No promo homo laws
No promo homo laws are laws approved by various U.S. states that prohibit or limit the mention or discussion of homosexuality and transgender identity in public schools. In theory, these laws mainly apply to sex ed courses, but they can also be applied to other parts of the school curriculum as well as to extracurricular activities and organizations such as gay–straight alliances.
They are similar to Section 28 of the British Local Government Act 1988, introduced on May 24, 1988, which prohibits local authorities from "intentionally promoting homosexuality, publishing material with the intention of promoting homosexuality, or promoting the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship." The law was repealed in Scotland in 2000, as one of the first actions of the devolved Scottish Parliament, and in the rest of the United Kingdom in 2003.
"Course materials and instruction that relate to sexual education or sexually transmitted diseases should include ... an emphasis, in a factual manner and from a public health perspective, that homosexuality is not a lifestyle acceptable to the general public and that homosexual conduct is a criminal offense under the laws of the state." Ala. Code § 16-40A-2.
"No sex education course offered in the public schools of the state shall utilize any sexually explicit materials depicting male or female homosexual activity ... The major emphasis of any sex education instruction offered in the public schools of this state shall be to encourage sexual abstinence between unmarried persons and any such instruction shall: ... Emphasize abstinence from sexual activity outside of marriage as the expected standard for all school-age children." La. R.S. § 17:281.
"Abstinence-only education shall remain the state standard for any sex-related education taught in the public schools. For purposes of this section, abstinence-only education includes any type of instruction or program which, at an appropriate age ... [t]eaches the current state law related to sexual conduct, including forcible rape, statutory rape, ... and homosexual activity ... and teaches that a mutually faithful, monogamous relationship in the context of marriage is the only appropriate setting for sexual intercourse." Miss. Code § 37-13-171.
"AIDS prevention education shall specifically teach students that: 1. engaging in homosexual activity, promiscuous sexual activity, intravenous drug use or contact with contaminated blood products is now known to be primarily responsible for contact with the AIDS virus; 2. avoiding the activities specified in paragraph 1 of this subsection is the only method of preventing the spread of the virus." 70 Okla. Stat. § 11-103.3.
"The materials in the education programs intended for persons younger than 18 years of age must: (1) emphasize sexual abstinence before marriage and fidelity in marriage as the expected standard ... and (2) state that homosexual conduct is not an acceptable lifestyle and is a criminal offense under Section 21.06, Penal Code." Tex. Health & Safety Code § 85.007.
"Course materials and instruction relating to sexual education or sexually transmitted diseases should include: emphasis, provided in a factual manner and from a public health perspective, that homosexuality is not a lifestyle acceptable to the general public and that homosexual conduct is a criminal offense under Section 21.06, Penal Code." Tex. Health & Safety Code § 163.002.
In April 2019, the Arizona State Legislature passed (House vote 55–5 and Senate vote 19–10) and the Governor of Arizona signed a repeal of the 1991 HIV law (ARS § 15-716) that prohibited AIDS and HIV-related "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." Due to several court cases running, the constitutionality of the law was questioned. The repeal went into effect on July 1, 2019.
In 2006 with the passage of 2006 N.C. Sess. Laws 264,§ 54(a)–(c), the North Carolina State Legislature amended N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-81(e1)(3) to remove the prohibition of discussing homosexuality.
On October 21, 2016, Equality Utah filed a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah against the Utah State Board of Education to strike down Utah Code § 53A-13-101(1)(c)(iii)(A). On March 8, 2017, the Utah State Legislature passed SB196, which removes the phrase "the advocacy of homosexuality" from the law. On March 20, 2017, Governor Gary Herbert signed SB196 into law. The repeal went into effect on July 1, 2017.
The repealed statute stated "[T]he materials adopted by a local school board ... shall be based upon recommendations of the school district's Curriculum Materials Review Committee that comply with state law and state board rules emphasizing abstinence before marriage and fidelity after marriage, and prohibiting instruction in the advocacy of homosexuality." Utah Code § 53A-13-101.
On March 11, 2020, the US District Court of South Carolina ruled in GSA v. Spearman that South Carolina's no promo homo law "cannot satisfy any level of judicial review under the Equal Protection Clause". The Court ordered that "[t]he Superintendent and the Superintendent's officers, assigns, successors, agents, employees, attorneys, and other persons who are acting in concert or in participation with each or any of them, are permanently enjoined from enforcing, applying, or relying on S.C. Code. § 59-32-30(A)(5)." This rendered S.C. Code. § 59-32-30(A)(5) unenforceable.
The judgement was a consent decree. The defendant, the superintendent of the South Carolina Department of Education, agreed that the law was likely unconstitutional after receiving advice from South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson and decided to accept the Court's terms.
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- "Consent Decree Judgement in Gender and Sexuality Alliance; Campaign for Southern Equality; and South Carolina Equality Coalition, Inc. v. Molly Spearman" (PDF). National Center for Lesbian Rights. 11 March 2020. Archived (PDF) from the original on 29 March 2020. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
- "LBGTQ groups: South Carolina law is putting students at risk". AP NEWS. 2020-02-27. Retrieved 2020-03-30.