Wednesday, May 2, 2012

More Gateway Sexual Activity

Just a quick update, just to prove I'm not making anything up. Newsy has put together a well sourced compilation on the story, and it includes actual people who actually think the law is a good idea.

The one thing I am really struck by, is how uncertain everybody seems to be when it comes to actually defining what "gateway sexual activity" is. The bill itself is described as one intended to make sure Tennessee's sex education classes remain focused on abstinence[1], and seems to penalize educators who encourage non-abstinent behavior or contraceptive use. Representative John DeBarry, a supporter of the bill explains:
“I think you and I both would know when we’re looking at a kiss, and when we’re looking at, for lack of a better way of saying it, someone who is trying to open the door to more activities,”
Somewhat related, TIME states that
Some detractors argue that it could unreasonably punish teachers for allowing students to cuddle, hold hands or even hug, whether in the halls between classes or at a school dance.
Even after Barry's explanations, we're right back where we started; with a bizzare tautology that makes a person liable or condoning an activity that is literally defined as condoning said activity. If all the bill's supporters have is vauge allusions to door-openings and and "more activities", then I'm not quite sure how this will withstand even the most cursory legal scrutiny.

[1] Surprise!

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