From April and John comes something of a rarity these days, the news that a conservative politician has declined to take the stupidest, most reactionary stance on a piece of legislation regarding sexual health. Utah Governor Gary Herbert has vetoed the legislation that would have allowed schools to stop teaching sex education and barred any mention of contraception in what sex education remained.
It was a decision that followed pressure by thousands of Utahns on both sides of the issue since lawmakers passed HB363 last week. Utahns flooded the governor’s office with thousands of letters; more than 40,000 people signed an online petition against it; hundreds rallied against it at the Capitol this week; and a variety of groups took public stands.
In rejecting the bill Friday, Herbert said that sex education is an emotional topic and instruction should stress the importance of abstinence, but not interfere with parents’ ability to determine how their children are instructed.
“After careful review of existing law and following extensive discussions with stakeholders on both sides of the issue,” Herbert said, “I am convinced the existing statutory framework respects these two principles, while HB363 simply goes too far by constricting parental options.”
There’s some talk that this is political cowardice on the part of the governor. I’m fine with that. Whatever it takes.