US: Alabama lawmakers urged to repeal law which requires schools to teach that being gay is illegal

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Alabama lawmakers have come under pressure to repeal a law which technically requires schools to incorrectly teach students that being gay is illegal, and that it is “not a lifestyle acceptable to the general public.”

A petition started by high school students Sarah Noone and Adam Pratt, which urged the state to repeal the law, had been signed by over 87,500 people at time of publication.

The petition supports a proposed bill by Democratic Representative Patricia Todd, the state’s first openly gay legislator, which would repeal the law.

“I don’t know if anybody is actually teaching this, to be honest with you,” said Todd. “But the fact that this is even in the law is an insult.”

Sodomy laws were struck down by the US Supreme Court in 2003, and Noone said the law sends a “dangerous message”.

“Think of the dangerous message this law sends to lesbian, gay and bisexual youth in schools,” she said. “Can you imagine the self-hatred you would feel inside after hearing a teacher say that being gay is a criminal act and that society will never accept you? All students deserve to feel safe and welcome in school, but this law prevents that.”

“Supporting Rep. Patricia Todd’s bill isn’t about accepting gay people, it’s about making our schools a place where all students can feel safe. I know that if enough people sign our petition, the legislature will hear what Alabama youth have to say,” she continued.

In a recent television interview on the War Room, Pratt said the response to the petition to repeal the law had been mainly positive.

“It’s actually mostly been positive, in regards to the petition,” Pratt said. “There’s been a little bit of feedback on the national level, in comments on the petition and other postings about the petition of people basically hating on Alabama and saying that we’re such a not accepting place. When in reality, any state in the union is going to have the same issues that we have. We just have kind of become more public about them.”

As well as the petition, another was started on AllOut in support of the bill, and the repeal of the law.