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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Column: It’s time for discriminatory laws in Arizona to go

We live in the 21st century and equal marriage is now legal. Some would assume these two statements indicate that homophobia is declining. That, however, cannot be stated with confidence when laws called “No Promo Homo” laws still exist in eight states.

Arizona, of course, is one of the eight. This legislation restricts educators from discussing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning issues with their students in a positive light. Some laws go so far as to ban the discussion all together.

These eight states—Arizona, Utah, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississipi, Alabama and South Carolina—are all notoriously red states. Yet allowing, and in some states’ cases, even encouraging, discrimination in our schools and communities is something that should render party lines obsolete.

According to Sexetc.org, Arizona’s sexual education laws are ambiguous even in terms of heterosexual relationships. No sexual education is mandatory and most people who grew up in the state’s education system would agree that the majority of educators succumb to a sort of “don’t ask, don’t tell” mentality.

One thing, however, is clearly defined for educators who choose to do their jobs and educate students: Homosexuality is not to be promoted or discussed in any sort of positive light. They are also not to suggest that homosexuality is a “positive alternative-lifestyle” or that sexual practices involving homosexuality can be safe.

Essentially, Arizona teachers are required to lie to children from a young age so that fear and homophobia are perpetuated by the younger generation. This cannot continue.

There are no significant public cases against these laws at the moment, but that might soon change. Though Arizona is proudly red and represents itself in such a way that makes itself more South than Southwest, it’s time to ignore party differences and do what is right for the students.

Discriminating against a group of people who have been granted recognition by the highest court in the country is an outgrowth of bigotry and antiquated ideals. The goals of our politicians and legislators should be to protect and promote the well-being of every citizen, not to enforce their own agendas. The legitimacy of gay marriage and homosexuality has long been debated and it is time for that debate to end.

Many would argue that the legalization of equal marriage ended this debate, but the war has not been won when these discriminatory laws are still accepted. Weeding through decades or even centuries of homophobia in the values of America must be done to ensure the recent progress we’ve made is not undone. Rewriting these education laws is the first step toward a more equal future.

Regardless of personal preference, equal marriage is legal in America. You may be elated, you may be disappointed or you may not even care. But everyone should know that laws promoting discrimination and bigotry have no place in our state. 


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