GOP lawmaker asks high school students if they're virgins, suggests one isn’t
The students, from Eastern Washington, were visiting the state capital for Planned Parenthood's annual Teen Lobbying Day to advocate for, among other things, expanding insurance coverage of birth control. They were accompanied by representatives from the women's health organization, according to the Seattle Times.
Dye asked them if they were virgins and suggested one of the teens was no longer a virgin, according to Rachel Todd, a Planned Parenthood worker who was also present.
“After she made the statement about virginity, all of my teens looked at me,” said Todd. “And I said, ‘You don’t have to answer that. You don’t have to answer that'.”
Dye then went on to share her own views on sex and marriage.
Social media users were as stunned as the students when news of Dye’s line of questioning broke.
Mary Dye R-Pomeroy, fascinated with teen group's virginity is "insane" and "unprofessional". Nobody wants your opinions, do your job.— David Prescott (@sporez) January 19, 2016
The GOP representative later issued a statement apologizing to students and admitted she was perhaps too “motherly” in her comments.
While “I appreciated their time and professionalism, I shared with them that I did not support the issues they were advocating for,” she wrote.
“Following a conversation they initiated on birth control for teenagers, I talked about the empowerment of women and making good choices — opinions shaped 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 than what they would expect from their state representative. If anything I said offended them or made them feel uncomfortable, I apologize,” she added.
One of the students, Alex Rubino said Dye’s advice came “unprompted.”
“It seemed kind of insane for her to say that, especially on the record, to constituents,” Rubino, 18, told the Seattle Times.
Todd said she had never been in a situation like this before.
“I’ve never been in any type of meeting, especially with teens, where an adult, especially an adult legislator, was so incredibly disrespectful and inappropriate,” she said.