any instruction including such gay or transgender issues for grades 7 through 12 could only happen with a consent form being filled out by the parent. Not an opt-out form mind you, but an opt-in form.

Further, the legislation states that the school can be sued if the child takes any class without that parental permission. And that the school could lose state funding. All those details found here.

gay friendly urban crossway in rainbow flag LGBT pedestrian crossing

Now before I come down heavy-handed on Durr (oh, and I will), it should be said I agree with him that the youngest grades are just too young for certain instruction. Even the Florida law stops the ban at 3rd grade. To carry this through grade 6 is problematic.

Not to mention requiring parents to opt in to instruction that by grades 7 through 12 their children need to learn if they’re going to get through this society without dragging their knuckles on the ground. Is raising a caveperson your goal? If you want to pretend gay people and transgender people do not exist then put your money where your hate is and place your kids in private school.

If Ed Durr is so fearful of teenagers learning there are people different from them (or the same as them?) perhaps he should be serving in Iran where homosexuality is illegal and punished by execution.

Rainbow flag and gender lgbt symbol drawn chalk on blackboard
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Speaking of life and death, this really is a matter of that. Gay kids attempt suicide 3 and a half times more often than straight kids. Transgender kids 5.87 times more often. And it’s not because they’re gay or trans and "have something wrong with them." It’s because they are stigmatized and shunned and discriminated against and bullied.

If Sen. Durr is going to make it this difficult to have sexual health classes include information on gay and trans kids why doesn’t he just hand them a loaded gun? That’s the net effect of efforts like this. Another blow to already battered self-esteem. Another reason for these kids to feel unaccepted.

Look, if reading hundreds of books with straight characters and learning about sperm and ovaries didn’t turn gay kids straight then your straight kid reading a book about two boy penguins who love each isn’t going to turn them gay. Relax.

Ironically the same week this poorly conceived legislation was introduced Gov. Phil Murphy tweeted this.

So what are the chances of this bill becoming law while Murphy’s in office? The same as the Senator catching an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race.


Ed Durr is a gay kid’s worst nightmare. And if he keeps writing bad bills like this he might as well go back to the Yosemite Sam mud-flaps and drive a truck.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

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