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Tennessee House passes "gateway sexual activity" bill

April 28th, 2012 4:09 am by Associated Press

Tennessee House passes "gateway sexual activity" bill

Rep. Jim Gotto seeks recognition during a House Ediucation Committee meeting in Nashville, Tenn., on Wednesday, April 18, 2012. The panel later advanced the Nashville Republican's bill seeking to ban teaching about sexual activity in public schools. (AP P

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The House has passed a bill to allow parents to sue teachers or outside groups for promoting or condoning "gateway sexual activity" by students.

The chamber voted 68-23 in favor of the bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Jim Gotto of Nashville on Friday.

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

Democratic Rep. John Deberry of Memphis came to the well of the chamber to make an impassioned defense of the bill and to condemn opponents of being arrogant and "in denial" about efforts to change the behavior that leads to teen pregnancy.

At least one Democrat had angry words for Deberry afterward.

Voting yes were 60 Republicans and eight Democrats. Voting no were 22 Democrats and one Republican.

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