VIRGINIA, USA — Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin’s office denies claims he is trying to establish a “Don’t Say Gay” law in the Commonwealth.
Virginia Senate President Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth, tweeted Saturday that the Youngkin administration is attempting to ban the mention of homosexuality in all Virginia schools.
“Using an outdated and unconstitutional section of code to define ‘sexually explicit content’ to bypass the General Assembly,” Lucas tweeted.
Some Virginia Democrats had previously voiced concerns the Commonwealth could seek a similar legislative path, regarding education, as the state of Florida.
Earlier this year, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a bill that bars any instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity from kindergarten through the third grade. That legislation has been nicknamed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
After writing her initial tweet, Lucas then decided to post the definition of the phrase “sexual conduct”, as it is determined by the Virginia state code, on Twitter.
The Code of Virginia says “sexual conduct” means actual or explicitly simulated acts of masturbation, homosexuality, sexual intercourse, or physical contact in an act of apparent sexual stimulation or gratification with a person's clothed or unclothed genitals, pubic area, buttocks or, if such be female, breast.
“This section of code lists homosexuality separately as if being gay was somehow a sexual act,” Lucas tweeted.
Lucas’ pair of tweets soon went viral, attracting more than 13,000 likes and almost 7,000 retweets. Many of the responses to her tweets were critical of the Youngkin administration.
But, members of Youngkin’s administration argue Lucas’ tweets are misguided.
The tweets came after the passing of the Virginia Department of Education’s [VDOE] August 3 deadline for residents to comment on a draft guidance document regarding “Model Policies Concerning Instructional Materials with Sexually Explicit Content”.
Last session, Governor Glenn Youngkin signed a bill, SB 656, sponsored by Virginia Senator Siobhan Dunnavant, R-Henrico, that required every local Virginia school board to adopt policies that ensure parental notification of any instructional material that includes sexually explicit content.
“The public comment window on the draft guidance document closed on August 3,” said VDOE spokesperson Charles Pyle. “After reviewing all of the submitted comments, the department will communicate a final document to school divisions to inform the adoption of local policies by January 1, 2023, as required by Senate Bill 656.”
Pyle added that the draft guidance document defined "sexually explicit content" as having the same meaning as provided in subsection A of § 2.2-2827. of the Code of Virginia.
“Section 2.2-2827 of the Virginia Code, which pertains to restrictions on accessing sexually explicit content via agency owned or leased computer equipment, states that “Sexually explicit content” “means (i) any description of or (ii) any picture, photograph, drawing, motion picture film, digital image or similar visual representation depicting sexual bestiality, a lewd exhibition of nudity, as nudity is defined in Section 18.2-390, sexual excitement, sexual conduct or sadomasochistic abuse, as also defined in Section 18.2-390, coprophilia, urophilia, or fetishism,” the Virginia code reads.
Governor Youngkin’s spokesperson Macaulay Porter also said Lucas’ tweets were incorrect.
“The Senator is clearly mistaken about the content of the guidance,” she said.
Under SB 656, every local school board in Virginia must adopt model policies for parental notification by January 1, 2023.
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin wants parents to report if 'divisive subjects' are being taught, but claims the tips sent to email@example.com are 'personal communications' and don't need to be released. WUSA9's request for information - even as to how many emails have been received - has not been fulfilled.