LGBT group Equality Arizona on Thursday sued the Arizona government, alleging that the state’s HIV/AIDS instruction statute, ARS § 15-716(C), unconstitutionally discriminates against LGBTQ students and restricts their educational opportunities, violating the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The challenged statute prohibits HIV and AIDS instruction that “promotes a homosexual lifestyle.” Plaintiffs allege that the negative impact is significant because it communicates to teachers and students that “there is something so undesirable, shameful, or controversial about ‘homosexuality’ that any positive portrayal of non-heterosexual people or relationships must be barred.”
Plaintiffs allege that besides putting LGBTQ students at higher risk of HIV infection, the laws prohibiting the expression of positive views about “homosexuality” in public schools have harmed LGBTQ students by “fostering school climates that stigmatize and isolate LGBTQ youth, putting them at heightened risk of bullying and harassment.”
Plaintiffs asked the court to declare that ARS § 15-716(C) violates the Equal Protection Clause and to permanently enjoin the enforcement of the statute.
Opinions expressed in JURIST Commentary are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of JURIST's editors, staff, donors or the University of Pittsburgh.