Gov. Ducey Vetoes Anti-LGBTQ Education Bill

by Wyatt Ronan

ARIZONA – Yesterday, Governor Doug Ducey vetoed Senate Bill 1456 – discriminatory legislation that would have affected not only sex education material, but all learning materials in the classroom and made it harder for LGBTQ kids to see themselves in school curriculum.

The Human Rights Campaign opposed SB 1456, which would have required 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 would have added additional barriers to inclusive sexual education curriculum and prevented LGBTQ children from being able to learn critically important health information about themselves as they grow up.

The bill also would have required parents sign off on their children learning about any issues regarding sexual orientation or gender identity, including historical events such as a discussion of the LGBTQ rights movement. The bill discouraged teaching LGBTQ history and literature, creating a “taboo” around LGBTQ curriculum content, and would have made all HIV/AIDS instruction "opt-in,” and all education about sexuality, sexual orientation, and gender identity only available through a permission slip.

The veto of SB 1456 is consistent with the progress Arizona made in 2019, when the state removed barriers for LGBTQ representation in educational content.

History shows that restricting curriculum disproportionately impacts LGBTQ children, and Governor Ducey’s choice to veto this bill will prevent further discrimination and disinformation, and potentially save lives. This bill would have threatened the ability for all students – no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity – to feel supported by their schools and families to grow into who they are without fear, this legislation also would have paved the way for efforts to withhold important LGBTQ history and literature from their education. We must always work to protect LGBTQ students from discrimination while giving young people all the information they need to be comfortable navigating their adolescence and live freely and openly.

Alphonso David, Human Rights Campaign President

By vetoing this bill, Governor Ducey reminded the Arizona legislature that attempts to deny LGBTQ students crucial education will not be tolerated. Regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, students in Arizona deserve to have access to high-quality sex education and information about LGBTQ history, literature and current events. This veto will protect LGBTQ children and ensure every student has access to enriching educational materials that tell the story of LGBTQ people in this country.

Bridget Sharpe, Human Rights Campaign Arizona State Director

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