One day after a bill similar to Florida's so-called "Don't Say Gay" law was released, lawmakers have removed language prohibiting discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity after meeting with an LGBTQ advocacy group.
Equality Utah praised bill sponsor Rep. Jeffrey Stenquist, R-Draper, for "engaging us in meaningful conversation today. With the new amendment, HB550 is no longer a 'Don't Say Gay' bill," the group tweeted.
After speaking against the bill on Thursday, Equality Utah said it met with Stenquist Friday and had a "very encouraging conversation."
"We are grateful that he has agreed to amend this bill and strike the prohibition of 'sexual orientation' and 'gender identity' from the legislation," Equality Utah stated. "This is the Utah Way in action. We have difficult conversations and engage each other's concerns to craft better public policy. We are grateful to Rep. Stenquist for thoughtfully amending his bill to ensure that all students are treated equally. With the proposed amendment, HB550 can no longer be considered a 'Don't Say Gay' bill."
As originally conceived, HB550 would have required school districts to "ensure that classroom instruction or classroom discussion that an educator or other adult leads on sexuality, including sexual orientation or gender identity ... does not occur in kindergarten through grade 3; or in a manner that is not age or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards."
The amendment strikes sexual orientation and gender identity from the bill, limiting only discussions on sexuality.
HB550 was amended by the House Rules Committee and will be heard in the House Transportation Committee on Monday at 8:10 a.m.