The Instigator
Con (against)
0 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
7 Points

Resolved: Missouri should pass its "Don't Say Gay" Bill.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/20/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,066 times Debate No: 23021
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (14)
Votes (2)




First round acceptance.


Many thanks to ScarletGhost for instigating this debate, it is an important topic that needs to be taken seriously. I will argue that Missouri should pass its "Don't Say Gay" Bill, a position contrary to my own beliefs.

I took this debate in honor of 16k and dedicate its outcome to his legacy.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for accepting the debate at hand, and I solemnly affirm the resolution of today's debate and stand with the PRO.

Contention 1: Learning requires the full comprehension of the natural world and society.
The purpose of the public school system and education therein is to create a class of well-informed and educated citizens aware of their surrounding environment in the natural world and society, which include humanities, mathematics, and sciences. To exclude LGBT issues in this scope would be counterintuitive to the general purpose of education.

Sub-point 1a: Full knowledge of history serves the purpose of history, warranting the need for knowledge on LGBT history.
The American Historical Association elaborates on the necessity of history: "In the first place, history offers a storehouse of information about how people and societies behave. Understanding the operations of people and societies is difficult, though a number of disciplines make the attempt. An exclusive reliance on current data would needlessly handicap our efforts... Some social scientists attempt to formulate laws or theories about human behavior. But even these recourses depend on historical information, except for in limited, often artificial cases in which experiments can be devised to determine how people act...
The importance of history in explaining and understanding change in human behavior is no mere abstraction. Take an important human phenomenon such as alcoholism. Through biological experiments scientists have identified specific genes that seem to cause a proclivity toward alcohol addiction in some individuals. This is a notable advance. But alcoholism, as a social reality, has a history: rates of alcoholism have risen and fallen, and they have varied from one group to the next... History is indispensable to understanding why such changes occur. And in many ways historical analysis is a more challenging kind of exploration than genetic experimentation. Historians have in fact greatly contributed in recent decades to our understanding of trends (or patterns of change) in alcoholism and to our grasp of the dimensions of addiction as an evolving social problem." A full or broad knowledge of history aids to serve the purpose, and not only this, but also provide an objective analysis by students themselves on LGBT issues in society. Such would be achieving the purpose of history.

Sub-point 1b: The need for knowledge on the homosexual community is warranted.
There are many facts and fictions in the scope of the homosexuality and the nature of homosexuality itself needing overview in order to get a fair and balanced picture of what encompasses the homosexual community. Such speculations include that homosexuality is an illness, homosexuality itself is dangerous, etc. While some may be true and some may be false, a curriculum focused on the LGBT community will help to clear up some of the speculations that are false. Such false speculations have prompted discrimination and bullying against the gay community, which has become rampant in society: Sexual orientation is certainly one of the largest reasons for bullying in the United States: "According to GLSEN’s 2009 National School Climate Survey, which polled more than 7,000 self-identified gay and straight students between the ages of thirteen and twenty-one from all fifty states and the District of Columbia from 2008 to 2009, 61 percent of all students felt unsafe at school because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation whereas only 9.8 percent of all students felt unsafe because of their gender and 7.6 percent of all students felt unsafe because of their race or ethnicity (Kosciw et al. 2010)." The methodology of this survey, by the way, is legitimate considering the largeness of the sample and how widespread it is throughout the United States, but the actual population size of the United States is still 10 times larger than the sample size. Other surveys conclude the idea that this is a problem: "LGBT youth regularly face insidious verbal and physical abuse. A recent nationally representative survey of LGBT teens by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) found that 84.6% of those surveyed had been verbally harassed, 40.1% had been physically harassed (pushed or shoved), and 18.8% had been physically assaulted (punched, kicked, or injured with a weapon) because of his or her sexual orientation in the past year." The effects that come from such bullying are incredibly negative: "The detrimental impact of this climate is apparent in the host of negative outcomes that attend gay youth: LGBT children and teenagers report dramatically higher levels of depression and anxiety, as well as decreased levels of self-esteem relative to their heterosexual
peers. Of course, gay students are not inherently more likely to experience mental and physical harm; rather, it is “a direct result of the hatred and prejudice that surround[s] them.”

Contention 2: Mandates on LGBT teaching in public schools are justified.
Any sort of blotting out of homosexuals in the context of history or issues taught in American schools is nothing more than discrimination against the gay community in addition to the idea that it depicts LGBT groups as second-class citizens for the reasons that their issues are not made requirement in the context of learning in schools.



This debate turns on two questions: What is the intent of legislators working to pass House Bill 2051, dubbed the "don't say gay" bill? And what is the effect of HB 2051? I will begin by answering these questions, followed by some brief responses to Con's case.

What is the intent of HB 2051?

When questioned about the bill, House Representative Andrew Koenig responded: "When it comes to sexual orientation, that is a discussion that should be left for the most part up to the parents." He continued: "It is a pretty political subject. I know there are a lot of parents that do not want the homosexual agenda taught in the schools." [1]

The intent of the bill thus coincides with the aspiration of liberalism, the aspiration of a political order in which moral, theological, and philosophical beliefs and values, notions of the good and specifications of the true, are relegated to the private sphere. The United States legal system is predicated on a procedural law that is substantively empty precisely because it is not supposed to reflect or condemn any someone's point of view.

Because no set of beliefs concerning sexual orientation is held and affirmed by all parents and students, and because there is no independent and neutral mechanism for determining that one parent's doctrinal allegiances is superior to another parents doctrinal allegiances, public education should prohibit discussion of sexual orientation.

Note: this is the same reasoning used to keep creationism from being taught as science in public schools. While many parents consider creationism the truth, it is not taught because it is contested by a significant number of parents who do not believe it is science or the truth.

Teachers in public schools are not supposed to pass judgment on political or moral issues that have not been agreed upon by everyone. Hence, teachers are allowed to teach students about political procedure, the various branches of government and how they function, but they are not allowed to pass judgment on any of it.

Likewise, with a topic as contested as homosexuality is, the only thing teachers should be teaching conerning sexual orientation is the facts that are not contested by anyone: hard science, which is to say, issues pertaining to sexual reproduction.

What is the effect of HB 2051?

The bill's effect is clear: discussion of sexual orientation, other than in the context of a scientific/biological study, would be relegated to the private sphere. Consider the following: what would happen if teachers in public schools were forced to discuss the political issues surrounding sexual orientation, the homosexual community and LGBT history?

Teachers who think homosexuality is immoral would teach students a very different history and set of facts than the history and set of facts that would be taught by teacher who thinks homosexuality is moral. Some students would be taught that homosexuality was moral, other that homosexuality was immoral.

For teachers to discuss sexual orientation, including its various political and social configurations, it would require the United States government to pass judgment on homosexuality. This is something that has yet to happen, and until it does, discussion of homosexuality among children should remain in the private sphere.

Consider: the version of history taught in public schools differs in many important respects from the version of history taught in the academic context of a university. The reason is because, in college, students are exposed to every viewpoint. But in our public schools, primary and secondary school, the version of history that is taught is modified so that it does not reflect or condemn any person's particular moral beliefs or values.

Teachers are not supposed to pass judgment on whether abortion should be legal or illegal. Teachers are not supposed to pass judgment on whether God exists or God doesn't exist. A parent teaching a student that homosexuality is moral, when that student's parent is teaching the student that homosexuality is immoral, would create huge problems for public education.

Better to leave teaching of these subjects to the parents of students, as public school teachers are not qualified to teach or pass judgment on the beliefs and values of their students. Arguably, allowing teachers to discuss sexual orientation would open the way to a government establishment of religion, as it would require government to pass judgment on an issue whose moral fiber is clearly tied to religion for a great number of the people in this country.

Re: Con's case

Con argues that excluding LGBT issues from education would be "counterintuitive to the general purpose of education." How so? The purpose of our public education is to provide us with an understanding of our political procudures, how elections work, how democracy works, why certain laws have been passed and why others have not, etc.

The purpose of our public education is not to pass judgment on moral, theological, or philosophical specifications of the good and the truth. Sexual orientation, as it currently stands in the political marketplace of ideas, is a morally, theologicall, and philosophically contested site of values and beliefs.

It is thus counterintuitive to the purpose of public education to teach LGBT issues, as that would undermine our democracy by imposing on students one viewpoint. Our democracy is supposed to preserve what John Stuar Mill calls the "marketplace of ideas," in which different conceptions of the good must go through our political procedure before it can be established as fact. At the moment, because LGBT issues are still being worked out, it is imperative that public education not influence this process by indoctrinating students to a particular viewpoint.

Con claims that "full knowledge of history serves the purpose of history, warranting the need for knowledge of LGBT history." That is false. Public education does not teach "full knowledge of history" because "full knowledge of history" does not exist. There are a growing number of holocaust deniers in academia, does this mean holocaust denial should be taught? Of course not. The history that is taught in public schools is selective, meant to reflect the consensus of the vast majority of United States citizens.

Con claims that knowledge on the homosexual community is necesary to "clear up some of the speculations that are false," such as "homosexuality is an illness, homosexuality itself is dangerous, etc," what but what Con fails to realize is that these speculations are just that: speculations. Public education is not the equivalent of Academia. The proper space for speculation is the academic context of the university, not the classrooms of primary and secondary school.

Con's 2nd contention, that LGBT issues must be taught because otherwise it would be the equivalent of discriminating against the gay community, is clearly false. Do teachers ever pass judgment on Buddhism? Judaism? Catholicism? No. At least they are not supposed to. Would anyone seriously entertain the idea that public education thus discriminates against religious believers?

I'd argue that if there were mandates on LGBT teaching in public schools, it would establish anyone who thought homosexuality was immoral as a second-class citizen for believing that. It turns out, however, that that would implicate the government in the establishment of religion, because it goes against the majority's religion to say homosexuality is not moral.

The case for prohibiting discussion of sexual orientation in public education is clear: teachers are not qualified, nor should they be, to pass judgment on highly contested moral/political beliefs and values. As the Supreme Court decides more cases pertaining to sexual orientation, then teachers will have a better basis for discussing sexual orientation. As things currently stand, the best option is leaving discussion of sexual orientation to the private sphere.
Debate Round No. 2


Sorry, I ran out of time because I had to deal with an emergency. I need to forfeit this round. If my opponent will be so kind, could he leave the following round alone so that I may provide an argument in Round 4?


Per my opponent's request, I won't add any new arguments this round.
Debate Round No. 3


I sincerely thank my opponent for what he just did. This gave me plenty of time to get things together for the debate. I will begin by addressing the things my opponent stated in my case, then move on to the aspects of my own case.
Purpose of education: My opponent seriously underscopes the general idea of public education. If public education were only about how political procedures, elections, and democracy works, we wouldn't have mathematics, science, and English classes in public schools considering that they would be more or less irrelevant in the entirety of the scope of my opponent's idea of public education. These courses provide to us the skills in order to make an understanding of the natural world in order to be able to advance to careers as well as understand the functioning of the world we live in, as I contend, and part of the world that we live in and part of the larger issues in society is the aspect of LGBT issues. He states that public education is not to pass judgement on moral, theological, or philosophical specifications, but that's also contradictory to the idea of education. Understanding is one thing, but actually putting an application to the things learned in the environment can reinforce the understanding of the subject even further and makes the learning worthwhile, and such applications include the philosophical formulation of ideas when talking in dicussion of current events. Not that teachers are going to be passing any judgement as part of the curriculum. My opponent seems to be confusing allowing discussion of LGBT issues and topics in the classroom with making this part of the official curriculum, and my opponent's entire case seems to be centered on this idea. Also, if the purpose is not to discuss moral or philosophical issues, then many things could be excluded from the curriculum for this very reason as well: slavery, the civil rights movement, the dropping of atomic bombs, prohibition. There are many things in history that can be analyzed from a philosophical perspective as well.
Political marketplace: First of all, what I'm not understanding is how my opponent links the principles of democracy to the functioning of public education. Second, even if he's right, at the point where he's referecing this idea of a political marketplace of idealisms, no one is saying that we're accepting particular moral or philosophical inclinations as fact anyway. This bill kills discussion or any teaching about LGBT topics completely, which does nothing to help stimulate the minds of students. There may be disparities on what exactly teachers will say when discussing LGBT topics, but at the point where the topics are discussed at all, this only acts as a catalyst for the political marketplace.
Academia vs. Public schools: The perfect place to clear up speculations is any place that offers an educational perspective. I'm not understanding why this is only reserved for academia and cannot be done in public schools. Placing higher, but still feasible standards on students is always positive.


The Principles of Democracy and Public Education

My opponent does not understand how the "principles of democracy" are linked to the "functioning of public education." To clarify the issue, when students are exposed to substantive content in the context of public education, it necessarily reflects or condemns someone's set of beliefs or values. But according to the Supreme Court and their interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, public schools are not supposed to do that.

For example, consider the Supreme Court's decision in Lee v. Weisman, where Justice Kennedy states: "As we have observed before, there are heightened concerns with protecting freedom of conscience from subtle coercive pressure in the elementary and secondary public schools" [1]. Therefore, to preserve the "freedom of conscience" of students in public schools, teachers are prohibited from discussing any moral, theological, philosophical or political views that are not established and reflected by the government itself.

Discussing high-school graduation ceremonies, Kennedy continues: "What to most believers may seem nothing more than a reasonable request that the nonbeliever respect their religious practices, in a school context may appear to the nonbeliever or dissenter to be an attempt to employ the machinery of the State to enforce a religious orthodoxy" [1]. Herein lies the difference between the context of public education and the context of academia or other public forums: students in public schools are subject to "peer pressure" and "indirect coercion."

Building support for his argument, Kennedy cites the Supreme Court's decisions in Abington School District v. Schempp, Edward v. Aguillard, Westside Community Bd. of Ed v. Mergens, Engel v. Vitale, Abington School District, and Allegheny County v. Greater Pittsburgh ACLU. As such, the "principles of democracy" are clearly tied up with the "functioning of public education," and there is clearly an important distinction made by government between public education and academic education.

It is for these reasons that, in the context of public schools, teachers are not only prohibited fom discussing religious beliefs with students, but teachers are not even allowed to permit students time for "prayer" or "meditation," as doing so might be interpreted by other students as a government establishment of religion.

Why Prohibit Discussion of LGBT Issues in Public Schools?

My opponent admits there will be "disparities on what exactly teachers will say when discussing LGBT topics," and that is precisely why allowing discussion of homosexuality violates the aforementioned "principles of democracy," student's right to "freedom of conscience" in public schools.

The reason "slavery, the civil rights movement, the dropping of atomic bombs, [and] prohibition" are not "excluded from the curriculum," as my opponent argues would happen if discussion of contested moral, theological and philosophical issues is excluded from public schools, is because slavery, the civil rights movement, the dropping of atomic bombs, and prohibition are issues that government has established a position on.

At the moment, the Supreme Court has not established a clear position on whether homosexuality is moral or immoral (Justice Scalia, for example, vehemently insists that it is immoral), and therefore, neither government nor public education is currently in a position to establish or reflect a substantive view concerning LGBT issues. Public schools must prohibit discussion of LGBT issues, because if they don't, it would implicate government in the establishment of a position on LGBT issues.

Students would be directly and indirectly coerced, through public pressure (from teachers) and peer pressure (from other studets), to adhere to a view of homosexuality contrary to their own. Students would be forced to reflect someone's view and condemn someone's view, even if that view was contested by the students' parents and/or religion.

My opponent argues that discussion of LGBT issues is necessary for students to acquire an "an understanding of the natural world," but this statement only shows that my opponent has misunderstood HB 2051. The bill states that discussion of LGBT issues is allowed when they intersect with the interests of science, which is to say, with an "understanding of the natural world."

What is not allowed is discussion of LGBT issues in any context that is not intended to further understanding of the natural world. In other words, LGBT issues discussed in a non-scientific context are prohibited.

My opponent falsely claims that, in my understanding (which is the same understanding as the U.S Supreme Court's understanding) of public education, mathematics, science, and English courses would be excluded. On the contrary, mathematics and science are allowed as they are generally and politically reflected and established by the United States government (for example, see the Supreme Court's decisions on creationism and Intelligence Design). In other words, a significant number of people do not contest the beliefs established by math or science, so they are established as general knowledge.

As for the study of English, the curriculum (for example, as seen in AP English and AP Literature curriculums and exams) centers around formal interpretations of the English language and literature, including New Critical readings of texts which removes texts from their social, cultural, and historical context.

Returning to a discussion of LGBT issues, the problem with allowing discussion of sexual orientation can be summarized as follows: because it has not been politically or generally established whether homosexuality is moral or immoral, whether same-sex marriage should be legal or illegal, and so on, teachers are not qualified or in a position to make judgments about substantive content regarding LGBT issues. Discussion in the context of science is permitted by the bill, which is intended to further students' understanding of the natural world. Discussion of LGBT issues outside the context of science, accordingly, is best left to the private sphere, to discussions between students and their parents and personal communities.

At this point, I believe I have fully addressed my opponent's arguments, and my case in support of HB 2051, the "Don't Say Gay" bill, has been made and affirmed.

Debate Round No. 4


I have to go soon, so I'll try to make this quick. My opponent's entire reasoning for this debate is a logical fallacy, most particularly an ad Authoritatum policy. He's distinguishing what it must do rather than what it should do, and when it comes to that level, my case is already better than his.



According to my opponent, all my reasoning in this debate is a "logical fallacy." To be honest, I'm very disappointed by my opponent's final round, it barely merits a response, as it only offers a single, completely undeveloped, distinction between what policy "must do rather than what it should do."

Well, I'm not sure what my opponent is referring to: does my argument make a case for what policy "must do" or what it "should do"? Either way, I don't see the point my opponent is making -- my argument establishes that, given the liberal framework offered by my opponent in Round 2, what policy should do to preserve the "freedom of conscience" of students, a principle of democracy, is to pass HB 2051. As for what policy "must do," according to the Constitution, the "Don't Say Gay" bill SHOULD be passed because, in the context of Missouri, it MUST be passed. The distinction my opponent makes is so obviously a failure, as something that "must" occur is what "should" occur. For the purposes of public policy in the context of Missouri (as stated by the resolution), that distinction does not hold up.

I'm really disappointed by this debate, it's unfortunate that my opponent did not offer a better defense, as I have been arguing for a position contrary to my views and it does not make me happy to see my own views so poorly defended. That said, I think it is clear I have won this debate.

I urge a strong vote for Pro. Thanks.
Debate Round No. 5
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by FourTrouble 6 years ago
Forgot to cite my source, will do it next round. It wasn't because I lacked space, was just not paying attention. Sorry for any inconvenience.
Posted by larztheloser 6 years ago
But Gay doesn't even necessarily refer to sexuality - this is so stuffed up.
Posted by ScarletGhost4396 6 years ago
@DakotaKrafick Good luck finding even one country where homophobia and discrimination against LGBT isn't existant. Yes, the United States has flaws, but after reading about African Americans attaining rights, women attaining rights, and LGBT groups making slow but steady progress in the context of their rights. 8 states have accepted gay marriage, DADT has been repealed, 53% of Americans according to the recent polls support gay marriage, 48 states have adopted anti-bullying policies. Cheer up bucko. America's getting better every day.
Posted by ScarletGhost4396 6 years ago
It's not just that they can't say gay. They can't discuss anything related to homosexuals whatsoever, whether it be literature, social issues...anything. At least, that's what I read.
Posted by larztheloser 6 years ago
Thanks for filling us in 16k.
Posted by 16kadams 6 years ago
The bill is teachers cant teach using that word
Posted by 1dustpelt 6 years ago
So there is a bill not allowing someone to say the word "Gay"? That's retarded
Posted by ScarletGhost4396 6 years ago
@larztheloser Yeah, I really do apologize for that. If you want, we can start the debate over again. There's just been a whole lot on my plate these past few days involving school and family life, and one of the few things I've been able to do was update debates. I only post new debates whenever I feel like I have even a sliver of free time. It's nice to see this topic has everyone really fired up though.
Posted by larztheloser 6 years ago
I do mean con, sorry.
Posted by larztheloser 6 years ago
I'm glad I don't live in the US.

Pro should concentrate on their debate with me, which they've been forfeiting of late.

I'm not aware of the specifics of this bill - does it stop you saying gay in the context of "happy"? 'Cause then it would be doubly retarded.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Microsuck 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: 2 essential ffs give pro conduct. From what i've read, pro had mutch stronger arguments. It is early so i will give a full detailed analysis tomorrow in the comment section. Stay tuned.
Vote Placed by XimenBao 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Essentially FF with a weak last round. Too bad too, since with the FF earlier, it balances conduct.