This story was originally published by the Buckeye Flame and republished here with permission.
On Tuesday, June 6, the fifth hearing of HB 8 — the “Parents’ Bill of Rights” — did not feature any witnesses. There were no proponents, no opponents and no testimony at all.
Instead, an amendment was introduced into the Primary and Secondary Education committee that LGBTQ+ advocates say made an already anti-LGBTQ+ bill even more explicitly anti-LGBTQ+.
The existing language of the bill would force all teachers and school staff — including social workers and school counselors — to out LGBTQ+ students to their parents. The bill also required parental notification regarding “sexually explicit” materials in the curriculum with only a vague definition of “sexually explicit.”
In 13 minutes, that language was amended on Tuesday. Here are the changes:
- Language was inserted declaring, “The general assembly maintains that a parent has a fundamental right to make decisions concerning the upbringing, education, and care of the parent’s child.” This language apparently does not apply to HB 68, the proposed ban on gender-affirming care, which asserts that parents do not have this fundamental right.
- Language was inserted declaring that “any sexuality content is age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate.” The concepts of “age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate” are not defined.
- The word “sexuality” was inserted in place of “sexually explicit.” With some other substitutions, the language now reads, “Sexuality means any oral or written instruction, presentation, image, or description of sexual concepts or gender ideology.” With this substitution, the language now explicitly covers LGBTQ+ identity, meaning parental notification must take place with any representation of LGBTQ+ identity. This could include depictions of same-sex parents in children’s books, a student’s show-and-tell of a napkin from their sibling’s same-sex wedding or the screening of a new Disney movie.
- Language was added to mandate parental notification with “any request by a student to identify as a gender that does not align with the student’s biological sex.” A definition of “biological sex” was also added to match up with the language in the newly introduced bathroom bill.
Democrats on the committee attempted to table the amendment as the bill’s sponsors were not even present, but the motion to table was defeated.
The amendment passed 7-5, with all Republicans on the committee voting to approve this new language and all Democrats voting against.
The next hearing for HB 8 has not yet been scheduled but presumably the committee will hold a vote to approve the bill at this next opportunity.
Subscribe to CityBeat newsletters.
Follow us: Google News | NewsBreak | Reddit | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter