The Utah Senate on Wednesday passed a bill that would effectively ban comprehensive education about human sexuality, forcing schools to teach abstinence or nothing at all.
The measure will now go to the desk of Gov. Gary Herbert (R) to be signed into law. The governor has declined to say if he will sign the bill.
The bill forbids advocating for “the use of contraceptive methods or devices,” sex outside marriage or homosexuality. It also restricts teaching about sexual intercourse or erotic behavior.
Last month, 45 Republicans in the Utah House of Representatives voted to pass state Rep. Bill Wright’s (R) HB363, with 11 Republicans joining the 17 Democrats who opposed it. On Tuesday, the bill passed the Utah Senate by a vote of 19-10. All seven Democratic senators and three Republicans were opposed.
In opposing the bill, Democratic state Sen. Ross Romero argued that many children would not be educated about sex at all if they didn't learn about it in school.
"We’ve been discussing this as if every child has the benefit of two loving and caring parents who are ready to have a conversation about appropriate sexual activity, and I’m here to tell you that’s just not the case," Romero explained.
Democratic state Sen. Patricia Jones agreed, calling the measure a "mandate against reality."