Campaign to Overturn California’s LGBT Education Law Fails
Anti-gay forces in California have failed for a second time in their attempts to have California’s LGBT school civics lessons overturned.
Pacific Justice Institute lawyer Kevin Snider said the Stop SB48 campaign did not gather enough signatures by Monday’s deadline to put an initiative on the 2014 ballot that would exclude sexual minorities from the list of groups whose roles in history and social science schools must teach.
Snider estimates that the all-volunteer petition circulating effort, which focused largely on churches, collected about 446,000 signatures out of the 504,760 required.
The law, known as SB48 or the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act, was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in July of 2011.
The FAIR act does not only mandate the accurate teaching of LGBT history however. The legislation amended California’s Education Code to include instruction on the contributions of LGBTs, disability rights advocates, racial justice organizations and many other groups who were important in the shaping of history yet had been left out of the previous curriculum.
The legislation also prohibits discriminatory instruction or discriminatory materials from being used by the State Board of Education. It is hoped that this legislation may also help to passively combat bullying as children learn that LGBTs and other minority groups are very much part of society and have been throughout history.
A previous effort by anti-LGBT groups attempted to repeal the law in its entirety, but that found little support because it would have also deleted the improved teaching of racial justice history and disability rights advocacy. The anti-gay groups then changed their tactic with this latest effort, hoping instead to delete only the LGBT portion of the law.
However, the battle may not be over. The Pacific Justice Institute, backers of the Stop SB48 drive, notes on its website:
Snider hinted at future efforts by the coalition aimed at mitigating the negative effects of SB48 but did not give details.
Brad Dacus, President and Founder of the Pacific Justice Institute said, “This campaign was a struggle to protect the children of our State. While the failure to gather the necessary signatures may be a disappointment, giving up on the most vulnerable members of our society would be unforgivable.”
The groups did not pay signature gatherers this time and relied solely on volunteers to try and amass the 50,000 signatures needed to put the measure on the 2014 ballot. The above may hint that they intend a larger campaign next time around, or that they will attempt to sneak in language to another measure that might curtail the LGBT-inclusive portion of the FAIR act.
Still, for the meantime at least, this seems a small victory for California voters who, yet again given the chance to single out their LGBT brothers and sisters, decided that they would not give in to discrimination.