PHOENIX - A bill proposed to the Arizona State Legislature seeks to ban ‘sexually explicit materials’ from school classrooms, but LGBTQ advocates believe the bill is taking it a step further by targeting their community.
The bill defines ‘sexually explicit materials’ as "Textual, visual or audio materials or materials accessed via any other medium" that depict any of the following matters:
- Sexual Conduct
- Sexual Excitement
- Ultimate Sexual Acts
The bill contains explicit definition for each of the above matters.
Queen Creek GOP lawmaker speaks out during committee meeting
During a state House Education Committee meeting, State Rep. Jake Hoffman presented materials he found in schools as a reason the committee should pass the bill.
"This one is a teenager masturbating. Here’s another teenager masturbating. Here’s two teenagers engaged in sex," said State Rep. Hoffman, presenting examples to the members of the committees.
State Rep. Hoffman admitted that they weren’t in all schools, but it was reason enough to try to keep pornography out.
"There is nothing more sacred than the innocence of a child," said State Rep. Hoffman.
State Rep. Hoffman represents the state's 12th Legislative District, which covers a portion of the southeast Valley and a small portion of Pinal County.
Bill draws controversy from progressive groups
The bill would ban the depiction of some things that are taught in health classes. Meanwhile, the bill's definition of 'sexual conduct' has drawn controversy, as it defines acts of homosexuality as sexual conduct.
LGBTQ advocates say it takes the state backwards to an era where homosexuality wasn't allowed to be talked about in schools.
"It's not a coincidence that this bill specifically mentions homosexuality," said Jenny Guzman with Progress Arizona. "We don’t police any other type of sexuality as much as we police homosexuality. I think there’s a lot of homophobia rooted in this as well."
Democratic State Rep. Daniel Hernandez said the bill would revert Arizona to a time period under a law known as ‘no promo homo,' where schools were prohibited from promoting a 'homosexual lifestyle.'
"What this bill does is once and again try and erase the LGBTQ community from Arizona public schools, under the guise of protecting children," said State Rep. Hernandez, during the meeting.
State Rep. Hernandez, who is openly gay, represents the state's 2nd Legislative District, which covers a portion of Tucson and all of Santa Cruz County.
"It’s not the mere of status of being a homosexual, it is the act of homosexuality, so the act of sexual intercourse between two people of the same gender. That is a completely different thing than you represented it to be," State Rep. Hoffman replied.
The state's ‘no promo homo’ law was repealed in 2019, after Governor Doug Ducey signed Senate Bill 1346 into law.
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