Every time I think I’ve seen the outer extremes of pseudo-Christian prudishness on the part of Republican-dominated legislatures, I am taken aback by the latest offering. From TPM’s David Taintor:
I’d say the Tennessee legislature is involved in more than a gateway sexual activity: they’re fucking nuts!
You’ve heard of gateway drugs — smoking marijuana supposedly leads to harder, more addictive substances. But what about “gateway sexual activity”: the hand-holding, lip-locking and light-grazes that can lead to … other things?
The Tennessee Legislature on Friday sent a bill to Gov. Bill Haslam’s desk that, according to the Tennessean, would require sex-ed classes to “exclusively and emphatically” promote abstinence and ban teachers and outside groups from promoting “gateway sexual activity.”
The bill defines “gateway sexual activity” as: “sexual conduct encouraging an individual to engage in a non-abstinent behavior.” The bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Jim Gotto, said the bill wouldn’t address things as innocuous as holding hands, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports. But critics of the legislation say the offending behavior is not clearly defined. Gotto did not immediately return TPM’s request for comment.
According to the News Sentinel, groups like Planned Parenthood and others who provide sex education information in schools could face a $500 fine. …
Laws like this should be anathema to a free society. Many of us think that kids should freely discuss sex: they’re going to discuss it anyway; what possible purpose is served by banning it? And they may as well learn something from the discussions, and from people who actually know something, such as teachers, counselors and yes, Planned Parenthood advisers. The “appropriate” limits of sexual expression are none of the legislature’s goddamned business. Parents should teach their kids according to their own lights. I, for example, would teach my kids every biological fact about sex, every social reality of bearing a child when the couple is unable to care for it, and yes, every means of contraception and every alternative to actually fucking. And I would also mention gay sex, on the outside chance that they were born gay, unbeknownst to me. They should know. Your kids will learn it, from you or from other kids or from radical fundamentalist nut‑jobs: the choice of source is yours, but they will, with certainty, learn it. Do your duty. Teach your kids age-appropriate sex-related facts and social context: it’s the human thing to do.
And tell your state legislature to fuck off!