The Legislature is poised to render a lawsuit challenging the state’s “no promo homo” law moot today.
Rep. T.J. Shope, R-Coolidge, will offer an amendment to a bill on the House floor to fully repeal the provision in law that Equality Arizona and others have challenged in federal court.
The amendment would strike the portion of the state’s law on AIDS instruction that prohibits the promotion of a homosexual lifestyle and safe homosexual sex.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman had already made it clear that she opposed the law and Attorney General Mark Brnovich said Tuesday he would not defend it.
Shope credited Hoffman’s State of Education address at the start of the legislative session for bringing the issue to his attention.
The suit names only Hoffman in her official capacity and the state Board of Education, not the state itself, leaving Brnovich and the Legislature free to decide whether to intervene.
House Speaker Rusty Bowers and Senate President Karen Fann could have decided to get the Legislature involved in the case. Fann told the Arizona Capitol Times that House leadership had told her of their intent to introduce the legislation.
Had she and Bowers opted to go to court, Shope said the cost to defend the “antiquated” law would have come out of the Legislature’s budget.
His amendment now offers “something for everybody.”
“The antiquated nature of it and then you pile on the cost and the AG’s office response, that just makes it a no-brainer,” he said.
Richie Taylor, Hoffman’s communications director, said Brnovich’s decision “broke the dam,” leading the Legislature to move in the right direction.
“If this passes and we’re all done, we’re in celebration mode,” Taylor said.
Shope said he expects the vote today to be unanimous, but there’s no guarantee all 60 members of the House will be satisfied.
The amendment will be offered to Senate Bill 1346, which is also expected to be amended to allow the state Board of Education to bring the state back into compliance with federal law regarding the implementation of the “menu of assessments.”
Lawmakers may have conflicting opinions on the two subjects, leaving them to try to differentiate their stances while voting on one bill.
Dillon Rosenblatt contributed to this report.