Legislature repeals law prohibiting ‘advocacy of homosexuality’ in classroom

Revelers at the St. George gay pride event participate in a conga line parade at Vernon Worthen Park, St. George, Utah, June 25, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – A bill repealing Utah’s so-called “No Promo Homo” classroom policy was passed by the Legislature Wednesday. The law prohibited discussion in public schools that could be construed as advocating homosexuality or speaking positively to it.

2017’s Senate Bill 196, Health Education Amendments, sponsored by Sen. Stuart Adams, R-Layton, passed the Senate in a 27-1 vote. It passed the House in a 68-1 vote on Tuesday. It now goes to Gov. Gary Herbert’s office for consideration where he can either sign or veto the bill.

“This bill repeals language prohibiting the advocacy of homosexuality in health instruction,” the legislation states in its opening lines.

We’re focusing on making sure we treat all kids equally,” Adams said in a Senate committee hearing on the bill in February. “What this bill does is it allows us to focus on just that, making sure we treat everyone equally whether it’s homosexuality or heterosexuality. The state has a compelling interest to teach all children.”

The bill may help spare the state a lawsuit filed by LGBTQ advocacy groups and three students last October. The lawsuit argues the First and 14th amendments of teachers and students are being violated by limiting their rights of free speech, equal protection and free access.

The law, often referred to as “anti-gay school laws” in the lawsuit, also creates a negative environment for LGBTQ youth, the lawsuit states.

Equality Utah and the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the three students are specifically suing the Utah State Board of Education, Sydnee Dickson in her capacity as the State Superintendent of Public Instruction of the State of Utah, and the Cache County, Jordan and Weber school districts and related school boards.

The lawsuit was put on hold pending the outcome of Adams’ bill and may be resolved with a subsequent signature of the governor.

Supporters of the bill took to social media to praise the bill passing the Legislature.

“It’s official! The #UTLeg has passed #SB196 which strikes discriminatory language on ‘homosexuality’ from school curriculum. Thank you!” Troy Williams, executive director of Equality Utah, said over Twitter.

Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake, an openly-gay member of the Legislature, was also pleased.

“After so many years, the ‘No Promo Homo’ Law is dead in UTAH! Congrats to Equality Utah and so many who make this happen!” Dabakis said over Twitter as well.

While the “no promo homo” part of the law has bean repealed, it maintains that teachers are prohibited from “instruction that advocates premarital or extramarital sexual activity.”

According to Fox 13 News, Williams said Equality Utah will be meeting with the Utah Attorney General’s Office to discuss issues related to the lawsuit and possibly reach a settlement.

Each of Southern Utah’s representatives and senators (listed below) voted in favor of the bill.


Read more: See all St. George News reports on Utah Legislature 2017 issues

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.


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  • comments March 8, 2017 at 5:53 pm

    In San Francisco you got gay men riding around the city on bicycles totally nude, and it’s allowed. Are we headed in that direction or what?

    • .... March 8, 2017 at 8:21 pm

      Well maybe you could just leave Bob. it’s no big deal

    • wildduck1 March 8, 2017 at 11:43 pm

      Oh, please!

  • Kyle L. March 8, 2017 at 5:58 pm

    Wow!!!!!!!!!!! You can’t mention God in school but you can talk about given it to your guy friends with no repercussions. So glad my kids don’t go to the joke Utah calls schools. Remember how these law makers voted come election time. I will.

    • .... March 8, 2017 at 8:23 pm

      Well good for you Kyle …remember it takes more than just one vote to change anything

    • Rainbow Dash March 8, 2017 at 9:22 pm

      Actually Kyle “God” is mentioned every day in nearly every school across the nation. In fact, he’s usually mentioned within the first 5 minutes of the time school starts in a prayer more commonly known as the “Pledge of Allegiance”. I’m sure you remember it. I’d type out the whole thing but I don’t have the time so here’s the pertinent excerpt “….one nation UNDER GOD, indivisible….”

      Have a nice day ♥

  • Craig March 8, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    From the way this reads, homosexuality could be discussed, just not promoted. Also, premarital sex could not be promoted.

    I am confused why that is a bad thing that needs to be repealed?

    What grade levels are we discussing – high school health class or grade school.

    If it’s grade school, if I were a parent there I’d be very upset.

    As whatever is agreed to teach, we have repeatedly seen teaching become indoctrination very quickly.

    I think parents have a right to be nervous. Why isn’t it the local school board’s dealing with this rather than the state. Local school are close to the parents and responsive to them. After all, it’s the children of these parents you are interfering with.

  • Utahguns March 8, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    Can we associate the word “pathetic” to the mixed up sexual movement?
    After all, the word “gay” used to mean “Happy”, and Rainbow images were joyful…

    This is what happens when something toxic comes in contact with normal organisms or objects originally evolving from something good….

  • ladybugavenger March 8, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    How come I’m considered intolerant and hateful if I advocate for not being gay, and when I say Jesus? Y’all LGBTxyz are a bunch of haters and I will never advocate your lifestyle, I also will not hate you just for being gay. If you’re a jerk and gay just know that I don’t like you cuz your a jerk not because your gay.

  • wildduck1 March 8, 2017 at 11:50 pm

    I doubt this is the terminology that will be used when discussing this topic and, yes, you can mention God in schools. We are glad your children don’t attend Utah schools, as well! I will also remember how these lawmakers voted and vote for them because they are not narrow-minded bigots.

    • Henry March 9, 2017 at 6:49 am

      I’m glad you don’t support narrow-minded bigots. Wish we could get the University of California system to protect their campus speakers from the narrow-minded bigots that are attacking those with whom they disagree.

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