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GLSEN Phx calls for "No Promo" repeal

 Attorney General Brnovich and House Speaker Rusty Bowers Agree: State of Arizona “No Promo Homo” Statute is Indefensible and Unconstitutional

For years, GLSEN Phoenix has advocated for the repeal of the notorious “Section C” of ARS 15-716, which some refer to as the “no promo homo” law. Section C of that education law was passed by Arizona legislators nearly three decades ago, during a period of entrenched discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS. Last month, we endorsed the Equality Arizona v. Hoffman lawsuit challenging A.R.S. 15-716.

Today, GLSEN Phoenix applauds Attorney General Brnovich’s legal decision and House Speaker Rusty Bowers’ concurrence that A.R.S. 15-716C is indefensible and unconstitutional. The resolution of the lawsuit is now in the legislature’s hands. We call on the Arizona State legislature to pass a “clean repeal” bill that removes Section C from the statute.

GLSEN Phoenix founder Madelaine Adelman stated “A clean repeal will move Arizona away from this decades-old stigma-based approach to education. Such legal reform is critical, given what is known about its effect on the safety and health of students in K-12 schools. Moreover, a clean repeal of ARS 15-716C would signal the open and inclusive nature of our state, and would save Arizonans the money and government staff time required to fight the lawsuit.”

GLSEN Phoenix encourages all Arizonans to urge their representatives and senators to pass a clean repeal of A.R. S. 15-716C. Visit https://www.azleg.gov/alisStaticPages/HowToContactMember.asp to find your legislative district and legislators’ contact information.

GLSEN Phoenix endorses the clean repeal because ARS 15-716 selectively stigmatizes a group or class of students (and members of the school community, including students’ families, teachers, staff, etc.). The law sends the message that LGBTQ people do not belong in the school community, and mandates that a particular group of students not have equal access to education. Overall, the statute places students in harm’s way, increasing young people’s vulnerability to harassment, sexually transmitted infections (including but not limited to HIV), unintended pregnancy, sexual violence, and dating violence. The statute perpetuates social stigma which translates into harassment, assault, and discrimination, and results in lower levels of testing and health care for youth who are HIV+.

Section C of ARS 15-716 argues that “No district shall include in its course of study instruction which: 1. Promotes a homosexual life-style; 2. Portrays homosexuality as a positive alternative life-style; 3. Suggests that some methods of sex are safe methods of homosexual sex.” In essence, this archaic and poorly worded section of the law bars educators from teaching medically accurate content about the transmission of HIV. Section C also requires educators to disseminate myths about the transmission of HIV. This section of the statute contradicts other sections of the statute, which legally require HIV/AIDS education in AZ to be medically accurate and to dispel myths of HIV transmission. Not surprisingly, the AZ Department of Health Services’ HIV/AIDS Surveillance Annual Report of 2018, in Arizona, indicates individuals in their 20’s had the highest HIV/AIDS incidence rates in the state during 2017 with 20-24 year olds at 23.5 cases per 100,000 individuals and 25-29 year olds at 32.0 cases per 100,000; school-age youth between the ages of 13-19 year are at 4.0 cases per 100,000 individuals. The CDC reports that the majority of new HIV diagnoses are among young gay and bisexual African American and Latinx men. All students deserve comprehensive and medically accurate health education.

Read more: Arizona lawmakers move to amend or repeal 'no promo homo' law amid federal lawsuit