SC Equality, with support of their Litigation Task Force, is poised to challenge South Carolina’s “No Promo Homo” law

Jeff Ayers, Executive Director of SC Equality, recently reached out to PFLAG Spartanburg to ask for our help. SC Equality has an opportunity to challenge one of our state’s damaging anti-LGBTQ laws. The organization is seeking plaintiffs to join them in their challenge. These so called “No Promo Homo” laws alienate and shame LGBTQ youth and put all students at risk with inaccurate health education information.

What are “No Promo Homo” laws?

These laws prohibit the “promotion of homosexuality” by forbidding educators from discussing LGBTQ+ people or topics in reference to health or sexuality. Some of these laws even require that educators provide inaccurate information, further stigmatizing LGBTQ children.

“No Promo Homo” laws are often vague and can be misused by schools to limit curriculum, events and programs. Extracurricular groups in support of LGBTQ students like Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) are also at risk.

For example, in South Carolina, sex education “may not include a discussion of alternate sexual lifestyles from heterosexual relationships including, but not limited to, homosexual relationships except in the context of instruction concerning sexually transmitted diseases.” S.C. Stat. § 59-32-30(5).

Are “No Promo Homo” laws harmful to students?

It’s pretty obvious, to me, that these laws are dangerous and harmful to all students. Imagine being erased, demonized or even blatantly lied about in a room full of your peers. Not to mention the dangers of providing false information regarding STDs and safe sex to students.

The current state of “No Promo Homo” laws across the country.

A number of states have successfully repealed these laws. North Carolina (ironically) repealed their existing “No Promo Homo” provisions as part of the revision to their larger sexual education laws.

If you would like more information on the status of these laws across the United States and how they affect students you can find that and the GLSEN Research Brief here.

Challenging South Carolina’s “No Promo Homo” laws.

SC Equality is seeking plaintiffs to participate in this challenge of South Carolina’s “No Promo Homo” law.

In his letter, Mr. Ayers wrote, “I am writing to let you know that the SC Equality Board, with the support of its Litigation Task Force, has authorized SC Equality to bring a legal challenge to South Carolina’s “No Promo Homo” law which prohibits public school health teachers from discussing homosexuality or homosexual persons in South Carolina classrooms. This law forces teachers to provide inaccurate and incomplete information to students and serves to further stigmatize LGBTQ students and children with LGBTQ parents.”

“I am reaching out to you because some of you may know students, their parents and or teachers who may be interested in participating in this legal challenge as a plaintiff. Also, some public school health educators may also be interested in participating in a challenge.”

If you would like more information or wish to discuss this issue confidentially with Mr. Ayers you can email him at JeffAyers[at]scequality[dot]org.