PHOENIX — Arizona has started work to repeal a 1990s law that barred education that “promoted a homosexual lifestyle.”
NBC OUT reported this week that the action in the state House comes a day after Republican Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich declined to join in defending a lawsuit filed last month by LGBTQ groups against the state’s Board of Education and state’s top schools official, Democratic Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman.
The law also banned HIV and AIDS instruction that “portrays homosexuality as a positive alternative lifestyle” or “suggests that some methods of sex are safe methods of homosexual sex,” according to NBC OUT.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights and Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit against the law last month. The organizations said in the filing that the law was stigmatizing and demeaning LGBTQ students, preventing them from getting medically-accurate information and creating a hostile environment for students.
LGBTQ groups celebrated the action.
“A full repeal is an amazing development, as it removes the harmful and discriminatory language that we specifically challenged in the lawsuit,” NCLR Senior Staff Attorney Julie Wilensky said in a statement. “We are grateful to the leadership of Arizonans who have been advocating for many years on this issue.”
“The writing was already on the wall, considering that the Arizona attorney general had already signaled they were not going to defend the law in court,” said Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Puneet Cheema. “We are thrilled that state officials have moved so quickly to get this harmful law off the books and allow LGBTQ students – in fact all students – to get access to the medically-accurate information that literally could save their lives.”
“All young people need and deserve curriculum that validates their identities and prepares them for health and success,” said Human Rights Campaign Arizona State Director Justin Unga. “We applaud the Arizona legislature for repealing this damaging ban on LGBTQ-inclusive education in our public schools and thank the LGBTQ Caucus for its leadership in ensuring a bipartisan solution. This victory should serve as a reminder of what we can accomplish when we put Arizona students’ success ahead of politics.”