On Wednesday, the Arizona House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 1346, which repeals A.R.S.15-716C, known as the “No Promo Homo” law. The law prohibited school districts from providing instruction that “promotes the homosexual lifestyle.”
The House voted 55-5 in favor of Rep. TJ Shope’s bill, which now heads to the Senate.
“Schools should be a welcoming and safe environment for our students,” says Arizona Education Association President Joe Thomas. “This law stigmatized and harmed both our LGBTQ students and staff. Arizona educators are glad to see this discriminatory law repealed.”
The vote follows the decision by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich to refrain from defending the prohibition. Brnovich had notified the Legislature in a letter that he would not intervene on behalf of the state in regards to a lawsuit filed in federal court against 15-716(C) and A.A.C. R7-2-303(A)(3)(b)(v), which have referred to as “no promo homo” laws.
Cathi Herrod, president of the conservative Center for Arizona Policy issued a statement in support of the repeal. “I maintain the position that no one should be bullied for any reason, and each case of schoolyard bullying should be handled individually. We’ve seen no evidence to support the claim that current law is linked to any such bullying. However, the unfortunate, continued misrepresentation of the law perpetuates a skewed view of its intent.
“Although Center for Arizona Policy did not exist during the law’s passage in 1991, the intent of the law has never been to show animus toward any group of people,” continued Herrod. “Upon review of the lawsuit, which reads more like a political statement than a legal pleading, I support and agree with efforts by Arizona lawmakers to repeal the current law’s contested provisions. The law applies only to AIDS education. We should all be able to agree that AIDS instruction should be medically accurate and age appropriate.”
“Today we had the opportunity to stand together in a bi-partisan manner and right a wrong. We are repealing a law that has stigmatized untold numbers of Arizonans, and has led to erroneous and dangerous stereotypes, discrimination and bullying,” said House Democratic Leader Charlene Fernandez in a press release. “Schools should be a safe, inclusive environment where every student has the opportunity to learn free from harassment and bullying. In Arizona we can’t say that’s the case. For the past 28 years, this law has amounted to an official state-sanctioned climate of discrimination. I am so proud of my colleagues who voted yes today to put this chapter in the rear-view mirror and move our state forward.”