Arizona's Anti-Gay Law Similar to Russian Law, Yale Professors Say

Categories: Back in Arizona
New Times

A Washington Post opinion piece penned by a pair of Yale University law professors argues that anti-gay legislation enacted in Russia isn't that different from laws in some American states.

Russia's ban on promoting homosexual propaganda in front of children isn't that different from the so-called "no promo homo" laws in eight states, including Arizona, the authors argue.

See also:
-A Homophobic Group Killed Arizona's Anti-Bullying Law

Eight U.S. states, and several cities and counties, have some version of what we call 'no promo homo' provisions," Ian Ayres and William Eskridge argue in the Washington Post. "Before the United States condemns the Russian statute's infringement of free speech and academic freedom, it should recognize that our own republican forms of government have repeatedly given rise to analogous restrictions."

The Arizona law allows public schools to teach children about HIV and AIDS, and states that the instruction must be "medically accurate" and must "[d]ispel myths regarding transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus.

However, the law specifically bans any instruction that "[p]romotes a homosexual life-style," "[p]ortrays homosexuality as a positive alternative life-style," or "[s]uggests that some methods of sex are safe methods of homosexual sex."

Not every member of the Arizona Legislature is that ignorant. There have been multiple attempts to rid the books of this law. Obviously, those attempts have not prevailed.

And you don't have to look very hard to find out who's supporting keeping such a law in place -- the right-wing lobbying organization/nonprofit Center for Arizona Policy, one of the heavyweights at Arizona's capitol.

The following is straight from the organization's "policy pages":
Among advocates of homosexual behavior, there is a deliberate, concerted effort to use public school curriculum to influence and indoctrinate children into embracing homosexual behavior as a viable "lifestyle" option. In fact, nine states now require that any sex-education curricula provide a discussion of sexual orientation that is "inclusive." Students who voice opposition to this view are ridiculed or punished, discouraging them from expressing their sincerely held moral or religious beliefs.

More recently, advocates of homosexual behavior have used legitimate incidences of bullying in public schools as a tool to advance their political agenda through in-class education on homosexuality. Closer scrutiny of statistics reveals that while school bullying is a public concern, it results from risk factors that apply equally to all students, not just to students who identify themselves as homosexual . . .

When homosexuality is presented to prepubescent children, they are told in class that if you like the same sex more than the opposite sex, you are homosexual. For young children who quite naturally prefer playing with members of their own sex, such a statement can be misleading and lead to tragic consequences for children who do not yet have a genuine understanding of sexuality.

Even in school districts where discussions of homosexuality have not infiltrated the curriculum, advocates of homosexual behavior have sought more and more ways to desensitize children to homosexuality and undermine beliefs about sexual norms that parents may be teaching at home. Three key ways include student organizations, anti-bullying programs, and teacher training.
Consider that this organization claims 123 of the bills it supported have been signed into law since 1995.

You can see where it might be considered hypocritical to paint Russia's as the bogeyman here.

"Putin's inability to justify this law puts a spotlight on the inability of Utah, Texas, Arizona and other states to justify their gay-stigmatizing statutes," Ayres and Eskridge write. "They should be repealed or challenged in court. Just as judges led the way against compulsory sterilization and racial-segregation laws, so they should subject anti-gay laws to critical scrutiny.

Click here to read their entire editorial.

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.

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WhoKnows topcommenter

Seems there is now a law in Wisconsin, that if a couple goes to another state for a same sex marriage, when they return to Wisconsin, they can actually be arrested for breaking Wisconsin law....


I was a high school social studies teacher for 33 years until I retired in 2009, and what the Center for Arizona Policy says about teaching about homosexuality in public schools is a lie.  Not one time in any class that I taught was "safe" and "unsafe" homosexual sex discussed, nor was it taught in any of my colleagues' classes.  It's obvious to me that the folks at this "think tank" have spent little/no time in public schools.  Teachers these days are so concerned with teaching the subject matter and preparing students for passing state-mandate tests that it's very difficult to delegate precious class time to an attempt to "indoctrinate" any student.with a "homosexual agenda." 

Furthermore, if millions of public school teachers were diverting class time to discuss "safe" and "unsafe" types of homosexual sex, surely the wider public would have heard about it by now, but it hasn't because it's not happening. All it would take would be one student telling mom and/or dad that class time was being spent discussing this subject, and the jig would be up and the teacher would find him/herself unemployed.  Sometimes I wish those who make these kinds of general statements would know what they were talking about before they make them.

Keith Showalter
Keith Showalter

if you had a brain in your head you wouldnt have to worry about it either, because it shouldnt matter. unless you're a sheep and easily influenced by what others tell you to think/feel/do (hint hint) Gay, straight, transgender, who cares? Why are people so concerned about how other people are living? Pretty sad waste of your own life if you ask me.

Rico Stackz
Rico Stackz

If we got rid of public schools we wouldn't have to worry about this. We would also have a heck of a lot of money to throw at things that produce results.

valleynative topcommenter

While I agree that Arizona's law is misguided, it's completely dishonest to compare it to Russia's law.   Our law only applies to what may be taught in K-12 schools.

valleynative topcommenter


Interesting.  I see that the ACLU is already challenging that ridiculous law.

valleynative topcommenter


In the interest of accuracy, I have to point out that they don't actually say that such things have ever been taught in any school in Arizona, simply that they won't allow them to be taught.


Just how much money do you think AZ schools get?

eric.nelson745 topcommenter

@valleynative The Arizona laws, considering who proposed and sponsored them, have exactly the same intent as Putin's.

valleynative topcommenter

@eric.nelson745 @valleynative 

The intent is the same, but they don't violate the first amendment as his would (if they had such a thing), since they only restrict what the government may say.

eric.nelson745 topcommenter

@valleynative @eric.nelson745  Actually, it's the other way around. ONLY THE GOVERNMENT, and by that I mean the U.S. Government and all of its political subdivisions down to the local water board, can abridge your freedom of speech. If I'm the GM of a radio station and I tell one of my disc jockeys not to use certain words on the air, and then one of them goes and does it, then I am completely within my rights to fire him. As to public accommodations of any kind, meaning any business that serves the general public, it may not "reserve the right to refuse service to anyone." "No shirt, no shoes, no socks, no service" is perfectly OK. A business is within its rights to enforce a dress code. But it cannot refuse service for any arbitrary reason, i.e. the customer is black, Japanese, Mexican, female or gay. If a businessman is bold enough to challenge that, he is in for a very rude awakening.

valleynative topcommenter

@WhoKnows @eric.nelson745@valleynative

Actually that's not true.  They are extremely Christian.

"Christian" doesn't mean nice and loving and kind.  It means that you've accepted Jesus and the Bible over common sense and humanity.

Many people who consider themselves to be "Christians" are actually far too compassionate to be true believers.

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