Salt Lake Tribune (04.22.12) - Friday, April 27, 2012
In a new Salt Lake Tribune poll, 69 percent of Utah voters
sided with Gov. Gary Herbert's veto of a bill that would have
scaled back sex education in public schools.
Support for vetoing the legislation - which would have allowed
school districts to drop sex education and required those that
kept it to offer abstinence-only instruction - was diverse,
encompassing 64 percent of Republicans, 63 percent of Mormons,
and 69 percent of both men and women.
"It was not a good policy for us," Herbert said, adding that
the measure "went too far in taking away parental choice."
Murray school bus driver Paul Krueger collected tens of
thousands of signatures through an online petition urging the
gubernatorial veto. Noting the conservative nature of mandated
sex education in the schools already, Krueger said, "There was
just no reason to try and change that." "The government should
not be telling you how to parent," he said.
Current law requires that sex education stress the importance
of abstinence; permits abstinence-only instruction; allows the
discussion of contraception so long as its use is not
advocated; and lets parents opt their kids out of the classes.
Bill sponsor Rep. Bill Wright (R-Holden) maintains Utahns did
not support the bill because it was misrepresented as
restricting choices, when it actually would have expanded
choice by allowing school districts to drop sex education.
Wright is considering sponsoring a similar bill next session
that may completely erase sex education. "The inherent problem
is still there. It's inappropriate we destroy the innocence of
youth to teach contraception in public education," he said.
Conversely, Salt Lake City poll respondent Grant Nelson hopes
"a little education and schooling before the kids become
sexually active" will help reverse state problems with
unwanted pregnancies and STDs.