Arizona State Legislature Sends Anti-LGBTQ Senate Bill 1456 to Governor’s Desk

by Wyatt Ronan

ARIZONA – Yesterday, the Arizona State House passed Senate Bill 1456 – discriminatory legislation that affects not only sexual education material, but all learning materials in the classroom and makes it harder for LGBTQ kids to see themselves in school curriculum. The bill, which would make Arizona’s sex education laws some of the strictest in the nation when it comes to teaching about LGBTQ issues, now heads to Governor Doug Ducey’s desk for consideration.

The Human Rights Campaign opposes SB 1456, which requires that parents opt-in to curriculum for their children involving materials related to gender identity, gender expression, or sexuality in any school topic and instruction. This discriminatory bill adds additional barriers to inclusive sexual education curriculum, implements a rigorous review and approvals process, and prevents LGBTQ children from being able to learn critically important health information about themselves as they grow up.

The discriminatory bill would also request parents to sign off on their children learning about historical events involving sexual orientation, such as a discussion of the modern gay rights movement. The bill categorizes LGBTQ history, including the history of LGBTQ leaders and landmark court cases, as “taboo” and makes all HIV/AIDS instruction "opt-in,” categorizing this curriculum as "other" and only available through a permission slip.

SB 1456 is a major step-back from the progress made in 2019, when the state of Arizona removed barriers for LGBTQ representation in educational content.

Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David issued the following statement in response:

Just as any other child, LGBTQ children should be able to see themselves in school curriculum, be affirmed, and have the opportunity to learn about themselves, including critically important health information as they develop. Over and over, we have seen that bills requiring parental consent for sex education disproportionately and negatively impact LGBTQ children. No matter their sexual orientation or gender identity, all students should feel supported by their schools and families to grow into who they are without fear – and without efforts to withhold important LGBTQ history from their education. This bill is nothing more than a harmful attempt by Arizona legislators to discriminate against LGBTQ children.

Alphonso David, Human Rights Campaign President

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