The “Don’t Say Gay” bill is Exhibit A. State law prohibits sex education before the ninth grade, so the bill is pointless except as an exercise in gay bashing. Sensibly, Haslam and Harwell have been trying to kill it—the governor since last year—to stop an onslaught of international mockery. Republicans are supposed to be focused like a laser on the economy. But this stupid bill is hogging all the attention. It’s off-message! Yet still it exists and could become law. It sailed through the Senate last session.
This week, Haslam succeeded in delaying the bill’s passage in the House Education Committee. But the governor and Harwell still are playing footsie with the sponsors—Dunn and Hensley—trying to talk them out of further humiliating the entire party and perhaps even damaging GOP prospects in this year’s elections. We asked Harwell about all this today during her weekly avail, telling her that we were puzzled as to the “Don’t Say Gay” bill's purpose.
“I understand your puzzlement,” she said, “and that’s what we’re addressing with the sponsors now.”
Q: What would Naifeh do? What would Jimmy do? WWJD.
McCormick: Yeah, yeah. That’s a good question.
Q: It would have been shit-canned a long time ago.
McCormick: Yeah, it woulda been. He would have put it in some committee where it got killed. I don’t know. I honestly don’t know how much time Beth has spent on it. I’ve spent almost no time on it. I just haven’t given it that much thought.
Q: But you’re being held up to ridicule all over the world.
McCormick: That’s going to happen anyway. You’ve got 99 people. Anybody can introduce whatever they want to, and you can’t stop it. All you can do is let it work through the process. I don’t think they’re going to pass something that says you can’t say gay in a classroom. It’ll work its way through the process, and if they can gather enough votes, they can pass it. I don’t think they will. But I’m not keeping tabs on it every day.
Q: I guess I’ll just stop asking questions about it.
McCormick: If you do that, that’ll be the best thing.