Louisiana Lawmaker Behind Ten Commandments Mandate No Stranger to Culture Wars

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The Louisiana senator who introduced the radical new law requiring the Ten Commandments to be exhibited in public school classrooms across the state is no stranger to the culture wars.

State Rep. Dodie Horton, a Republican from Haughton, Louisiana, is also a key proponent of her state’s legislation forbidding teachers from teaching gender identity or sexual orientation from kindergarten to 12th grade. Critics dubbed it “Don’t Say Gay,” a similar law became well-known after being implemented in Florida.

Louisiana’s education bill now awaits the approval of Gov. Jeff Landry, a conservative Republican who signed the Ten Commandments bill into law on Wednesday.

Civil rights groups are already lined up to contest the constitutionality of the two bills that Horton has supported. And they have history on their side: in 1980, the Supreme Court declared that classroom displays of the Ten Commandments were unconstitutional.

NBC News reached out to Horton. However, in previous interviews, Horton has been unapologetic about promoting religion into public schools.

“I am not bothered about an atheist. “I’m not concerned with a Muslim,” Horton, a Southern Baptist, stated during a House discussion in April. “I’m concerned with our children looking and seeing what God’s law is.”

However, the law may face some liturgical issues because the newly approved statute requires posting the Protestant version of the Ten Commandments, which differs slightly from the Catholic and Jewish versions.

Horton, a 67-year-old married mother of three and grandmother of four, is the daughter of a Shreveport, Louisiana, police officer. Her heavily Protestant district in northwestern Louisiana is geographically and religiously closer to Dallas than New Orleans, which is in the state’s heavily Catholic south.

Horton worked as Henry Burns’ legislative aide for many years until succeeding him in 2016 after winning the race to replace him in the overwhelmingly Republican seat.

Horton stated that she was a member of the Fillmore Baptist Church in Haughton.

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Horton launched her first attempt to introduce a “Don’t Say Gay” measure in 2022. “Certain teachers use classroom instructional time to share their personal sexual orientation or gender identity preferences with our most vulnerable citizens, our children,” Horton stated before the Louisiana House Education Committee, without providing any evidence.

Horton argued that they should be teaching the curriculum rather than telling pupils, “Hey, everybody! “I was a woman yesterday, but tomorrow I might be Mr. So and So.”

Horton’s bill did not pass out of committee, and she ended up dropping it entirely.

“Next year,” Horton promised.

The next year, however, Horton introduced legislation requiring public schools to display the “In God We Trust” slogan in all classrooms. This bill was passed into law in June 2023.

“It doesn’t preach any particular religion at all, but it certainly does recognize a higher power,” Horton told me at the time.

Horton, a self-described “problem solver,” did not address the hot-button cultural issues that have brought her into the national attention when she spoke with the local Bossier Press-Tribune in September 2023 about what she would do if elected for a third and final term.

Instead, Horton discussed reducing crime, decreasing taxes, and everyday issues such as lowering house and vehicle insurance prices.

“I have the experience and a proven conservative voting record that proves beyond a shadow of doubt that I have truly been the voice of our people,” she said with confidence.

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