Tennessee enacts strongest ban on explicit sex-ed in U.S. after oral sex demo.

The law emerged after one Nashville parent learned his 17-year-old daughter's class had seen the performance of "safe" oral sex by the anti-AIDS group, Nashville CARES.
Tue Jun 26, 2012 - 4:05 pm EST

NASHVILLE, Tennessee, June 26, 2012 ( - A new law banning explicit sex education, spearheaded after an anti-AIDS group two years ago demonstrated oral sex on anatomical models in front of high schoolers, took effect in Tennessee this week.

The law emerged after one Nashville parent in 2010 learned his 17-year-old daughter’s class had seen the performance of “safe” oral sex by the anti-AIDS group, Nashville CARES.

“It took me by surprise,” Rodrick Glover told The Tennessean at the time. “My daughter thought it was pornography.”

In response, the Tennessee gay news source Out and About targeted Glover as numbering among “fundamentalist bigots” who oppose the methods of Nashville CARES because the group “does not discriminate based on sexual orientation and, in fact, is considered to be gay-affirming.”


While opponents ridiculed the law as the “no holding-hands bill” for banning educators from promoting “gateway sexual activity” in the classroom without providing an explicit definition, the law currently interprets the term according to the criminal statute on sexual assault specifying acts such as groping or fondling, reports the Associated Press.

The law also prohibits family life curriculum from using “devices specifically manufactured for sexual stimulation,” carrying the possibility of prosecution and a minimum $500 fine.

Leaders from both the abortion and the gay rights lobbies opposed the measure, or the impetus behind it.

Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager for the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, told AP that “comprehensive sex education works.” “It delays sexual activity, it reduces the number of partners teens have, and it increases contraceptive use,” she said.

Joseph Interrante, president of Nashville CARES, told the media in 2010 that the class was explicit, but that participation required a two-page parental consent form. However, the consent form excluded at least some information, including mention that teens would be given AIDS tests.

In January, parents kicked a Planned Parenthood curriculum out of a New York state school district after it promoted oral sex as “abstinence” and demonstrated how to put on a condom.

  abstinence, pornography, sex-ed, tennessee

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