Arizona law to require parental sign-off on children learning LGBTQ issues
Arizona has passed a new law, now up for signature of Republican Governor Doug Ducey, that would forbid children learning about LGBTQ issues without their parents’ consent.
According to Associate Press, the voting on this legislation followed party lines, 31-28, with Republicans favoring the bill and Democrats voting against.
Arizona’s new law on sex education
This bill is part of new sex education rules passed by the Arizona lawmakers.
According to the text of the bill, the school governing board is required to develop procedures for parents to be notified in advance to allow their children learn about “sexuality, gender identity or gender expression.”
Cathi Herrod, the Center for Arizona Policy’s president, told AP that this would “look out for parental rights” by giving parents access to learning materials.
Herrod’s group, which backed the bill, doesn’t want to stop the discussion of LGBTQ issues but rather, they want parents to “have the opportunity to opt their child in to classes dealing with human sexuality.”
What’s more, the bill prohibits schools from offering sex-ed classes– which include information about AIDS and HIV– without the parents’ permission.
Groups condemn Arizona’s new law
Calling on Ducey to veto the “extreme anti-LGBTQ bill,” the Arizona Democratic Party this is harmful for LGBTQ students and could be potentially unconstitutional.
They added this will “put young people in danger and effectively put a gag order on educators from teaching ANYTHING related to the LGBTQ community.”
Alison Macklin, a senior policy adviser at SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change, said “In a way, it’s a subliminal way of trying to get anti-homosexual legislation put in, by saying you can’t speak or talk about it in schools.”
“We would never make that type of legislation around other historical movements,” Macklin said.
State education officials were also not in agreement with the passage of the bill.
Education officials warn of law’s dangers
Kathy Hoffman, Arizona superintendent of public instruction, tweeted that Arizona has taken a “giant step backward” in LGBTQ equality with the said bill.
“This legislation is nothing short of state-codified bigotry and does not reflect where most Arizonans stand on these issues,” Hoffman said.
She added, “This legislation will one again silence and erase LGBTQ individuals and their history in our schools– and it will harm students and families.”
Meanwhile, Richie Taylor, the communications director for the Arizona department of education, warned about the impact of the bill. He said, “Growing up gay in rural Arizona was hard.”
“It would have been life changing for me to have access to information and resources that could have helped me make sense of it all,” Taylor added.