Last edited: February 14, 2005

Virginia Senate Committee Kills Sex Ed Bill

The Washington Blade, February 15, 2002

By Rhonda Smith

The Senate Education & Health Committee in Virginia’s legislature defeated a bill Feb. 14 that would have limited human sexuality discussions in public schools about "crimes against nature."

Sodomy—oral or anal sex involving same-sex or opposite-sex couples—is illegal in Virginia and considered a "crime against nature." Lawmakers in the state’s House of Delegates approved the measure, House Bill 88, by an 83-16 margin Feb. 5. It would have limited the extent to which guidance counselors, school nurses, or educators certified to teach Family Life Education courses could mention anything related to sodomy.

"It’s dead for this term, which is wonderful," said Kevin Medwedeff, treasurer and former president of Virginia Partisans Gay & Lesbian Democratic Club. "It appears we were able to stop what would have been some horrible legislation."

The 15-member Senate Education & Health Committee voted 7-7 on the bill, with Democrats opposing it and Republicans favoring it. Sen. John J. Chichester, a Republican, determined the bill’s fate when he abstained from voting on it.

Chichester could not be reached for comment.

Medwedeff said those opposed to the bill owe Chichester "a lot of gratitude."

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