GOP's bigoted efforts to stall Washington sex ed bill fail

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The state House of Representatives eventually passed the comprehensive measure after almost six hours of debate.

The Democratic controlled Washington state House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday to require comprehensive sexual health education in all public schools.

The 56-40 party line vote came after almost six hours of debate, during which more than 200 Republican-proposed amendments were filed. The amendments included several sexist and anti-LGBTQ proposals.

The bill requires that all school districts offer K-12 students comprehensive sex education, beginning in the 2022-2023 school year.

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Courtney Normand, executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest & Hawaii, called the Republican proposals "an effort to obstruct the passage of this bill," noting opponents filed hundreds of amendments and forced votes on more than two dozen of them. Every one of the more than 200 floor amendments were defeated or withdrawn.

Some of the proposed changes were bizarre, others downright bigoted.

One, by Republican state Rep. Vicki Kraft, would have mandated that discussions of transgender identities ("gender confusion," she called them) include mention of studies that found "those who question their gender are up to 40 times more likely to commit suicide or have suicidal thoughts than peers who do not question their gender."

Research has shown that transgender and non-binary kids who receive affirming treatment and medical care experience significantly lower suicidal ideation.

State Rep. Jim Walsh tried to prohibit any mention of the existence of flavored and colored condoms and to require schools to teach that boys and men are "bigger" and "stronger." State Rep. Jenny Graham proposed a ban on curricula that mentioned BDSM or "inserting vegetables into the anus."

State Rep. Robert Sutherland even offered an amendment to exempt parents from paying the portion of their property taxes that go to public education if they take their kids out of school to avoid sex ed. He withdrew the amendment and the House adopted a different committee-backed amendment allowing parents to simply "opt-out" their kids from the lessons.

The bill, which passed the state Senate previously in a slightly different form, now goes back there for final approval.

Gov. Jay Inslee (D) is expected to sign the bill.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.