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Arizona Board Of Education Votes To Repeal 'Heterosexual Marriage' Promotion Rule

By Claire Caulfield
Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services
Published: Tuesday, April 30, 2019 - 9:46am
Updated: Tuesday, April 30, 2019 - 9:47am

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Kathy Hoffman consults with Luke Naducci
Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services
Arizona Superintendent Kathy Hoffman consults with Luke Naducci, president of the Arizona Board of Education, on April 30, 2019.

The Arizona Board of Education unanimously voted Monday to repeal rules that require sex-ed classes in Arizona to "promote honor and respect for monogamous heterosexual marriage.''

The board's action comes a month after the state was sued over statutes that ban sex-ed courses that "promotes a homosexual lifestyle'' or "portrays homosexuality as a positive alternative life-style'' when teaching about AIDS and HIV. The law also said that efforts to teach "safe sex'' can never suggests there are safe methods of sex between people of the same gender.

State lawmakers voted to repeal the challenged language after Attorney General Mark Brnovich said he would not defend the statute. That, however, still left provisions in state board rules requiring the promotion of monogamous heterosexual language.

Monday night’s action begins the the legal process of repealing these rules, which requires a public hearing.

Nothing in state law requires schools to teach sex education. But districts that do must offer instruction that is age-appropriate, medically accurate and promotes abstinence.

Questions about discrimination in sex ed courses have been around for years. But multiple attempts by lawmakers to repeal the statutory language about promoting a homosexual lifestyle were rebuffed by Republican legislative leaders who refused to even give a hearing to proposals to repeal it.

The issue gained more visibility when Hoffman, newly installed as the state superintendent of public instruction, used her first-ever State of Education speech to call on legislators to rescind what had been dubbed the "no promo homo'' law.

But it was only after the lawsuit was filed that lawmakers decided to take action and the state board began its move to repeal its own challenged rule.