SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Governor Gary Herbert has signed a bill repealing a law forbidding discussion of anything construed as “promotion” of homosexuality in schools.
The governor quietly signed Senate Bill 196 on Monday. It repeals a law gay rights groups have dubbed “No Promo Homo.” It may also get the state out of a lawsuit.
“This is a great day for LGBTQ students in Utah. We applaud Governor Herbert for his signature,” said Equality Utah director Troy Williams in a text message. “Equality Utah will be working with both the Attorney General’s office and the State Board of Education to insure that the intent of SB 196 is implemented in every school district across the state. At that point we do hope for a happy resolution to our case.”
Equality Utah and the National Center for Lesbian Rights sued Utah last year over the law, which they argued discriminated against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students. They represented three students in Utah school districts who claimed to have suffered discrimination, bullying or harassment as a result of the policy. They claimed the policy went so far as to forbid discussion of even same-sex marriage, which had been made legal in the state.
The LGBT rights groups and the Utah Attorney General’s Office agreed to halt the lawsuit to buy the Utah State Legislature time to pass the bill. It passed the legislature overwhelmingly, with even social conservative groups joining Equality Utah in supporting its passage.
SB196, sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Stuart Adams, R-Layton, repeals the law but ensures that school curriculum does not advocate premarital or extramarital sexual activity.