Arizona governor Doug Ducey speaks during a rally for President Donald Trump (Ralph Freso/Getty)
The Republican governor of Arizona has vetoed a bill that could have allowed parents to stop their kids learning about LGBT people.
Doug Ducey on Tuesday (20 April) vetoed legislation that would have made the state’s sex education laws the strictest in the US when it comes to LGBT+ people.
Ducey said that the proposed law, SB 1456, was overly broad and vague and would have unintended consequences. He was also concerned that banning sex education before fifth grade would limit sexual abuse prevention teaching, putting vulnerable children at risk.
SB 1456 would have meant that schools had to notify parents in advance of any classes discussing sexuality, gender identity or gender expression, with those classes “opt-in” rather than “opt-out” – not limited to sex ed classes but also including teaching events such as the Stonewall uprising in history classes.
Arizona’s top elected schools official, superintendent of public instruction Kathy Hoffman, praised Ducey for the veto, saying he “made the right decision by vetoing SB1456 and I want to thank him for standing up to bigotry and intolerance”.
Hoffman added: “All students are welcome in Arizona’s public schools and today’s veto reaffirms that.”
The bill received fierce opposition from Democrats who argued it would be harmful to LGBT+ students. The Arizona Democratic Party tweeted that the “extreme anti-LGBTQ bill” will “put young people in danger and effectively put a gag order on educators from teaching ANYTHING related to the LGBTQ community”. The party had called on governor Ducey to veto the bill.
Ducey’s veto is part of an executive order that will require schools to post sex ed curricula online and to provide extensive notice of school board meetings where sex ed is to be discussed. Those were parts of the proposed law.
“Arizona is and will remain a national leader in parental rights,” Ducey said in a statement. ”Too often, parents are left out of this process, and the importance is even greater when it comes to educating students about deeply personal matters like sex education.”