Utah’s state legislature has passed a bill this week making sex education lessons optional and prohibiting the discussion of homosexuality and instructions on how to use contraception.

The senate at Salt Lake City voted 19-10 in favour of the bill.

If Utah’s Republican governor signs the bill into law, the state will become the first in the union to stop teachers telling pupils about contraception as a way of protecting themselves from infections and unwanted pregnancies.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports Senator Stuart Reid saying: “To replace the parent in the school setting, among people who we have no idea what their morals are, we have no ideas what their values are, yet we turn our children over to them to instruct them in the most sensitive sexual activities in their lives, I think is wrongheaded.”

The Think Progress blog reports that an amendment which would allow teachers to answer questions posed by pupils who wanted to know about homosexuality and contraception was defeated.

Democratic Senator Romero who proposed the amendment said: “We’ve been discussing this as if every child has the benefit of two loving and caring parents who are ready to have a conversation about appropriate sexual activity, and I’m here to tell you that’s just not the case.”

Sen. John Valentine said: “I recognize that some parents do not take the opportunity to teach in their own homes, but we as a society should not be teaching or advocating homosexuality or sex outside marriage or different forms of contraceptives for premarital sex.”

Democratic State Senator Pat Jones called it “a mandate against reality”.