Ireland promises civil unions for same-sex couples

December 8th, 2009

After discussing the gay marriage debate so much in class, and not being able to come up with any real ways of solving the marriage problem within the U.S., I decided to research marriage/partnership laws in other countries.  While Warner mentions the French PACS and domestic partnerships, civil unions seem to be most common.  I found this article about Ireland and how it is embracing civil unions for same-sex couples…which I found very interesting because Ireland is primarily Catholic and conservative in religious views!

In addition, the article points out that nine EU countries legally recognize civil unions, and four others legally recognize same-sex marriage…wouldn’t civil unions be a step in the right direction??

Auctioning Off the Right to Marry

December 8th, 2009

I’m an unmarried heterosexual woman, and since I probably won’t be using my right to get married, I would like to give it away. I would like to sell it to the highest bidder and donate the proceeds to an organization that supports LGBT rights since the government designed to protect all of us is picking and choosing based on what they think is icky, weird, or unkown to them.

Bid now, and you can have my super wonderful privilege and legal ability to get married as many times as you want in a classy place like the one pictured. You don’t have to know the person, you don’t have to like them, you don’t have to think through your decision to get married or anything – you can just do it! Because you can! Come on, it’s cool to get married, and think of the pictures you’ll have to show people of this person that they will definitely think is so wrong for you and probably is! But heavens to BETSY, do NOT marry someone of the same gender because that would be a mockery of the institution of marriage.”

Read the rest of the description of the auction here:

Religious discrimination vs homosexual discrimination case to be heard in the Supreme Court

December 8th, 2009

This article introduces the Supreme Court’s recent agreement to hear a case concerning the Hasting College of Law and a member of a Christian legal group. This group discriminates against homosexuals as leaders in the group, therefore the law school does not wish to rent out their facilities as meeting grounds for the discriminatory group. On the other hand, the group member claims that the law school is discriminating against their freedom of religion. This will be interesting to see the verdict. Religous vs. homosexual discrimination… the battle continues!

Better Sex Education at Home!

December 7th, 2009

There is no doubt that the U.S. needs better sex education for its youth; the statistics prove it.  “Each year, U.S. teens experience as many as 850,000 pregnancies, and youth under age 25 experience about 9.1 million sexually transmitted infections (STIs).  By age 18, 70 percent of U.S. females and 62 percent of U.S. males have initiated vaginal sex” (Advocates for Youth, 1).   The Brook Advisory Service found in their research that “more than half of young people believed Chlamydia only affected women; a similar proportion didn’t realize emergency contraception could be used up to 72 hours after sex. Almost a third believed you could catch a sexually transmitted infection from a lavatory seat.  [This] study also revealed that only a third of sexually active young people use condoms consistently” (

The debate over what type of sex education will best reduce these sexually related risks has largely been focused on what the schools should do: to teach abstinence only or to teach comprehensive sex education, when to begin teaching sex education, how much depth to go into, etc…  However, a fundamental and primary educator in a child’s life is ignored in the sex education debate: a parent or caregiver.  Parents and caregivers have relinquished much of their responsibility over their children’s education to the schools.  “When young people are polled about where they want to get information from, the most popular choice is their parents. Parents who leave sex education to schools are leaving a lot to chance” (  I propose that sex education is placed back in the hands of parents! 

The ultimate goal of education (presumably sex education) could be defined as acquiring knowledge and skills to make rational decisions regarding sex.  It seems logical right of the bat, then, that abstinence only education is out the door.  Abstinence only education neglects to provide a student with information about contraception or condom use, information on abortion, etc… (Collins, 1).  The student, therefore, cannot make an informed and enlightened decision about sex.  Comprehensive sex education does provide this information to a student and it begins to help students make decisions based on what they have learned.  So while comprehensive sex education is a good start; it is by no means the end. 

Take for a minute this example:  a student learns the basics of sex in their sex education class: biology of the sex organs, that there exist these things called the pill and a condom, the current STI rate, that sex causes pregnancy (or maybe it’s that pesky fertilized ovum!), etc…  They come home after school, grab a snack and sit down to watch MTV with their January 2010 edition of Cosmo while simultaneously searching the internet for the unanswered questions about sex they have.  These students have no continuation of their sex education at home.  They have some of the basic knowledge about sex, but no support in talking about and making decisions regarding sex.  I’m pretty sure they continue their math and history education at home with their parents… why not their sex education?  We accept that our children will learn algebra, but we have not yet accepted that they will be having sex. 

Society has made sex taboo; and we need to overcome this taboo.  It won’t be easy; but we need to start someplace.  Parents need to sit down with their children and have an uncomfortable and awkward conversation about sex!  A survey done by BBC News: Health revealed “just 9% of parents believed schools should be the main source of advice about sex and relationships [and] that while 90% of parents believed sex education was best done by them, many are embarrassed and uncomfortable to tell their children the facts of life” (BBC news).     

The main consideration with at home sex education is that parents are going to educate their children about sex according to their bias (religious and moral beliefs).  This bias may not be a problem; as long as students still get a basic sex education in their school and know what is available to them.  For example; a child’s parents may believe strongly in abstaining from sex until the child is married and may try to educate their child according to these beliefs.  The child will then have both the knowledge of abstaining as well as contraception available to make their own decision.  What is crucial between a parent and child is the open dialogue that will result from this education.  Not only is the parent helping their child to acquire knowledge at home, they are becoming a resource for their child if they ever needed help (getting birth control, an abortion, etc…).

Another consideration is the education and training of parents in sex education.  Many parents may not have had a solid sex education or open dialogue with their parents and are unsure of their ability to answer the questions their child has accurately.  However, there are so many resources available to parents to help with this: helpful tips on talking to your child about sex, reliable medical and sexual health websites with accurate information on sex, groups, forums, etc…  Really, all parents need now is Google and maybe a library!

“There is evidence that positive parent-child communication about sexual matters can lead to greater condom use among young men and a lower rate of teenage conception among young women” (  This may be because “the sex education offered in many school today deals mostly with reproductive biology and sexual health,” perhaps in an attempt to avoid having to discuss abstinence or not.  “Parents need to supplement this by talking to their teens about morality and sexual ethics,” about relationship, intimacy, the nitty gritty details, etc… (

I think that Colin Wilson, a father of two middle-schoolers puts it well, “both parents and teachers can play a part.  It’s good for kids to learn sex education from others as well as from their parents.   And some children may take advice from their school more easily than from mom and dad.  Some parents may feel more comfortable having someone else raise these issues with their children” ( 

It is essential that these youth get the knowledge and support that they need.  Parents can and should provide this education for their children.  They are a primary source for information and support in a child’s life.  Sex education should start early (before adolescence) and continue through the teenage years.  Parents are a constant source of education in these children’s lives.  It seems right (and simple enough) that they should be their children’s primary sex educator!


Chris Collins, Priya Alagiri, Todd Summers, “Abstinence Only vs. Comprehensive Sex Education”

Advocates for Youth, “Effective Sex Education”

A biological explanation for homosexuality

December 7th, 2009

Ever since we briefly discussed the “gay gene” in class and whether or not the discovery of such a gene would be beneficial or detrimental to homosexuals, I have been extremely curious as to what kind of scientific literature is out there that discusses the biological basis of homosexuality.  The study that I found (it starts on page 2) focused on four cell groups found in the anterior hypothalamus, which is suggested to be involved in the regulation of sexual behavior and in the generation of male-typical sexual behavior.  It has been found that two of these cell groups have larger volumes in human males than in females, suggesting these cell groups play a part in sexual orientation.  This study found that one of these two cell groups was also twice as large in heterosexual men as homosexual men, suggesting a possible biological explanation for sexual orientation in male humans.

Promising marriage for sex not a crime in South Korea

December 7th, 2009

This article is about a new court decision in South Korea that struck down a half a century old criminal code that basically punished any man who engaged in premarital sex with a woman “who does not otherwise habitually engage in lewd conduct with the pretence of marrying her.”  Yet, this same court upheld a provision of the code that made extramarital sex illegal for the reason that the majority of South Korean citizens considers extramarital sex “improper”.  When I read the first part of this article I thought, “Alright, sweet!”  As I finished the last sentence of the article, however, I thought, “Really? You were doing so well.”  This article is a prime example of the state’s role in regulating people’s personal sexual choices.  Seeing as we have been discussing Warner’s argument that the government has “extraordinary power…over our innermost lives” and the dangers that come along with that, I thought this article was very fitting.

Women’s Rights and Health Care

December 6th, 2009

Is This The Country We Want To Live In?

This video is a speech by Al Franken on the Senate Floor about women’s health care. Currently, there are laws in some states that allow women to charges higher premiums because they have been a victim of domestic violence? How is this justified? This is called a pre-exisiting condition in many cases. Women’s health issues are being addressed in a new amendment to the health care bill. As Al Franken says “This is a hugh step forward for justice and equality.”

Comprehensive Sex Education: the BEST approach

December 6th, 2009

“A mutually faithful monogamous relationship in the context of marriage is the expected standard of human sexual activity (Collins, Alagiri, Summers, 1).”

But while parents, adults, teachers, and society attempt to promote this belief to the country’s youth, the reality of youth sexuality does not align with this statement. According to a 2005 study, by age 18, 70% of U.S. females and 62% of U.S. males have initiated vaginal sex (Advocates for Youth: Effective Sex Education, 1). Not only are teens more sexually active than many adults would like, but the teen pregnancy rate is the highest in the developed world, with about a third (34%) of young women becoming pregnant at least once before they reach the age of 20 (Kaiser Family Foundation). In comparison to other countries, the pregnancy rate in the U.S. is at least twice that in England, France, Canada, and Sweden, and 10 times that in the Netherlands (Planned Parenthood, 4).

Unfortunately, pregnancy is not the only concern for teenagers. Currently, there are more than 20 prevalent sexually transmitted infections (STIs), infecting an average of more than 15 million individuals every year. Three million teens contract an STI each year, and two-thirds of all STIs occur in people who are 25 years of age or younger (Rector, 2). So how do we reduce these numbers?

With the various statistics showing the current trends of our youth, comprehensive sex education is the best approach to reduce STIs, unintended pregnancy, and the need for abortion. Through various studies, the comprehensive method has been proven to have long-term impacts including lower STI and/or pregnancy rates (Advocates for Youth: Effective Sex Education, 1).

Through different surveys, it has been overwhelmingly clear that adults and parents approve of comprehensive sex education for teenagers. In a 2004 study, 94 percent of adults and 93 percent of parents said that sex education should cover contraception (Advocates for Youth: Effective Sex Education, 2). Another survey discovered that 84 percent of adults agreed with the statement that whether or not young people are sexually active, they should be given information to protect themselves from unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases (Collins, Alagiri, Summers, 3). And it is not only adults that support comprehensive sex education; students have desired more information. According to a national survey of teenagers, 51 percent say they need more information about how to get tested for HIV/AIDS and 30 percent want more information on how to use condoms (Collins, Alagiri, Summers, 3). If one of the primary goals of sex education is to reduce the number of HIV infections and STIs, shouldn’t the curriculum meet the needs of our youth?

Even with adults, parents, and students desiring comprehensive sex education, they may not be knowledgeable about the best approach to teach youth about sex. But they do not stand alone in rejecting abstinence-only sex education; every reputable sexuality education organization and well-known health organization including the American Medical Association, have denounced abstinence-only sexuality education (Planned Parenthood, 4). But, you may be asking “why have they denounced this approach?”

Abstinence-only sex education has not been proven effective to lower sex initiation or increase contraception use. While Rector claims that abstinence-only programs have reduced early sexual activity, several other studies have proven otherwise. In a ten state study where abstinence-only sex education was implemented, none of the states demonstrated evidence of long-term success in delaying sexual initiation, and even resulted in some negative impacts on teen’s willingness to use contraception to prevent sexual health effects related to sexual intercourse (Advocates for Youth: Five Years… 4). Although there are promoters of this method, the programs’ emphasis on contraception failure rates has left teens hesitant to use them. By denying teenagers a broad spectrum of information regarding human sexuality, abstinence-only education fails to provide teens with the necessary information needed to protect their health and well-being (Collins, Alagiri, Summers, 14).

In contrast to abstinence-only sex education’s ineffectiveness to lower STI and/or teen pregnancy rates, comprehensive sex education has been proven to have a positive result in reducing these statistics. Several specific studies have demonstrated positive outcomes from comprehensive sex education by displaying delayed initiation of sexual activity, increased condom use, and decreased number of sexual partners (Collins, Alagiri, Summers, 9). While abstinence-only promoters fear an increase of sexual activity from other approaches, the Surgeon General has explained that, “evidence gives strong support…that providing information about contraception does not increase adolescent sexual activity (Collins, Alagiri, Summers, 14). Over the past decade, California, the only state that has not accepted federal abstinence-only money, has experienced more than a 40% drop in the teenage pregnancy rate, which is something the government should further examine (Planned Parenthood, 4).

Despite few, if any, positive results with abstinence-only sex education, the government has continued to fund it. From 1998 to 2003, states implemented abstinence-only-until-marriage programs using almost half a billion dollars in state and federal funds to support the Title V initiative, but unfortunately failed to yield positive results from representative samples of 9th through 12th graders throughout the country (Advocates for Youth: Trends…1). Through the analysis of these samples, it was determined that sexual activity among high school students declined significantly from 1991 to 1997, prior to large-scale funding of abstinence-only programs, but changed little from 1999-2003, with federal funding of these programs (Advocates for Youth, 1).

Results of the studies showed the percentage of students that had had sexual intercourse decreased significantly by 11 percent from 1991 to 1997, but there was no statistically significant decline from 1999 to 2003 (Advocates for Youth, 2). Similarly, the prevalence of multiple sex partners decreased by 14 percent from 1991 to 1997 but there was no statistically significant decline of the frequency of multiple sex partners from 1999 to 2003 (Advocates for Youth, 2). These programs improved teens’ attitudes toward abstinence, but were least likely to positively affect students’ sexual behavior. However, even with no evidence of effectiveness behind abstinence-only sex education…funding increased by nearly 3000% from 1996 to 2001 (Collins, Alagiri, Summers, 4).

With the lack of effectiveness that abstinence-only sex provides and the rates of teen sexual behavior, we must ask ourselves, is abstinence-only really the best method to meet the needs of our youth?

Advocates for Youth, “Trends in Sexual Risk Behaviors Among High School Students”

Advocates for Youth, “Effective Sex Education”

Advocates for Youth, “Five Years of Abstinence-Only-Until-Education: Assessing the Impact”

Chris Collins, Priya Alagiri, Todd Summers, “Abstinence Only vs Comprehensive Sex Education”

Planned Parenthood, “Abstinence-Only Sex Education”

Robert Rector, “The Effectiveness of Abstinence Education Programs in Reducing Sexual Activity Among Youth”

U.S. Teen Sexual Activity.”Jan. 2005. Kaiser Family Foundation: Your Resource for Health Policy Information, Research and Analysis. Web.

Roman Polanski released on bail

December 6th, 2009

So, the rapist of a 13 year-old girl who fled the country for 30 years after pleading guilty pays 4.5 million dollars and is under house arrest. But as the article states, “it’d be hard to find an isolation as splendid as this.” He is still living with his family in a 3 story villa in Switzerland. Poor guy.

Why does someone who FLED TO FRANCE get bail??? What is wrong with people??? He is the epitome of a flight risk, which is the entire point of bail!,0,6935446.story

Boys May Not Want To Play With Guns Anymore! Oh NO, The Horror!!

December 5th, 2009

According to a study, a chemical in plastic has been linked to cause boys to act like girls.  The study found that boys who were highly exposed to the phthalates chemical were less likely than other boys to play with guns, cars, and also less likely to join in ‘rough’ games.  Now, parents are worried that their boy might not be as ‘masculine’ as they should be.  Some are seriously considering buying toys that do not contain phthalates.  They are afraid that they might ‘turn’ gay or that they won’t become ‘real’ men.  Shouldn’t parents be glad that at least their child is not going to mimic dangerous acts (such as gun games) or that their child may be less involved in fights? Nope. Also how does a child know what a certain toy represents?  They don’t.  This article shows just how much pressure is put into our biological sex and the stereotype that toys have over gender.

Video Just For Fun:                                                                                             

This YouTube Video is Entitled “Stay-At-Home-Dad”.  The man in this video raps about his experience as a Stay at Home Dad.  One comment stood out from many posted was this one: “it is only a considered a full-time job if a woman is doing it”.  Though I do not agree with this comment because I believe that men are just as capable to take care of children, the stigma associated with Stay-at-Home-Dad is that they are being lazy because they are the ones who are suppose to be working.  Making men feel inadequate and shameful, relating to the message that Warner makes about the troubling ‘norm’.  Instead of people being indifferent to this, many choose to criticize, reinforcing the idea that a group needs to be looked negatively, in this case it’s the men.