Arizona repeals law banning ‘promotion of homosexual lifestyles’ in schools

Governor of Arizona Doug Ducey

Arizona has rapidly repealed a law that bans the “promotion” of homosexuality in schools after a lawsuit was filed by LGBT+ campaigners.

The state’s Republican governor Doug Ducey signed a bill on Thursday (April 11) to repeal the state’s law that prohibited teachers from “promoting a homosexual life-style,” depicting homosexuality “as a positive alternative life-style,” or teaching about “safe methods of homosexual sex.”

Arizona ‘No Promo Homo’ law repealed after lawsuit

The repeal measure was fast-tracked into law, just weeks after a legal challenge was filed by Equality Arizona, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and Lambda Legal.

The measure to repeal the law cleared the Arizona House of Representatives by a vote of 55-5 on Wednesday (April 10), and passed the state senate by a vote of 19-10 a day later, before being immediately signed by Ducey.

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (Chip Somodevilla/Getty)

The repeal likely ends the looming threat of the legal challenge against the 28-year-old law, which was one of just seven remaining ‘No Promo Homo’ laws on the books in the US.

Arizona Republicans had previously resisted efforts to repeal the law for years, but GOP leaders joined with Democrats in supporting the bipartisan push to repeal the law.

Lawmakers praise bipartisan push to swiftly repeal ‘No Promo Homo’ law

Arizona state representative Daniel Hernandez, one of the few out lawmakers in the state, said: “The repeal of No Promo Homo is not a victory for one person or for one group.

“This is something that all of us share in because we were able to come together in a bipartisan way to ensure that Arizona students never have to feel like they stigmatized for who they are.”

Republican representative TJ Shope said, “I was proud to be a part of a positive effort to change Arizona law in order to make all students feel more welcomed in Arizona’s classrooms.

“We have not only moved our state forward, we have also saved our state’s taxpayers countless amounts of dollars defending the indefensible.

“I was proud to work on this with my friend, Rep. Daniel Hernandez, and I hope this leads us to more bipartisan efforts in all of the issues we face as a state.”

Republican state senator Kate Brophy McGee added, “It has been an honor to work alongside my good friend Daniel Hernandez on LGBTQ legislation for the past two years.

“This repeal is a huge step forward and could not have happened without Daniel’s resolute leadership. We worked together with so many others in a truly bipartisan manner to get this done. It is a joyful new day for Arizonans.”

LGBT+ campaigners ‘thrilled’ lawsuit led to repeal of law

The LGBT+ campaigners who brought the legal challenge were among those to praise the repeal.

NCLR attorney Julie Wilensky said: “A full repeal is an amazing development, as it removes the harmful and discriminatory language that we specifically challenged in the lawsuit.

“We are grateful to the leadership of Arizonans who have been advocating for many years on this issue.”

Lambda Legal attorney Puneet Cheema said: “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.

“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.”

Equality Arizona’s executive director Michael Soto said: “We are tremendously gratified that Arizona lawmakers and elected officials came so quickly to realize how harmful the anti-LGBTQ curriculum law is, and moved so rapidly to repeal it.

“We are glad to see it erased from the books and are grateful to the LGBTQ leaders and allies who made the repeal possible.”

— Equality Arizona executive director Michael Soto

“A state law that explicitly demeaned and dismissed LGBTQ students and their relationships could not help but encourage abuse and discrimination at school.

“We are glad to see it erased from the books and are grateful to the LGBTQ leaders and allies who made the repeal possible.”

Human Rights Campaign’s Arizona State Director Justin Unga said: “All young people need and deserve curriculum that validates their identities and prepares them for health and success.

“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.”

Zeke Stokes, Chief Programs Officer for GLAAD, said: “Arizona students should never be taught to hate a marginalized group, and LGBTQ youth should never be subject to harassment, discrimination, or erasure just because of who they are.

“We applaud today’s strong, bipartisan action that sends a message of love and acceptance to LGBTQ youth.”