Classrooms in California are now required by law to include lessons about the historical contributions of a number of minorities, including gays and lesbians. Sounds innocent enough, no? Well, according to a conservative group that is pushing to repeal the law, it both “promotes the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender lifestyles” and “forces children to study materials that tell them their families’ values are wrong.”
A conservative group called Stop SB 48 filed paperwork with the state’s Attorney General on Monday to repeal the law, recently signed by Gov. Jerry Brown (D).
The group has until mid-October to collect the 504,760 signatures that would force a ballot referendum.
The law broadly requires teachers to include instruction and textbooks with information on the contributions of a number of minority groups, and prohibits the lessons from containing material that negatively reflects on any one group.
The law specifically lists “Native Americans, African Americans, Mexican Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, European Americans, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans, persons with disabilities, and other ethnic and cultural groups,” but of course it’s been the “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans” part that has been a sticking point with a number of right-wing groups.
Stop SB 48 says on its website that the law “forces schools to use a social science curriculum that promotes the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender lifestyles that undermine traditional family relationships,” and “does not allow parents to protect their kids by opting out of classes that promote homosexuality.” It also says that the part of the law that prevents the inclusion of material that reflects negatively on one particular group is really “a selective treatment of history.”
Randy Thomasson of the group Save California also opposes the law. “Social engineering of homosexual, bisexual and transsexual lifestyles is being done behind parents’ backs. Most parents say no to this,” he told ABC’s News 10. In April, Thomasson speculated to TPM that the law would result in textbooks that would teach about Elton John and his husband, or might ask: “Did you know President Abraham Lincoln was gay? How do we know that? He slept in a bed with a man when he was younger.” Thomasson said: “Abraham Lincoln was not homosexual. He was a Christian man who loved his family.”
Bryan Fischer, the anti-gay, anti-bear “Director Of Issues Analysis” for the American Family Association also thinks the law goes too far. “Ladies and gentleman, by definition, somebody who engages in sexually aberrant behavior is not and cannot be a role model, period, end of story,” he said on his radio show Monday.
“Today we are making history in California by ensuring that our textbooks and instructional materials no longer exclude the contributions of LGBT Americans,” said State Senator Mark Leno, who proposed the law, when it was signed. “Denying LGBT people their rightful place in history gives our young people an inaccurate and incomplete view of the world around them.”