Alabama Inches Toward 21st Century Repealing ‘No Promo Homo’

The adage that “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” comes to mind when news broke that Alabama’s Republican legislature passed a repeal of the “no promo homo” law dating from 1992. The repeal/new bill was signed into law by Governor Kay Ivey on Tuesday, April 27th. 

The new law removes a section of the 1992 Sex Education Law that required sex education programs have “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 this state.”

The Alabama law will maintain the emphasis on abstinence in sex education. There will be a new requirement for parents to get notification when sexual education or human reproduction will be taught and to request materials.

These type of laws prohibiting the “promotion of homosexuality” (often referred to as as “no promo homo” laws), are local or state education laws that expressly forbid teachers of health/sexuality education from discussing LGBTQ+ people or topics in a positive light – if at all. Some laws even require that teachers actively portray homosexuals in a negative or inaccurate way. Not only do these laws prevent LGBTQ young people from learning critical information about their health, but they also serve to further stigmatize LGBTQ students by providing K-12 students false, misleading, or incomplete information about LGBTQ people.

With Alabama joining the ranks of most of the rest of the United States, there now remains a small handful of hold-outs with similar “no promo homo” laws on the books: Louisiana, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Texas
Source: Wikipedia

In Texas In November 2020, the Texas Board of Education had an opportunity to update these laws, but the Republican majority voted not to in a 9-6 vote. Despite this, they did vote in favor of updating the anti-bullying policy to include language about “sexual bullying”, although it was unclear if this included LGBT students or not, and when the Conservative board members were questioned what the term meant, they could not give a straight definition. 

The laws on the books in Oklahoma put homosexual acts in the category of anti-AIDS practices that teach an abstinence only approach to all sex outside of a monogamous marital environment. Likewise, both Mississippi and Louisiana have language that is freighted with abstinence-only ideology.

South Carolina recently agreed to a consent decree in March 2020 following a lawsuit that found South Carolina’s “no promo homo” law “cannot satisfy any level of judicial review under the Equal Protection Clause”.  


So cheers to Alabama for doing the right thing. 


Sources: Wikipedia, GLESN, AP/Herald Sun

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