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May 14, 2012

Tennessee Governor Passes Controversial ‘Gateway Sexual Behavior’ Law in Schools – ABC News

Filed under: News — Scottie @ 13:47

Tennessee Governor Passes Controversial ‘Gateway Sexual Behavior’ Law in Schools – ABC News.

Tennessee Sex Ed Bans Mention of “Gateway Sexual Behavior”

PHOTO: If marijuana is the gateway drug, are kissing and handholding the gateway to sexual activity?


If marijuana is the gateway drug, are kissing and handholding the gateway to sexual activity?

That’s currently up for debate, now that Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslamhas signed into law the controversial bill that would ban teachers from discussing any so-called gateway sexual activity like genital touching in sex education courses, as reported on Friday by the Nashville Tennessean.

Sex education in Tennessee schools already takes a stance emphasizing abstinence, but the newly signed HB 3621/SB 3310 will now require sex ed to “exclusively and emphatically promote sexual risk avoidance through abstinence, regardless of a student’s current of prior sexual experience.”

What’s more, educators are prohibited from discussing non-coital sexual activity such as genital touching as an alternative to sex, which legislators have designated as the offending “gateway” sexual behavior. Outside instructors or organizations who do discuss gateway sexual behavior in a sex ed class can be fined $500, according to the law.

The bill was passed by the House last month with 68 votes for it and 23 against it, after easily clearing the Senate at 29 votes to one.

Supporters of the bill, such as the pro-marriage organization Family Action Council of Tennessee, say it offers a much-needed clarification of the moral and societal consequences of sex outside of marriage, and that previous sex ed programs allowed the promotion of certain kinds of sexual behavior such as oral sex as alternatives to sexual intercourse.

“Everybody in this room knows what gateway sexual activity is,” said state Rep. John DeBerry, D-Memphis, inhis testimony to the Tennessee House of Representatives. “Everybody knows there are certain buttons when you push them, certain switches when you turn them on, there’s no stopping, especially for undisciplined, untrained, untaught and unraised children who just want to feel affection from somebody or anybody.”

But detractors say that the definition of gateway sexual behavior are vague enough that teachers’ hands are tied even when it comes to discussing more innocent behavior like kissing or hand-holding.

The Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region said in a statement that “Tennessee students need more information about puberty, their own bodies and proven methods that prevent pregnancy and the spread of disease. Denying them this prevention information in order to exclusively promote abstinence until marriage does our students a serious disservice.”

Haslam’s office did not immediately return calls requesting comment.

Family Action Council President David Fowler, who drafted helped draft the bill, told the website that the definition of “gateway sexual activity” is akin to the definition of “sexual contact” according to the state’s criminal law, which refers to the “intentional touching” of “the primary genital area, groin, inner thigh, buttock or breast of a human being.”

Kissing and handholding are notably absent from the criminal definition of sexual contact.

Tennessee’s debate over gateway sexual behavior spurred a firestorm of debate and sometimes ridicule.

Steven Colbert poked fun at the legislation on his show “The Colbert Report,” saying that “kissing and hugging are just the last stop before the train pulls into Groin Central Station. We desperately need to intervene earlier keep kids from engaging in … all the things that lead to the things that lead to sex.”


  1. Next up, sex segregated classrooms, head scarves and women needing to be fully covered to leave the house. The taliban is here, dancing under the umbrella of christianity.

    Hello Biki…It is not a good thing to have any religious group suppressing the rights of others in my opinion. I don’t mind if people want to agree to follow a doctrine but state and church should be separate. Has to be or we get into a fight over which religion is the correct one. Hugs


    Comment by Biki — May 14, 2012 @ 15:10

  2. Hi Scottie;
    Did you catch this: “…especially for undisciplined, untrained, untaught and unraised children who just want to feel affection from somebody or anybody.”
    What these people are saying is that the best they can do for those who are wild, ignorant, immature and unloved is to keep them …. ignorant? Well, that and horny, frustrated, desperate, and baffled.
    Do these folks really listen to what they are saying, or is it just so nice in their little world that the mouth just flaps on and on without any real oversight?

    I would wonder if asked, what the real percentages of these folks who are leading this charge actually waited until marriage before engaging in sex – or, in their terms, sex-like activities. Hypocrite and Politician are synonymous, I guess.


    Randy I think some people don’t think out what they say or are so stuck on talking points they can’t reason around them. Hugs


    Comment by randy — May 14, 2012 @ 19:44

  3. As I have said before…It’s just Tennessee after all. And some of you people are surprised by this. Haven’t you yet learned that Tennessee is
    an island that has been trasported from the Middle Ages to the 21st century Republican gurus as revenge to Obama for approving of Gay Marriage???
    This is only the beginning guys. Tennessee is pushing for the record for the most backward and socially ignorant State of the Year! And they may not win the award. South and North Carolina and Virginia are hot on their heels!

    LOL Carlitos…LOL grand satire!


    Comment by carlitos — May 15, 2012 @ 10:33

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