Arizona's Anti-Gay Law Similar to Russian Law, Yale Professors Say
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.
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.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.