In a piece that Russian lawmakers might very well call “gay propaganda,” The Mirrorbrings you nine U.S. states that have similar anti-gay laws — or what Russian lawmakers would approvingly nod their heads at.

These laws, coined “No Promo Homo” laws according to the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), forbid teachers from discussing gay and transgender issues (including sexual health and HIV/AIDS awareness) in a positive light — if at all. Both ThinkProgress and the Washington Post listed some of these laws.

Basically, the laws’ overall theme is to ensure that homosexuality is sold under very ominous definitions to students. From prohibiting portraying “homosexuality as a positive alternative lifestyle” (Ariz.’s law) to teaching “that a mutually faithful, monogamous relationship in the context of marriage is the only appropriate setting for sexual intercourse” (a Miss. law), these laws are just fun to read and sad to contemplate.

Let’s get to it:


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(c) Course materials and instruction that relate to sexual education or sexually transmitted diseases should include all of the following elements: [...]

(8) An emphasis, in a factual manner and from a public health perspective, that homosexuality is not a lifestyle acceptable to the general public and that homosexual conduct is a criminal offense under the laws of the state.


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C. No district shall include in its course of study instruction which:

1. Promotes a homosexual lifestyle.

2. Portrays homosexuality as a positive alternative lifestyle.

3. Suggests that some methods of sex are safe methods of homosexual sex.


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According to Think Progress, the state has a rule “censoring homosexuality in sex education, but it only applies to ‘any sexually explicit materials depicting male or female homosexual activity.” Given the law’s emphasis on abstinence from sexual activity outside of marriage and the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, non-pictorial discussions of homosexuality could probably be considered violations as well.


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(1) Abstinence education shall be the state standard for any sex-related education taught in the public schools. For purposes of this section, abstinence education includes any type of instruction or program which, at an appropriate age: [...]

(e) Teaches the current state law related to sexual conduct, including forcible rape, statutory rape, paternity establishment, child support and homosexual activity; and

(f) Teaches that a mutually faithful, monogamous relationship in the context of marriage is the only appropriate setting for sexual intercourse.

North Carolina

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e. Teaches that a mutually faithful monogamous heterosexual relationship in the context of marriage is the best lifelong means of avoiding sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS.


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D. AIDS prevention education shall specifically teach students that:

1. engaging in homosexual activity, promiscuous sexual activity, intravenous drug use or contact with contaminated blood products is now known to be primarily responsible for contact with the AIDS virus;

2. avoiding the activities specified in paragraph 1 of this subsection is the only method of preventing the spread of the virus;

South Carolina

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(5) The program of instruction provided for in this section 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.


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(b) The materials in the education programs intended for persons younger than 18 years of age must:

(1) emphasize sexual abstinence before marriage and fidelity in marriage as the expected standard in terms of public health and the most effective ways to prevent HIV infection, sexually transmitted diseases, and unwanted pregnancies; and

(2) state that homosexual conduct is not an acceptable lifestyle and is a criminal offense under Section 21.06, Penal Code.


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According to Think Progress, Utah law prohibits “the advocacy of homosexuality.” In 2012, the Utah legislature passed a bill that would have banned “instruction in, or the advocacy of,” homosexuality and also would have made sex education “opt in” instead of “opt out,” but that bill was vetoed by Gov. Gary Herbert (R).

There’s More than Just ‘No Promo’ Laws

According to GLSEN, “One of the most effective steps that schools, school districts and states can take to improve school climate and make schools safer is to enact safe schools laws and policies.” These are two distinct types of laws that protect LGBT students in schools.

The first type of safe schools law is fully enumerated anti-bullying laws. These are laws that specifically prohibit bullying and harassment of students based on sexual orientation and gender identity. These laws most often use both terms: "bullying" and "harassment" but in some cases may use only one.

The second type are non-discrimination laws which many states have passed to provide protection from discrimination of LGBT students in schools. There are some non-discrimination laws that protect from discrimination based on sexual orientation but not gender identity.

The following maps investigate what states do to this end.