SALT LAKE CITY (CBS Las Vegas) — State senators in Utah have voted in support of a bill, now destined for gubernatorial approval, that will allow schools throughout the state to drop their sex education programs, if they so choose.
According to the website for Utah’s State Legislature, the original general description of the measure states that its aim is to “modif[y] requirements for health instruction, including human sexuality instruction.”
“This bill … requires human sexuality instruction or instructional programs to teach and stress … the importance of abstinence from all sexual activity before marriage and fidelity after marriage as the only sure methods for preventing certain communicable diseases,” the original draft states. “A local school board or charter school governing board may, but is not required to, provide human sexuality instruction or instructional programs.”
Amendments were made on March 6 to fine-tune what would no longer be acceptable during sex education classes.
“Human sexuality instruction or instructional programs may not include instruction in, or the advocacy of, the intricacies of intercourse, sexual stimulation, or erotic behavior; the use of contraceptive methods or devices; or sexual activity outside of marriage,” the amended stipulation states.
In earlier drafts of the bill, homosexuality was also listed among the list of taboo subjects.
The Salt Lake Tribune is reporting that the Senate passed HB363 by a vote of 19-10.
“To replace the parent in the school setting, among people who we have no idea what their morals are, we have no ideas what their values are, yet we turn our children over to them to instruct them in the most sensitive sexual activities in their lives, I think is wrongheaded,” Sen. Stuart Reid, R-Ogden, told the Tribune.
And ultimately, parents will have power over whether or not they want their students involved in sex education course work, using permission slips to grant them access to the classes.
Sen. Ross Romero, D-Salt Lake City, spoke out against the measure, explaining that not all children will have access to the same knowledge in the home and outside of the classroom.
“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 Tribune.