Utah’s New Sex-Ed Policy In Schools: Abstinence Only, Don’t Say Gay?

An abstinence-only sex education bill that also bans discussion of homosexuality passed the Utah legislature earlier this week.

Wait, isn’t Salt Lake City is supposed to be the gayest city in America?

The Deseret News reports:

Rep. Bill Wright, R-Holden, sponsored the bill in response to what he viewed as inappropriate material being presented in classrooms, specifically materials produced by Planned Parenthood. Throughout the course of the legislative session he said that sex education should take place in the home and was pleased to see the bill pass in the Senate…

“A lot of our districts are already teaching abstinence,” he said. “This will help us set a path in the future where our curriculum doesn’t get hijacked.”

Wright says he wants sex ed to take place in the home, not in schools. State Sen. Ross Romero, D-Salt Lake City, said that sex ed happens at school because parents don’t always do the job themselves.

“We’ve been discussing this as if every child has the benefit of two loving and caring parents who are ready to have a conversation about appropriate sexual activity, and I’m here to tell you that’s just not the case,” Romero told the Salt-Lake Tribune.

Republican governor Gary Herbert has not said if he will sign the bill, seeing as some changes were made to it in the legislative process, but is widely expected to sign it.

Did that change include tacking on a don’t-say-gay amendment to the bill, which focuses mainly on making sex education about preaching abstinence and not discussing condoms or STDs?

What do you guys think: could you be okay with a sex-education program that advocated for abstinence only and, however shortsightedly, did not provide instruction on how to use condoms, but did say it’s okay to be a (celibate) homosexual?

It’s an interesting thought experiment—which is more important: safe sex for all or making sure gay teens feel comfortable in their own skin?

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  • Adam

    Abstinence only, no mention of contraception, protection, STD’s, or homosexuality… so I guess the class goes like this:

    Teacher: “Just say no. Class dismissed.”

  • Laura P. Lehmkuhl

    The problem is there are going to be some kids to ask “Why? Why do we have to say no? What’s the big deal? I want to have kids someday so what’s the problem?” All sex-ed courses should discuss STDs because parents don’t always know about them. I know when my parents gave me the talk it was just abstinence. It wasn’t until I got to school that I learned I could get sick/hurt from not using protection as well as get pregnant.

  • MikeE

    “parents don’t always do the job themselves” because a lot of parents don’t actually KNOW anything about sexual education.

  • Charlie in Charge

    Oh hell, this is going to lead to a lot of prom night dumpster babies in Utah.

  • Danny

    I think politicians who endanger people’s lives by keeping them ignorant about life-saving information should be incarcerated for the remainder of their lives.

  • Cam

    Interesting that even when discussing anti-gay bills in Utah, Queerty studiously avoids mention of the LDS church even though all those politicians mentioned are Members.

  • Hyhybt

    I remember sex ed. When I took it in 1989, it covered how the male and female reproductive systems worked and a list of various contraception methods, including how each was used, how it worked, what it protected against, and failure rates. There was no discussion about how to go about having sex, or with whom. It was emphasized that the only two methods that prevented disease as well as pregnancy were condoms and abstinence, and that only the latter was 100% effective, but all the options then available were covered.

    It wasn’t a perfect system, but it’s a darn sight better than deliberately instilling ignorance and then expecting people to make good choices, and it did so without riling parents, even here in the South.

    As for results… I don’t know about diseases, but I think only one girl in my class had a baby during high school. And as she graduated with honors, had had the same boyfriend for three years before becoming pregnant, and last I heard is still married to him, I suspect that all in all it was OK.

  • Name (required)

    Guess which state leads the pack with the highest internet porn usage: drum roll……..UTAH!!

  • JR

    Bristol Palin was taught abstinance only sex ed. You see how that worked out for her.

  • Brittany

    Well, it’s more like:

    Teacher: “This is sex. This is what happens when you have sex before marriage. *cue slideshow of STDs* Any questions?”
    Kid: “What if I’m gay?”
    Teacher: “Billy, there’s no such thing as the gay.”

  • James

    This is absolutely horrifying.

    If you support this, you seriously have something wrong with the way your brain functions and/or have no grip on reality.

  • Brayden

    Kids are finding out about sex online since it’s so readily available. The issue with that is that while many kids understand how sex works, they don’t understand the emotional or dangerous effects to it. And while those kids do know, others have no idea about anything and engage not knowing that they’re soon going to be forced into a wedding with a shot-gun barrel digging into their spine. While many do know, while some have parents who have had THE TALK (as to apposed a talk that didn’t clue them in on anything), there are still plenty of kids who need to know!

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