Republican Tennessee Governor Bill Haslem has signed the ‘Gateway Sexual Activity’ bill into law. Earlier this year, the Tennessee Republican controlled legislature overwhelmingly passed the 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.