The Birmingham News
January 4, 2013
A proposed state law would change the way that Alabama public schools teach lessons on LGBT people and birth control. Today, the state requires that sex education instruction includes lessons that being gay is a socially unacceptable, criminal offense and emphasizes that abstinence is the only "completely effective" method to prevent unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted illness. If approved, the measure would eliminate the Legislature's role in setting sex-education standards in the state, allowing the Alabama Department of Education to establish its own program, says the bill's sponsor, Rep. Patricia Todd, D-Birmingham. "The Department of Education needs to be making those guidelines, not the Legislature," Todd said. "We need to make sure there is evidence-based education being done in the schools, and all the evidence shows that abstinence-only is not effective." The bill would have no effect on the state's sexual-misconduct law, which makes homosexual acts a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year imprisonment.