By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
Washington State Rep. Mary Dye of Pomeroy seems to have a curious interest concerning students visiting the state capitol–they should be questioned as to their virginity.
As part of a visit to the Washington State Capitol, Planned Parenthood’s annual Teen Lobbying Day participants met with Representative Dye to advocate bills proposing the expansion of insurance coverage for birth control. But it seemed that our representative wanted a little more information than expected.
It apparently was necessary for these teenagers to disclose their sexual activities to Washington’s self-appointed Virgin Tester.
It was not enough that our representative wanted to know these student’s sexual history, but she went even further to accuse one of them of actually not being virgin, according to the students and Rachel Todd, a Planned Parenthood worker accompanying the teens.
Todd stated, “after [Representative Dye] made the statement about virginity, all my teens looked at me. And I said you don’t have to answer that. You don’t have to answer that.”
From there Representative Dye began to lecture the students about sex and making the right choices. This was overheard by others in the room.
After the controversy Dye provided the following information.
I shared with them that I did not support the issues they were advocating for. Following a conversation they initiated on birth control for teenagers, I talked about the empowerment of women and making good choices– opinions shared by my mother and being a mother of three daughters.
In hindsight, a few of the thoughts I shared, while well-intended, may have come across as more motherly then what they would expect from their state representative. If anything I said offended them or made them feel uncomfortable, I apologize.
Erik Houser, Spokesman for Planned Parenthood’s advocacy arm in Washington, did not take lightly to the remarks offered by this representative.
I’ve never been in any type of meeting, especially with teens where an adult, especially an adult legislator, who was so incredibly disrespectful and inappropriate. Our teens, many of them who are lobbying for the very first time, expect a certain amount of professionalism in these meetings.
Given the perennial controversy manifest in many legislative bodies with regard to sexual adventurism, I tend to think that it should be the students asking such questions. I also find it rather arrogant that this representative chose to describe which she termed a “motherly” relationship with one of her constituents. It is not the place of elected officials to dictate moral parenthood over any citizen. But then again, it seems that many of them have an insatiable need to know everything about each of us.
By Darren Smith
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