In Tennessee, Holding Hands Is Illegal

Tennessee State Rep. John Deberry

No TOUCH! Holding hands will get you pregnant.  At least that’s what was passed in the Tennessee state legislature.  The bill seeks to curb what was described as “gateway sexual activity.”  A term that wasn’t articulately defined by the bill’s supporters, thus becoming the “no-holding hands” bill.  However, I must chuckle at the “gateway sexual activity” label.  That’s just as moronic as as restless leg syndrome. This whole circus is really a two year ordeal.  It centered on a classroom demonstration about safe oral sex with a sex toy ( take a wild guess), demonstrated by an anti-AIDS group.  Yes, a condom was involved and moralists cried foul.

Tennessee has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country even with the previous abstinence only education program.  Now, that bill has been given a shot of steroids with this new legislation. Granted, the group that demonstrated the safe oral sex has agreed that perhaps they went over the line, but this new attempt to legislate morality is beyond absurd.  I had a comprehensive sexual education in high school with my peers and we had a whopping zero teen pregnancies by the end of my high school days.  One of my best friends from college who attended Octorara High School in Pennsylvania had an abstinence program that accounted for multiple teen pregnancies before his senior year.

In all, the bill would allow parents to take legal action against educators who promote such immoral activity with the penalty of a $500 fine.

As Lucas L. Johnson II of Associated Press wrote:

Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager for the institute, said state lawmakers across the country began considering more comprehensive sex education programs that talked about abstinence, but also included contraception, about 10 years ago. Despite declining pregnancy rates around the country, Nash said, there’s been a shift by states over the past two years to promote abstinence-only education…”Our perspective is that comprehensive sex education is appropriate and necessary for young people,” she said. “What we know … from the research is that comprehensive sex education works. It delays sexual activity, it reduces the number of partners teens have, and it increases contraceptive use. There is very little in the way of any rigorous research that shows that abstinence education has any of these long-term benefits.”

However,  “Democratic Rep. John Deberry supported the new limits on what can be covered in sex ed class as a way to help teenagers from going too far. He said. “when individuals are touching one another’s intimate parts … this is sexual activity that has its ultimate goal of penetration,” said the Memphis Democrat and minister.”  I would say that is a logical fallacy.  It doesn’t always lead to that.  This is the same logic used to define marijuana as a “gateway drug.”  I say I started with baby formula, then I went to juice, then to soda, and now I drink beer.

When you hear about attempts to legislate morality or gateway theory it should be subject to extreme skepticism.  I liken a gateway theory to the Domino Theory we used to fight communism.  It was logically flawed, demonstratively wrong, and cost thousands of American lives and billions of dollars.  This is a big government move.  It is trying to regulate daily activity of Americans’ lives and it’s wrong.

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Matt Vespa

I'm a staunch Republican and a politics junkie who was recently the Executive Director for the Dauphin County Republican Committee in Harrisburg. Before that, I interned with the Republican Party of Pennsylvania in the summer of 2011 and Mary Pat Christie, First Lady of NJ, within the Office of the Governor of NJ in 2010. I was responsible for updating his personal contact list. My first political internship was with Tom Kean Jr's. U.S. Senate campaign in 2006.

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