Utah Governor Gary Herbert [official website] on Monday signed [press release] amendments to SB 196 [text], repealing language that barred “advocacy of homosexuality” in Utah public schools. The bill was amended to bar advocacy of “any premarital or extramarital sexual activity,” and continues to bar public school teachers from encouraging students to use contraceptives. The bill’s signing was celebrated by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) advocacy groups in Utah, while Herbert’s signing was not accompanied by any kind of statement addressing the contents of the bill.
The rights of LGBTQ students has been a recent topic of controversy. Last week the Texas Senate approved [JURIST report] a bill that would override city ordinances allowing people in public schools, universities and government facilities to use their bathroom of choice, instead requiring people to use public bathrooms that correspond with the gender listed on their birth certificate. Two weeks ago the US Supreme Court recently declined [JURIST report] to rule on a transgender bathroom case following the Trump administration’s rescinding guidelines that public schools should allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice, sending the case back to The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The circuit court had ruled [JURIST report] to defer to the Obama administration’s decision that students could use their bathroom of choice.