A Republican state senator from Arizona wants to prohibit any mention of the word “homosexuality” in the state’s public and charter schools.
Sen. Sylvia Allen, who hails from the town of Snowflake, introduced the provision as part of a sweeping new bill to gut sex-education curriculum in the state. The bill is scheduled for a hearing next Tuesday, the second day of Arizona’s legislative session, before the Senate Education Committee, which Allen chairs.
From 12news.com: “The bill, SB 1082, would remove the word ‘homosexuality’ from the definition of ‘sexual conduct’ that can be discussed in Arizona schools. It would also ban sex education before seventh grade. Health education would be allowed in kindergarten through six grade. Students or their parents would have the right to sue a school district or charter school operator for failing to follow the new sex-ed regulations.”
Democrats say Allen’s proposed “homosexuality” ban appears to be an attempt to replace the state’s “no promo homo” law, which was repealed in response to a lawsuit last year. The “no promo homo” law prohibited instruction that “promotes a homosexual lifestyle” or “portrays homosexuality as a positive alternative lifestyle.” It also barred teachers from saying that there are safe methods of homosexual sex.
Equality Arizona, a plaintiff in the lawsuit challenging the “no promo homo” statute, responded to Allen’s bill on its Facebook page: “During the last session, legislators repealed an anti-LGBTQ statute to avoid an indefensible million dollar lawsuit. We urge the Senate to not go backwards, and to work specifically on bipartisan legislation instead of creating obstacles for school districts, parents, and students who want the right to an inclusive education. Giving parents the right to sue school districts enforces a chilling effect where students will not learn any advancements in science or health and will continue to perpetuate myths about their development, their bodies, ultimately stunting their maturity. The choice is ours: We either empower and affirm all students, and by doing so reduce an LGBTQ youth’s suicide risk by 40% or we keep those risk rates where they’re at. There is no middle ground here. The consequences are deadly.”
UPDATE: According to Arizona Capital Times reporter Dillon Rosenblatt, Allen has issued a statement Thursday saying she will remove the “homosexuality” provision from the bill: