Controversial abstinence bill passed by Tennessee House - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Controversial abstinence bill passed by Tennessee House

Posted: Updated:

MEMPHIS, TN - (WMC-TV) -It's a bill that's made Tennessee a laughingstock on a national platform, and Friday a state representative gave a passionate plea supporting a controversial abstinence bill.

The controversial Gateway Sexual Activity Bill passed in the Tennessee House of Representatives Friday.  But exactly what Gateway Sexual Activity is is not clearly defined in the bill that's already been lampooned by comedian Stephen Colbert.

"We want to come and sit on this floor and be arrogant and be aloof, be naïve, be in denial and say ‘hey we can't tell people what to do,'" says a fired up John DeBerry, a Tennessee State Representative from Memphis.

DeBerry stood in the House and made his points about a bill dealing with abstinence-centered sex education, a Republican-sponsored bill that passed the House.

"We've got departments right now that we spend millions of dollars for doing nothing but taking care of other folks children," says DeBerry.

He believes the bill may change students' behavior. But the bill also allows parents to sue teachers or outside groups for promoting or condoning "gateway sexual activity" by students.

Several Democrats have argued that the bill's definition of "gateway sexual activity" is too vague, and it could cause teachers to be disciplined for not breaking up students for kissing or hugging at a high school dance.

"I think it's probably very dangerous because it takes away local oversight and directs the local board to deal with abstinence only," says Barry Chase of Planned Parenthood.

Chase says the bill will likely lead to more unplanned pregnancies.

"At some point in time we have to say ‘change the behavior,'" he argues.

The "Gateway Sexual Activity" Bill is now headed to the Governor's desk.  The bill passed last month in the Senate.

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Locked and Loaded: Police find gun in woman's vagina

    Locked and Loaded: Police find gun in woman's vagina

    Dallas Archer, 19, was arrested Monday in Kingsport for driving on a suspended license. When officers searched Archer before booking her into jail, they made the discovery.More >>
    Dallas Archer, 19, was arrested Monday in Kingsport for driving on a suspended license. When officers searched Archer before booking her into jail, they made the discovery.More >>
  • breaking

    AMBER ALERT: Georgia officials believe suspects in Lenox area

    AMBER ALERT issued for missing Columbus toddler

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 10:42 PM EDT2014-04-24 02:42:24 GMT
    According to WTVA, an Amber Alert has been issued for a missing Lowndes County toddler. Lowndes County Chief Deputy Marc Miley says they are searching for 2-year-old Malia Harris of Columbus. OfficialsMore >>
    Georgia officials believe suspects in the Mississippi Amber Alert case may be in southwest Georgia. Cook County, GA investigators have been actively searching the Lenox area for the suspects. Officials confirmed a heavy presence of law enforcement in that area Wednesday night.More >>
  • April Mugshots

    April Mugshots

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 2:42 PM EDT2014-04-22 18:42:32 GMT
    Thomas Allen WinstonThomas Allen Winston
    The following are mugshots and charges of individuals arrested between April 1-4 by the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office.More >>
    The following are mugshots and charges of individuals arrested between April 1-4 by the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office.More >>
Powered by WorldNow