Apr 25, 2024 - Politics

Effort to ban LGBTQ+ pride flag in Tennessee schools falters

Illustration of the stripes of the Pride flag falling onto the ground.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

The Tennessee Senate stopped a bill this week that was designed to ban LGBTQ+ pride flags in public schools.

Why it matters: In recent years, the Republican majority in the Tennessee General Assembly has advanced several bills targeting the LGBTQ+ community. But this measure wilted under bipartisan opposition in the Senate.

State of play: Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, the Republican speaker of the Senate, told WKRN that the state attorney general told him the flag bill could lose a constitutional challenge even if it was amended.

  • McNally voted against the bill while several other Republicans didn't vote. The bill failed 13-6.

What he's saying: "I'm tired of giving money to the ACLU," McNally told the TV station, referencing the successful lawsuits launched by the civil rights group over past Tennessee measures.

Zoom out: Other LGBTQ-focused bills have advanced this year. Earlier this month, Gov. Bill Lee signed a bill that allows adults who oppose LGBTQ+ identities to foster and adopt kids who identify that way.

  • As a result, the Tennessee Lookout reports, the state Department of Children's Services dropped a policy saying children in DCS custody must get care that "promotes dignity and respect for all children/youth and families inclusive of their gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation."
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