Arizona Repeals LGBTQ Curriculum Law

By Mariana Dale, Lauren Gilger
Published: Thursday, April 11, 2019 - 11:43am
Updated: Friday, April 12, 2019 - 2:37pm

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Arizona Senate floor
Mariana Dale/KJZZ
The view from the Arizona Senate floor on April 11, 2019.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Thursday signed a repeal of an Arizona law that that bans teachers from promoting “homosexual lifetyle” in school health classes.

Sometimes called “no promo homo” or “anti-gay curriculum” laws, they specifically said schools cannot “promote a homosexual lifestyle” in health classes.

The Senate approved an amended bill appealing the law minutes before with a 19-10 vote with one absence.

In March, LGBTQ rights groups filed a lawsuit against Superintendent Kathy Hoffman and the State Board of Education over the 1991 law that bans educators promoting a homosexual lifestyle, suggesting homosexuality is a “positive alternative lifestyle,” or suggesting that some gay sex is safe.

Arizona was one of at least seven states with this type of law.

Sen. Martín Quezada has tried to repeal the law since 2016 and the bill signed into law Thursday reflected his efforts.

“I want us to all be honest with ourselves today about this bill,” Quezada said. “We would not be here today if it was not a forced issue.”

Sen. Sylvia Allen blocked Quezada's bill from advancing as chair of the Senate Education Committee. In explaining her no vote, she said schools have changed from being a neutral place where children can learn.

“Every single year because society is having problems, then we’ve got have to bring it into our school to solve those problems with our children,” Allen said explaining her philosophy about education. “I don’t know that schools the place to solve some of these problems.”

The repeal effectively ends the lawsuit filed by Lambda Legal and the National Center for Lesbian Rights on behalf of Equality Arizona and LGBTQ students in the state.

“With Arizona eliminating this harmful law then there wouldn’t be a need for continue litigation,” said Julie Wilensky, senior staff attorney at the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

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