Out There

07.21.13

Fringe Factor: Should Oral Sex Be a Crime?

Sorry, lovers: Virginia may make all oral and anal sex illegal. From Tea Party immigration science to first-graders’ gun classes, a look at the far out in U.S. politics this week.

Virginia’s Republican nominee for governor wants to criminalize oral sex, while a Utah state senator wants to do away with compulsory education. Another week in bright ideas from our fearless leaders.

Virginia: A Vote for Ken Cuccinelli Is a Vote Against Oral Sex 

If you vote Ken Cuccinelli for Virginia governor, he’ll keep your children safe from sexual predators by making all oral and anal sex—between everyone, even married couples—a felony that carries a sentence of a year in prison. The state’s attorney general and Republican nominee for governor recently announced a campaign pledge to reinstate a Crimes Against Nature law, which has already been deemed unconstitutional by federal courts. This week, the campaign launched a website, vachildpredators.com, that presents the law banning sodomy as the only “anti-child-predators law,” which it’s not, and says that it “is only applied to sodomy committed against minors, against non-consenting adults, or in public,” when that’s actually not the case. It’s not like Cuccinelli doesn’t realize that this law criminalizes the behavior of consenting adults as well as sexual predators; he’s the reason the provision including consensual oral and anal sex between grown people wasn’t removed to make the law constitutional in the first place. Cuccinelli’s explanation for opposing a version of the Crimes Against Nature law that focused on public sex, prostitution, and other nonconsensual acts? “My view is that homosexual acts, not homosexuality, but homosexual acts are wrong. They’re intrinsically wrong,” he said in 2009. “And I think in a natural-law-based country, it’s appropriate to have policies that reflect that … They don’t comport with natural law.”

Texas: By the Time You Realize You’re Pregnant It May Be Too Late for Legal Abortion 

The Texas state legislature has less than two weeks left in its special session to consider new abortion restrictions and now, added to the number of bills that have been proposed by GOP lawmakers in the last few weeks, comes perhaps the most outrageous of them all: a ban on abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat. Just to clarify, this usually happens around six weeks into a pregnancy, which is before most women even have a chance to realize they are pregnant. Gov. Rick Perry has already signed into law the measure shuttering most of the state’s abortion clinics and banning abortion after 20 weeks (you know, the one that Wendy Davis filibustered to death and then was brought back to life?) but now that they still have some time, certain Republican lawmakers apparently figure, why not try to actually make it impossible to get an abortion in Texas? 

Tea Party: Immigration Is Like Breeding a Thoroughbred With a Donkey

Several bloggers and reporters watched in awe this week as Tea Party speaker Ken Crow compared “well-bred Americans” to racehorses and immigrants to donkeys at an anti-immigration rally on Capitol Hill. “From those incredible blood lines of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington and John Smith. And all these great Americans, Martin Luther King. These great Americans who built this country. You came from them,” said Crow, who was once the president of Tea Party of America. “When you learn about breeding, you learn that you cannot breed Secretariat to a donkey and expect to win the Kentucky Derby. You guys have incredible DNA and don’t forget it.” The “No Amnesty”–themed rally was held by the unlikely duo of the Tea Party and the Black American Leadership Alliance, an anti-immigration group. Notably in attendance—and also on the roster to speak—were Sen. Ted Cruz, Representatives Steve King and Mo Brooks, and former representative Allen West. 

Utah: Where Kids Only Go to School If They Want to 

Guess what, kids of Utah? State Sen. Aaron Osmond wants to let you choose whether or not you go to school. The Republican has announced his plan to get rid of compulsory education in Utah, because he believes that too many parents are under the false impression that “the responsibility to educate, and even care for their child, is primarily the responsibility of the public school system.” He further explained his opposition to school in a post on the state Senate’s blog, writing, “Our teachers and schools have been forced to become surrogate parents, expected to do everything from behavioral counseling to providing adequate nutrition to teaching sex education, as well as ensuring full college- and career-readiness.” In Osmond’s opinion, education should be viewed as an opportunity, not an obligation. So “let’s let them choose, let’s not force them to do it,” he told Salt Lake City’s Deseret News

Missouri: Gun Safety Begins in First Grade 

Speaking of school, first graders in Missouri may soon be learning gun safety along with reading and addition. Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, has signed into law a public-safety bill that not only requires school staffers to go through at least eight hours of ‘Active Shooter and Intruder Response Training,” but gives schools the opportunity to apply for grants to enroll their students as young as first grade in the Eddie Eagle Gunsafe Program. The course, sponsored by the National Rifle Association, is billed as a gun-safety class for kids, but, according to studies done on the program, it does more for recruiting new NRA members than preventing the gun-related deaths of children. According to one report on the program, Eddie Eagle is kind of like “Joe Camel with feathers.”