Alabama lawmakers could finally end the state’s requirement that schools that teach about human sexuality teach that homosexuality is unacceptable, unhealthy, and illegal.
Schools in the state don’t have to teach sex education, but if they do they have to include certain issues. One of them is: “An emphasis, in a factual manner and from a public health perspective, that homosexuality is not a lifestyle acceptable to the general public and that homosexual conduct is a criminal offense under the laws of the state.”
When asked if schools actually teach that, State Rep. Laura Hall (D) – a former teacher – told AL.com: “I hope not.”
“But I couldn’t tell you that it’s not.”
Now Hall is trying to get that section repealed. Language striking down that requirement for sex education in the state was included in a larger bill about sex education, H.B. 385. It passed the Alabama House in a 69-30 vote.
“It was just trying to make the language appropriate and scientifically correct,” she said. “That’s why we also changed some definitions or words.”
Others have tried to strike down the language in recent years, but their bills couldn’t get through the state legislature. Hall said that the debate on her bill stayed away from the section on homosexuality.
“We didn’t let it become a controversial part,” she said. “It was more emphasis on bringing it in line with terms that are being used today.”
The bill also updates some language in state requirements for sex education. It changes “AIDS” to “HIV”; “sexually transmitted diseases” to “sexually transmitted infections”; “unwanted pregnancy” to “unintended pregnancy”; and “the importance of self-control and ethical conduct pertaining to sexual behavior” to “delaying sexual activity and discouraging risky sexual behavior.”
If the law passes, the state will still require schools to teach that abstinence is “is the only completely effective protection against unwanted pregnancy” and that “abstinence from sexual intercourse outside of lawful marriage is the expected social standard for unmarried school-age persons.”
According to Power To Decide, Alabama has the 10th highest teen pregnancy rate in the U.S.
Hall’s bill is headed to the Alabama Senate.