Governor, legislators bow to religious right on sex-ed bill


A bill to ensure age-appropriate and science-based sex education curriculum in Minnesota schools was stripped from the Omnibus Education Policy bill currently being debated in conference committee. Offered in some form for the last eight years, comprehensive sex education has the support of the majority of Minnesotans, yet legislators lack the political will to put the bill on the governor’s desk.

“It has come to my attention that chairs have decided not to offer this bill,” Sen. Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, told the conference committee chairs on Monday. “This is the second year that this has passed the House and the Senate, and I understand that you are experiencing another threat from the governor.”

Pappas and Sen. Claire Robling, R-Jordan, took the sex-ed bill to the governor’s office last weekend in hopes of reaching a compromise. “We were told by the governor’s staff that the Minnesota Family Council would have had to sign off on whatever negotiated agreement we have … I was unaware that the Family Council had an election certificate,” Pappas quipped.

Pappas and Robling looked for a way to amend current statutes on sex education to come up with an alternative. They tried negotiating with the Family Council, but to no avail. Because the MFC wouldn’t budge, the bill was left facing a certain veto.

“Eighty-nine percent of Minnesota parents want to have comprehensive sex education in the schools. We are deeply disappointed, Mr. Chairs, that you have decided not to include it in your bill,” Pappas scolded the committee. “Members, this issue isn’t going to go away.”

The Responsible Family Life and Education bill, with popular and legislative report, is dead for the 2008 legislative session.