Recently the Tennessee General Assembly passed a bill last Friday, drafted by a conservative Christian organization, that makes classroom instructors who promote or condone "gateway sexual activity" subject to a $500 fine. Whoa!
This bill, SB3310, got a lot of legislative debate. On the House floor it ranged from joking to impassioned oratory over the phrase "gateway sexual activity" that allowed Stephen Colbert a setup for some television laughs and negative comments from the in-state newspapers.
What is this "gateway sexual activity" anyway? Some think that it is so vaguely defined it could be holding hands, hugging, or just about anything that teenagers do, according to Rep. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville. He suggested that a teacher chaperoning a high school prom who sees a girl sit in a boy's lap or a couple kissing and takes no action would be deemed to have condoned "gateway sexual activity" and subject to discipline and a fine. In other words, they don't have to be DOING IT! Just hugging, kissing, or even holding hands.
The bill's sponsor, Rep. Jim Gotto, said the new law would not cover such innocuous activity as holding hands but only that which furthers non-abstinent behavior." Specifically, another person's "intimate parts, or the intentional touching of the clothing covering the immediate area of … any other person's intimate parts, if that intentional touching can be reasonably construed as being for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification."
Specifically, these would be "the primary genital area, groin, inner thigh, buttock or breast of a human being." Apparently, you can still perform these indecent activities on what you buy at KFC.
Well, I guess that does away with guys copping feels during slow dances, even on the outside of the clothing. Thank you, Rep. Gotto. You must have been a real straight-arrow back in h.s. Or mighty unlucky.
Time for Governor Haslam to get off his duff and veto this bit of crap!
Good news! The "Don't Say Gay" bill is apparently dead this term. Some people had a touch of sanity. Or maybe they didn't want to change the name of Knoxville's main street downtown.
(The real main street is Kingston Pike.)