How 'Modern Family' Got Pulled Into Tennessee's 'Don't Say Gay' in Schools Debate

The ABC comedy finds itself used as a cautionary tale involving a bill proposing a ban on the teaching of homosexual lifestyles to students.

Is Modern Family a bad influence for kids? The show just survived Lily’s F-word controversy, but now a proponent of Tennessee’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill is cautioning parents against allowing their children to watch the ABC comedy, which features gay dads Cam (Eric Stonestreet) and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson).

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Sen. Stacy Campbell’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill would ban discussion of all but “natural human reproduction science” before the ninth grade in Tennessee public schools. On Wednesday, it cleared its first legislative hurdle when the state’s House Education subcommittee approved the bill on a voice vote.

But according to, something very curious occurred during the discussion when chairman Joey Hensley offered one way parents could keep their kids happily ignorant of gay lifestyles.

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“I don’t think Modern Family is appropriate for children to watch,” Hensley volunteered after a Nashville preacher testified that children could learn about gay people outside of school. Yeah, that happened.

The bill is of course not without some opponents. Some Nashville high school children have adopted the chant, “It’s OK to say gay,” at protests. And some of the bill’s opponents argue that there’s already a law that bans sex education of any kind before the ninth grade in that state.

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"I really don’t know the purpose of bringing this legislation at this time," House Democratic leader Craig Fitzhugh said of the bill. "It looks to me like a solution looking for a problem. This is certainly unnecessary. If it’s unnecessary why do we do it? I think we need to look long and hard at our motives."

What are your thoughts on the proposed bill? And do you believe Modern Family and other TV shows that portray alternative lifestyles a bad influence on children? Sound off in the comments section below.

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