Tennessee Governor Signs Bill Defining Kissing And Holding Hands As ‘Gateway Sexual Activity’ Into Law

Author: May 12, 2012 1:56 pm

Republican Tennessee Governor Bill Haslem has signed the ‘Gateway Sexual Activity’ bill into law. Earlier this year, the Tennessee Republican controlled legislature overwhelmingly passed┬áthe bill, passing the House 68-23 and the Senate 28-1. The governor signed the bill before the Mother’s Day weekend.

The law is so vague that it could define kissing and holding hands as ‘gateways to sexual activity’ and make it difficult for sex education teachers to address such activity in class. The law also may prevent sex education teachers from discussing contraception.

The new law allows teachers who do encourage the use of contraception to promote safe sex to be punished, which could scare teachers from even mentioning contraception at all, meaning sex education courses would consist of just abstinence-only programs, which are proven to not work in preventing teen pregnancy.

The law also levies a fine of up to $500 to guest speakers who promote safe sex or “gateway sexual activity.” So if a speaker from Planned Parenthood or another organization visits the sex education class to speak, talking about anything that isn’t abstinence-only would be punished. What this amounts to is the punishing of free speech and it’s the Republicans who passed it.

Sex education teachers are being boxed in by a party that has been hijacked by religious extremists who think anything they consider sexual is evil. This bill has made Tennessee a joke. To outlaw crucial information from being discussed in sex education is unfair to students who will one day have to go out into the real world unprepared. Sex is a part of human nature and when abstinence-only is all that is taught, the likelihood that students will have unsafe sex that lead to unwanted pregnancies increase. If Republicans really believe that teaching only abstinence will stop kids from having sex, they’re living in a dream world. If there is one thing teenagers are curious about when they hit puberty, it’s sex. No matter what parents do to keep their kids from engaging in sexual activity, they can’t protect their kids all of the time. That’s why teaching about safe sex methods is critical. Because if kids are going to have sex, they should at least have the knowledge to make it safe. But since when do Republicans actually want our children to learn anything at all? It’s almost as if the GOP wants our kids to be stupid and unsafe.


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  • I seriously doubt that you have read the bible once, let alone 250 times. That being said, try re reading Leviticus, whare the 613 commandments are written. The punishment for adultrey stoning, rape stoning of the victim. Joshua, the genocide of the inhabitants of Ai. The Crusades, WWI, the assination of a Prince, who was going to give equal righta to Muslims, WWII the devout christian Adolph Hitler, the genocide of the Jews. Ireland, Catholics vs Protestants. History is filled with biblical wars and sexual repression, Try re reading Paul’s letters again so you know how to behave for your masters and treat your helpmate. That book is full of garbage written by men.

    • First of all, it’s ludicrous to say “Christianity is responsible” for the crusades and Hitler’s genocide and WWI, when Jesus time and again spoke against murder and repeatedly said to “turn the other cheek”. Wouldn’t it be silly to call myself an American patriot, and yet commit the most heinous acts of treason imaginable as many times as I could on a daily basis? (Burning our flag and cursing our country and ignoring all the laws of our land). So it is with a Christian. You’ve got to follow Jesus’ teaching… not your own dictates.

      And you talk about the genocide of the Ai. Very interesting… did you know anybody from their? Neither did I. But we do know a few of “practices” of these people. Like passing their own babies through fire. Truly some of the most murderous, perverted, cruel people you can fathom. If you recall, God had the Israelites do to that one king EXACTLY what he had done to so many others: cut off his fingers and toes.

      But! that’s the old testament. I’d like to apologize by the way for saying that I had read the Bible 250 times. I’ve read the New Testament in excess of 250 times, but the old testament about 70. Who reads an old will and testament anyway?

      As for slavery… I don’t see anything wrong with Paul telling newly converted slaves to be obedient to their masters. Perhaps you forget that we are talking about an ENTIRE different culture, not to mention nearly two Millenia time difference… You also forget that Paul is talking to paganistic peoples who were sleeping (in some cases) with their own mothers the night before their conversions! By far, the Bible nor Christianity condones the idea of slavery and certainly not the injustice of negro slavery during the pre-thirteen amendment era.

      You need to read Matthew chapters 5,6, and 7. That’s Christianity. Nothing else. All your allusions to the contrary are nonsense in light of the teachings of Jesus. Your arguments are dated as much as they are flawed… but you know that. Just as much as the person who taught you them.

      Sexual repression? LOL!!! Haven’t you heard of marriage? What’s wrong with finding your life-mate and raising a family? Since when has that become “sexual repression”? FYI studies have shown that married couples have sex more often than non-married couples. You’ve got a willing and LOVING partner with you at ALL times… if you chose right.

  • medicineman360

    I am a liberal that was born and raised (and continue to live) in Tennessee. While it pains me to witness the state legislature taking a monumental step backwards, with bills such as this, please also know that not everyone in this state subscribes to the whole “God, guns and guts” shtick.

    While we’re still a minority, there are still quite a few of us blue-bloods in this red state. So, please refrain from making such asinine statements as the ones above. I accept the fact that, for at least the current generation, my beloved Tennessee will remain steadfastly conservative. I do, however, try my damndest to show my conservative friends the folly of their ways, all in a generally non-militant and adult manner. Insulting ME (by insulting my home) does little to improve our lot in the political landscape. Please grow up.

    • Tennessee has a proud tradition apart from this nonsense. Eastern Tennessee wanted to stay in the Union, and people from there conducted sabotage on behalf of the Union. Sen. Sam Houston from Tennessee was the only southern senator to stay with the Union.

  • Tennessee, let’s see. Jerry Lee Lewis married his 13 year old 1st cousin.
    Scopes was convicted of teaching evolution there in 1927. That was a reasonable decision.
    Tennessee stopped evolving when the Cherokee were shipped out to Oklahoma.

  • Second Amendment Democrat

    Christians are scared shitless of sexual activity. The Christian ethic is that we are here to suffer (‘original sin’, you are guilty just because you exist – and you exist because your parents had sex, so sex and pleasure are evil tools of the Devil, etc.)

    Tennessee is one of the most backwater, Christian-schooled deliberately ignorant states in the nation. The never got over losing the war, they never got over losing the Scopes trial even though they found him “guilty” of teaching fact over religious dogma. And they will not stop trying to create a Dominionist empire throughout the US Ever. JUST like the Taliban, JUST like Al-Qaeda, JUST like the Koch brothers.

    You’re not going to stop them until you stop them. They are NOT going to stop themselves.

    So what are YOU going to do about it? (Nothing, till they come for YOU – you didn’t defend their hate strongly enough, so it’s your turn in the “confessional.” It’s for the good of your soul. Just repent and swear fealty to Jesus(TM) and the GOP and we’ll remove the wires from your genitals. Maybe…)

    Sound like an overreaction? I suggest you Google The Inquisition. The Salem Witch Trials. The Crusades, Magdalene Laundries. These are ALL things “good Christians” have done, and continue to do, in the name of their corrupt figurehead.


    Their tired stories have been shown to be recycled myths of even more ancient “gods.” Their time is up, their words no longer relevant in an educated society. And for the uneducated, KNOWLEDGE ids the answer, not DOGMA. Religion ONLY serves to keep the stupid ignorant and cowed, and to justify the “moral authority” of the hierarchical caste system. What it GIVES to its adherents – the sense of wonder, awe and a bit of fear of the unknown – is nothing that they could not get from a good Steven King novel…

    • The christians think sex is the original sin? That just shows they will never commit the original sin, which is knowledge. The reason we were cast out, if you believe that rot.

    • I’ve heard ignorant people rant before, but never have I been witness to such a unflattering display of ridiculousness as the above.

      First off, the Bible doesn’t teach ANYWHERE that “sex is bad”. That is an invention of your imagination. (I have personally read the Bible in excess of 250 times; how many times have you read it?).

      Secondly, the inquisition, crusades, salem witch trials and all the other things you could mention (like the World Wars and Plagues and I whatever else) is NOT the result of Christian teachings. Jesus said to love your enemies. Do good to those who spitefully use you, and so on. Don’t blame the Bible for all the power-plays and war mongering cruelty that has occurred throughout history. (like the systematic killing of Christians under Nero, Caligula and others).

      It’s plain to see that you have been programmed, my friend. Because if you actually had done a smidgen of research you would find that (true) Christianity has never killed anyone, nor cause a single hurt to humanity.

      And lastly, it’s my opinion that sex education programs should be shut down entirely. That’s a parent’s job. If someone want’s to send their kid to learn how to have sex with every tom, dick and jane; that’s their right. But it shouldn’t be funded by tax dollars.

      I don’t know if you live in some kind of hole or something or perhaps you haven’t any idea of the pain and suffering that is caused by illicit sex… STDs, fatherless children, or worse: dead kids.

      Despite all of that. I’m not for the legislating morality. Kids will do crap if they want and you can’t stop them… but at least don’t encourage puberty stricken boys and girls to ruin their lives by prostituting themselves. They don’t need it.

      Abstinence does work. I know. I’m 21 and I’ve never had sex. I’m waiting for marriage. It’s tough finding somebody who wants to get married these days without “shacking up” first. We have demented media to thank for that. Sex without love is worthless.

  • Are all Republicans this stupid? If not, why don’t the ones who aren’t ever speak up and object to the never-ending madness?

  • youthgonewild23

    So, I guess if you give your Mom a hug or kiss on Mother’s Day, you are committing “Gateway Sexual Activity”? Boy, that’s messed up.

    These Republicans still think it’s the 1800’s, don’t they.


  • Does this mean that Republican adulterers will be imprisoned? Or just Democratic adulterers? Or is adultery safe from this law because it’s way past the “gateway”?

    On the other hand, wouldn’t any meeting of a married person, who later divorces, with the person he or she later marries, be a sexual gateway event? I think so. The remarriage of a divorces person should be on its face evidence that the person had engaged at some time in gateway sexual activity. This is good to know in light of the fact that Southern baptists have the highest divorce rate of any group in the country, any group of any religious affiliation or none. No wonder these southern states feel the need for a law like this.

    I wonder if there will be an influx of Muslim fundamentalists into Tennessee, since this law certaily fits right in with Sharia.

  • I can see a baby boom in Tennesse’s future, also a drop in scout merit badges for aiding the elderly in street crossing. The patients have taken over the asylum.

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