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Arizona Republican introduces bill to ban the word “homosexuality” from public schools

Republican Arizona State Senator Sylvia Allen
Republican Arizona State Senator Sylvia AllenPhoto: Wikimedia Commons

Republican Arizona State Senator Sylvia Allen has proposed legislation to remove the word “homosexuality” from all public school teaching materials and to prevent any student below the age of 12 from receiving sex education. The legislation is scheduled for hearing by the Senate’s Education Committee on Jan. 14, 2019

Progressive lobbyist Geoff Esposito says that Allen’s legislation is merely a conservative response to the state’s April 2019 repeal of its infamous “no promo homo” law which prohibited instruction in HIV/AIDS curriculum that “promotes a homosexual lifestyle” or “suggests that some methods of sex are safe methods of homosexual sex.”

Related: Arizona Supreme Court rules business can discriminate against gays & lesbians

Allen’s bill would require all of Arizona’s school districts and charter schools to revise their existing sex education courses in public meetings and then publicly post the revised coursework for a 60-day public comment period before final approval.

The bill would also deem as harmful any material that “normalizes sexual conduct between minors or sexual conduct with a minor” or calls such conduct “safe or without risk.” In short, Allen and her Republican cohorts want to erase teenage queer sexuality and make the safe consensual exploration of sexuality among teen peers seem scary and dangerous.

Esposito says Allen’s proposed legislation shows that “’anti-LGBT forces’ have been losing ground in recent years,” adding, “[Conservatives] are pushing an incredibly unpopular issue among the exact people they need to win over, and threatening vulnerable legislators’ re-election with a bad vote that will get a ton of media attention.”

Research has established a link between conservative prohibitions of discussing homosexuality in classrooms to higher rates of HIV. In 2018, Arizona and six other states with “no promo homo” laws were among the 15 U.S. states with the highest rates of HIV. Arizona has the 14th highest rate of HIV among U.S. states, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control.

In 2015, Allen proposed a bill that would force all Arizona citizens to attend church. She currently lives in the town of Snowflake, Arizona.

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