Eight states limit speech about homosexuality in ways similar to, though not as far-reaching as, the Russian ban that has received international criticism ahead of the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
The states have so-called “no promo homo” bans—prohibitions on classroom instruction that promotes homosexuality. In a Washington Post opinion piece last week, a pair of Yale University law professors reviewed some of those laws:
It is Utah that prohibits “the advocacy of homosexuality.” Arizona prohibits portrayals of homosexuality as a “positive alternative life-style” and has legislatively determined that it is inappropriate to even suggest to children that there are “safe methods of homosexual sex.” Alabama and Texas mandate that sex-education classes emphasize that homosexuality is “not a lifestyle acceptable to the general public.” Moreover, the Alabama and Texas statutes mandate that children be taught that “homosexual conduct is a criminal offense” even though criminalizing private, consensual homosexual conduct has been unconstitutional since 2003.
The professors, Ian Ayres and William Eskridge, point out that in 2002 the United States hosted the Winter Olympics in Utah, one of the eight states, and argue that those criticizing Russia should also focus on changing the similar domestic laws.
The eight states that have such prohibitions in place are Alabama, Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Utah, according to the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network.