Society

Mississippi Sex-Ed Curriculum Falsely Teaches That Homosexual Activity Is Illegal

| by Jonathan Wolfe

Mississippi state law requires sexual education teachers to tell students that homosexual activity is illegal under the state's sodomy laws. The problem with this is that sexual education teachers are not required to tell students about a 2003 Supreme Court decision making all state laws criminalizing homosexual activity unenforceable.

As dug up by the New Republic, the Mississippi Sexual Education Curriculum law requires teachers to inform students of “the current state law related to sexual conduct, including forcible rape, statutory rape, paternity establishment, child support, and homosexual activity.”

The decision to require teachers to inform students specifically about state — and not federal — laws is not accidental. While federal law declares state sodomy laws banning homosexual activity unenforceable, it does not require states to wipe the laws from their books. They just can’t enforce them.

Because of this loophole, Mississippi teachers are allowed to tell students that homosexual activity is criminal under state law without being required to tell students that the law is unenforceable. Mississippi is not alone in this deceptive, albeit technically legal, tactic. Alabama also instructs teachers to say that “homosexuality is not a lifestyle acceptable to the general public and that homosexual conduct is a criminal offense." Once again, Alabama educators are not required to mention that federal law voids these laws of any power.

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Mississippi also requires teachers to make it clear that heterosexual activity in the context of marriage is the only appropriate form of sexual behavior.

Teachers are explicitly told to say that “a mutually faithful, monogamous relationship in the context of marriage is the only appropriate setting for sexual intercourse.”

So, how effective is Mississippi’s abstinence-until-heterosexual-marriage sexual education curriculum? Not very. The state has the second-highest teenage pregnancy rate in the nation. Well done, guys. 

Sources: New Republic, Live Science