Law that forces teachers to say it’s wrong to be gay could finally be repealed in Alabama
A law that forces schools in Alabama to teach kids that homosexuality is “not acceptable” could finally be lifted in the state.
Alabama is one of seven states with so-called ‘no promo homo’ laws, which actively restrict schools teaching about homosexuality.
The Alabama state code, approved in 1992, dictates that schools providing sex education should teach that homosexuality is not acceptable and a “criminal offence”.
It says: “Course materials and instruction that relate to sexual education or sexually transmitted diseases should include … an emphasis, in a factual manner and from a public health perspective, that homosexuality is not a lifestyle acceptable to the general public and that homosexual conduct is a criminal offense under the laws of the state.”
Homosexuality ceased to be a criminal offence in Alabama in 2003, when the US Supreme Court struck down anti-gay sodomy laws across all 50 states.
Lawmakers in the state are this month trying to erase the reference to homosexuality from the code.
Republican lawmaker Sen. Tom Whatley is behind the bipartisan push to tweak the law, which would maintain provisions that requiree that sex ed lessons be “abstinence-only”.
It would leave in place a stipulation to teach that ” Abstinence from sex is the only completely effective protection against unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) when transmitted sexually.”
It: “This bill would revise the focus of the content, course materials, and instruction provided to public school students in any program or curriculum that includes sex education or the human reproductive process.”
The bill passed the Senate Education Policy Committee today, and now moves to the full Senate – which is heavily dominated by the Republican Party.
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According to AP, Sen. Whatley said: “If you’re teaching sex education, you’re going to be medically accurate when you’re doing it.”
Previous attempts to repeal the bill have all failed.
Seven states in the US prohibit teachers in publicly-funded schools from discussing LGBT issues in the classroom.
So-called ‘no promo homo’ laws are on the statue books in Alabama, Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas.
These can forbid teachers from “portraying homosexuality as a positive alternative lifestyle” and discussing same-sex relationships “except in the context of instruction concerning sexually transmitted diseases”.