Arizona governor signs repeal of HIV/AIDS instruction law

PHOENIX (AP/FOX 10) - Republican Gov. Doug Ducey has signed a bill repealing a 1991 Arizona law barring HIV and AIDS instruction that "promotes a homosexual lifestyle" that will end a lawsuit filed by LGBT groups.

The signing Thursday came less than an hour after the Senate approved the repeal on a 19-10 vote. The House amended another bill to add the repeal on Wednesday, a day after Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich declined to join in defending the suit filed last month against the state's Board of Education and schools chief.

"It definitely made it a difficult decision for myself and my colleagues to decide that we should go ahead and spend the taxpayer's money to defend something that will, in all likelihood, lose at the court level," said State Rep. TJ Shope.

"Today, we send a signal to Arizona's LGBTQ students, educators and families that says no matter who you are or who you love, you are welcome and we are proud to have you in our schools," said Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction, Kathy Hoffman.

Hoffman was joined by lawmakers and LGBT groups making the statement.

"It was wrong the first time I introduced this bill four years ago, and then the year after that and the year after that and the year after that," said State Rep. Martin Quezada. "It was wrong at the beginning of this session when I asked for this bill to be heard in the Education Committee and it was blocked, it has been wrong every single day."

The 1991 law also prohibited HIV and AIDS instruction that "portrays homosexuality as a positive alternative lifestyle" or "suggests that some methods of sex are safe methods of homosexual sex."

The lawsuit says the law stigmatizes LGBT students. Educators say repercussions of the "No Promo Homo" law have been felt beyond the curriculum.

"The 'No Promo' law created a myth and a fear that evening mentioning LGBTQ relationships could result in punishment or firing," said Hoffman.

The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report.