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Monday, February 27, 2012

Two very bad ideas

1. Inflicting an enormous judicial penalty on someone because what would otherwise be counted as harassment a) resulted in a suicide, and b) might have been based in bigotry:
Dharun Ravi is on trial in New Jersey for spying on his college roommate. Although the Newark Star-Ledger says "Ravi is not charged in connection with [Tyler] Clementi's death," it is doubtful that he would have been charged at all if Clementi had not jumped off the George Washington Bridge on September 22, 2010. That was three days after Ravi, monitoring their Rutgers University dorm room via a webcam, watched Clementi kiss a male visitor and two days after Ravi tweeted that he "saw my roommate making out with a dude." If Clementi had not killed himself (for reasons that remain unclear), Ravi surely would not be facing the prospect of 10 years in prison for "bias intimidation." 
2. Allowing schools in your state to skip sex education, and prohibiting instruction on contraception in classes that continue to be taught, because you are fundamentally opposed to sex outside of marriage and consider safe sex to be "getting away" with something.
A bill to allow Utah schools to drop sex education classes — and prohibit instruction in the use of contraception in those that keep the courses — moved significantly closer to becoming law Wednesday. The House passed HB363 by a 45-28 vote after a late-afternoon debate that centered largely on lawmakers’ differing definitions of morality. 
"We’ve been culturally watered down to think we have to teach about sex, about having sex and how to get away with it, which is intellectually dishonest," said bill sponsor Rep. Bill Wright, R-Holden. "Why don’t we just be honest with them upfront that sex outside marriage is devastating?"
Hmm. That doesn't sound like honesty to me. Honesty would be refusing to withhold the knowledge that contraception exists, and that it can be very effective when used properly, and here's how to use it properly. Honesty would be acknowledging that not everyone wants to have a baby at all times, and everyone wants to avoid disease, always, and contraception is very good at preventing both of these. A marriage license, not so much.

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