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Indiana 'Don’t Say Gay' bill heads to governor’s desk

A bill that would limit discussions of human sexuality in pre-kindergarten through third grade classrooms passed in a concurrence vote on Monday. The bill has been compared to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” measure, with opponents referring to it as a part of the “slate of hate” – a group of anti-LGBTQ+ bills filed by lawmakers during this legislative session.

The bill initially defined prohibited topics of discussion in early learning classrooms – including things like gender identity and gender roles. HB 1608 has since been amended significantly to only prohibit the teaching of “human sexuality.”

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Stacy Donato (R-Logansport), said in earlier hearings there is “no definition for human sexuality in Indiana code.”

Opponents of the bill argued this is “vague” and may create a chilling effect for teachers in terms of what can and cannot be talked about or discussed.

READ MORE: Indiana 'Don’t Say Gay' bill passes out of the Senate following floor debate, questioning

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The bill would also require teachers to notify parents in writing if students request a name, title or pronoun change in the classroom. This must be done within five business days of the student’s request.

The measure previously required parental consent for schools to honor the request for a student’s name or pronoun changes.

Lawmakers and advocates against the bill said this may be stressful for LGBTQ+ youth and can create unsafe environments for them. Donato said, as a parent, she would want to know about this request and leave the choice on how to handle it to other parents.

The bill now heads to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s desk – where he has seven days to either sign it, veto it, or allow it to become law without his signature.

Violet is our daily news reporter. Contact her at or follow her on Twitter at @ComberWilen.

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Violet Comber-Wilen