TN State Director of Faith and Freedom Coalition Praises State Senate for Passing SB 1, Which Prohibits Gender Mutilation of Children Younger Than 18

Feb 14, 2023

Live from Music Row, Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Aaron Gulbransen, director of Tennessee’s Faith and Freedom Coalition, in studio to discuss the passing of SB 1 in the State Senate which would not allow gender transition surgeries to children under the age of 18.

Leahy: In studio with us, the official guest host of The Tennessee Star Report and the Tennessee state executive director for the Faith and Freedom Coalition, Aaron Gulbransen. Well, Aaron, this is your time. The Tennessee General Assembly is in session and you are up there walking through the halls of the state Capitol talking to state legislators about the priorities of the Faith and Freedom Coalition. What are your big priorities right now, and where do they stand in the Tennessee General Assembly?

Gulbransen: Of course, a lot of news has been made over the last few months over SB 1, which is the anti-transgender mutilation bill which is sponsored by House Majority Leader on the House side William Lambert and Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson.

Leahy: The key to that bill is if you’re under 18, you cannot have any parts of your body removed (I’ll put it that way) or have any puberty blockers that will kind of…

Gulbransen: Yes. It passed the State Senate yesterday.

Leahy: Oh, it did!

Gulbransen: Which is great.

Leahy: It passed the State Senate yesterday.

Gulbransen: So now we got to go through the House.

Leahy: Where does that stand in the House?

Gulbransen: It’ll pass. It’s going to pass. That’s SB3.

Leahy: Will the governor sign it?

Gulbransen: I haven’t seen him object to it. I can’t see if he objects to this, I’m going to go buy a lotto ticket.

Leahy: And by the way, the issue there is, and I think actually both Jack Johnson and Cam Sexton were smart in the way they framed it because they put the age at 18. Eighteen matters because that seems to be literally a no-brainer. A lot of people argue that it should be higher, 21, 26. They make good arguments because the brain is still developing.

But politically, if you can vote at 18, if you can drink in some states at 18, it’s hard to make the argument for the higher case. And in Oklahoma, a legislator started out at 26, and he backed down to age 21. So I think that’s a good starting point.

Gulbransen: Yes, that’s a very high-profile bit of legislation we’ve been supporting the entire time. This year, Senator Leader Johnson in the Senate has really come out with a lot of good bits of legislation. A bill that I’m waiting to see, I’ve had conversations on HB 0800, and on the Senate side is SB 0425. I believe if you were to count everything all together, you have over 3,000 bills between the House and the Senate.

Leahy: What do those bills mean?

Gulbransen: A lot of them are joint bits of legislation. But anyway, this is a conscience bill when it comes to religious objections raised to things in health and human services and that sort of thing. But we got a caption bill there. I’m waiting for the actual language to be put in.

Leahy: Tell everybody what a caption bill is.

Gulbransen: A caption bill is essentially a placeholder while the real legislation is being worked on.

Leahy: Yes, it’s a category and there’s a timeline. The timeline is coming, gone now for this session.

Gulbransen: But pay attention to this legislation by Representative Jason Zachary, who I’m very impressed with and of course, very impressed with Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson. There is legislation that I and my cohort, Aaron Spradlin of the Mission America Foundation, as well as a board member of the Tennessee Faith and Freedom Coalition, are working on that deals with enabling new tools to fight child human trafficking in the state. I would say pay attention and stand by on that.

Leahy: So let’s talk about that particular bill and Jason Zachary. Since I first met Jason, we held an event at the Blount County Library in Maryville back in the Beat Lamar days, which would be back in 2013, 2014.

The first I met him, he was running for Congress then and didn’t win, but went on to serve in the state legislature. This is his third term, maybe the fourth term in the state legislature. He’s turned out to be quite a leader, it seems to me.

Gulbransen: I would encourage anybody if you’ve got a chance to go spend a few days at the General Assembly and just walk the halls and try to meet with a few of them because one of the privileges we have is you get to see in my position and in your position, you get to see who the workhorses are.

You get to see who the show horses are. You get to see the people that are thoughtful elected officials. There are people that you could disagree with, but you realize that they’re thoughtful. There’s respect for a particular issue. But I’ve been particularly impressed with getting to know Representative Zachary, been very impressed with our friend Jody Barrett, what he’s been doing in the General Assembly.

Leahy: Jody Barrett, first term. He’s from Dickson. And he went to high school with John Rich, the performer, who’s been in studio here with us. He’s an attorney as well. When you become a state legislator, I think if you have a level of maturity, you think, okay, I’m here, and I’m going to play sort of the long game.

I’m going to approach this, treat my colleagues with respect, make my arguments, win or lose. If you lose, go on, play for the next year. I think that’s a good strategy. Not every state legislature adopts that approach.

Gulbransen: No, I mean, just Gloria Johnson out of the eastern part of the state, out of Knoxville. She’s a far-left liberal communist. (Leahy laughs) I don’t mince words when it comes to this garbage. Let’s just call it what it is.

Leahy: Gloria Johnson is a far-left liberal.

Gulbransen: She’s competing yearly for the title of worst legislation. We should come up with that, like the Razzies for legislation.

Leahy: You want to do that? We could do that.

Gulbransen: The Lefties, we’ll call it.

Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Reporwith Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Background Photo “Tennessee Senate” by Tennessee General Assembly.