Lawmaker hopes bill gets Utah out of lawsuit over homosexuality in schools

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill introduced in the Utah State Legislature may help get the state out of a lawsuit over a law that forbids discussion of anything construed as “promotion” of homosexuality.

Senate Bill 196, sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Stuart Adams, R-Layton, “repeals language prohibiting the advocacy of homosexuality in health instruction.”

“It actually removes it so they can discuss abstinence and fidelity. That’s all we allowed anyway,” Sen. Adams told reporters on Tuesday.

Theoretically, that would include discussing same-sex marriage.

The LGBTQ rights groups Equality Utah and the National Center for Lesbian Rights are suing the state on behalf of three children over the law which gay rights activists have nicknamed “No Promo Homo.” They claim the law has furthered discrimination of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children in schools by forbidding discussion of anyone and anything that could be construed as “promotion” of homosexuality.

The Utah Attorney General’s Office has insisted the law itself is not “anti-gay.” The case is currently making its way through the federal courts. Equality Utah and the NCLR have asked a federal judge to issue an injunction forcing the state to stop enforcing the law.

“I prefer this over litigation any day. I think it’s something we should do and I would have preferred they (Equality Utah) come to us and talk to us before they file litigation,” Sen. Adams said of his bill.

Equality Utah Executive Director Troy Williams told FOX 13 his group was evaluating SB196’s language. He would not comment on whether or not it would end the lawsuit, if the bill were to pass the Utah State Legislature.