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GOP governor vetoes sex education bill requiring parental consent to teach students on LGBTQ issues

Nicole Silverio, DCNF

Republican Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona vetoed a sex education bill intended to require parental consent for schools to teach LGBTQ issues Tuesday.

The bill, S.B. 1456, would have prohibited an Arizona school district from teaching about sexuality, gender identity, HIV and AIDs without parental consent and allow parents to opt children out of LGBTQ content if it contradicts their beliefs on sex, religion and morality. Ducey wrote a veto letter saying the wording of the bill could lead to serious consequences regarding child abuse prevention.

“The language of the bill is overly broad and vague and could lead to serious consequences, including the very real possibility that it could be misinterpreted by schools and result in standing in the way of important child abuse prevention education in the early grades for at risk and vulnerable children,” the letter said.

In the letter, Ducey announced the issuance of Executive Order 2021-11 to increase parental involvement in the state’s sex education curriculum.

“I’m issuing an Executive Order today that seeks to encompass the heart of the bill and strengthens parental choice and involvement,” Ducey announced. “In fact, this Executive Order goes further than Senate Bill 1456-requiring more transparency for all sex education curriculum, mandating that schools post the curriculum online and that parents have the ability to review the materials and can make an informed decision before opting their child into sex education courses.”

The executive order requires new sex education courses to be accessible to the pubic sixty days before approval, conduct at least two public hearings about the courses in a sixty day period allowing the public’s feedback, and post the approved curriculum online for parents to view.

Republican state Sen. Nancy Barto sponsored the bill alongside state Sens. Paul Boyer, Rick Gray and five other co-sponsors. Ducey said in his letter he appreciated Barto for bringing forth the issue of parental rights in their children’s education.

“I know her heart is in a good place, and I look forward to working with her on additional reforms,” Ducey wrote.

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