Arizona Gov. Vetoes Bill Limiting LGBTQ-Related Sex Education

The Governor of Arizona vetoed a bill this week that would have limited all students’ access to sex education related to LGBTQ-issues, unless they had parental permission.

Republican Gov. Doug Ducey said he vetoed Senate bill 1456 because it was “overly broad,” and would have had far-reaching consequences, like standing in the way of “important child-abuse prevention education in the early grades for at-risk and vulnerable children.”

Arizona is already one of five states that require parental permission before any child can attend a sex education class, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Last week, members of the GOP-led Arizona House and Senate approved S.B.1456, which would have additionally barred all discussion in sex-education classes about gender identity, sexual orientation, and HIV/AIDS, unless parents had been notified in advance, and specifically opted in for the instruction.

A similar bill allowing parents to opt their kids out of LGBTQ-related sex education has passed this week in Tennessee, and is expected to be signed into law just weeks after the Tennessee legislature passed a controversial transgender athlete bill.

The vetoed Arizona law would have also required parents to agree to have their children learn about LGBTQ-related historical events, like the modern gay rights movement that came from the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York.

Additionally, the bill would have banned any sex-ed classes in Arizona schools before 5th grade. Opponents to the bill, including Gov. Ducey, said that would have put “young students, who now learn about ‘good touch-bad touch’ to avoid molestation, at greater risk,” according to NBC.

In 2019, Gov. Ducey signed a repeal of a 1991 state law that had banned HIV/AIDS instruction which the bill had said “promotes a homosexual lifestyle." That move only came after Equality Arizona filed a lawsuit challenging the law, and the Attorney General said he wouldn’t defend it in court.

Although Ducey vetoed this latest attempt to let parents control students’ access to LGBTQ-related sex education, he said he does still want to allow “more parental involvement in education, especially around the very personal and sensitive topic of sex education.” 

So, instead of signing this proposed bill into law, Ducey issued an Executive Order requiring all sex education materials to be posted online for parents to review. He also ordered the Arizona Department of Education to come up with new procedures that will ensure parents have a “meaningful opportunity to participate, review and provide input on any proposed sex education course of study before it is adopted.”

Posted by Brit Smith

Brit Smith is a Staff Writer & Associate Editor at GWK. A native of London, England, she started her American adventure nannying and waiting tables in Texas in 2006, and eventually graduated magna cum laude from the University of California, Berkeley in 2017 with a BA in Biological Anthropology. She now lives in Massachusetts with her husband and their dogs Cosmo and Juno. Brit has previously written and created podcasts for WBZ NewsRadio, iHeart Media, and Different Leaf.



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