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Fresh Attack on CA FAIR Education Act Launched

Fresh Attack on CA FAIR Education Act Launched

 

Anti-gay groups have this week launched a fresh assault on California’s LGBT-inclusive FAIR Education Act. Rather than preventing the law from going into effect in January, as a previous campaign failed to do, this new drive seeks to remove all mention of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history from the lessons California public schools, per the Act, must cover.

The Committee to Repeal SB48, having filed papers (.pdf) with the California Attorney General’s office on November 14, is pushing for a statewide ballot initiative which explicitly seeks to remove from the Act all mention of “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender” history as well as the Act’s protections from biased instruction relating to “sexual orientation.” The filing says that legislators acted against parents’ wishes in passing this legislation and calls the law (presumably they mean just the parts relating to LGBTs) “indoctrination.”

From the Advocate:

The new effort hopes to strip LGBT people from the legislation, which was passed and signed into law earlier this year — it goes into effect January 1. Now right-wing groups hope to collect over 500,000 signatures to get the issue on the November 2012 ballot, where voters would be allowed to strip LGBT people from the law’s provisions.

LGBT rights groups have said they are once again ready to defend the law, with a statement on Equality California’s website reading:

This initiative attempt follows an unsuccessful effort earlier this year to place a referendum on the ballot to overturn the FAIR Education Act, which goes into effect January 1, 2012. The group has 150 days from the date the initiative petition is approved for circulation to collect more than 504,760 signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot.

However, the initiative measure must qualify at least 131 days before the November general election.

“In the past few months, organizations across the state have been working tirelessly in coalition to ensure California schools value and protect equality for all Americans, including students and the figures they read about in history books,” said James Gilliam, Deputy Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California. “This initiative seeks to distort the history taught in California schools and present students with a censored, inaccurate view of our nation, which our coalition will not let stand.””Regardless of these political maneuvers, we are already working with students, administrators, teachers, and parents to ensure that California schools are prepared to follow the FAIR Education Act on January 1st and present a full, fair and accurate picture of history,” said Laura Valdez, Interim Executive Director of Gay-Straight Alliance Network. “Without honest and inclusive classrooms, we cannot expect schools to provide the safe learning environment that all students deserve.”

[...]

“Here they go again. At a time when California is facing real economic and social challenges, opponents of equality are manufacturing ‘problems’ to advance their extremist agenda–and they’re using our schools as the battleground,” said Clarissa Filgioun, Equality California Board Chair. “The FAIR Education Act will simply ensure that California’s students learn an honest, accurate, and inclusive account of history, but opponents of equality have grossly distorted the intent and the effect of the FAIR Education act in their quest dismantle it. We know that when Californians learn the facts about the FAIR Education Act they see these efforts for what they are–the same tired attacks and lies these groups have used for years to turn back the clock on LGBT equality.”

Governor Jerry Brown signed SB48, the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act in July.

The legislation is designed to address gaps in California’s current school textbooks. The FAIR Education Act amends 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 have been left out of the 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 so throughout history.

A previous attempt made by a group called Stop SB48 sort to have the law blocked outright. This attempt floundered last month when anti-gay groups were unable to rustle up enough signatures to put the issue on the ballot. Part of the problem was thought to be that Stop SB48 had chosen too broad a fight by wanting to scrap the Act on grounds of LGBT inclusion when disability rights advocates and other minority groups had a stake in wanting the law to remain.

This new attempt by The Committee to Repeal SB48 sidesteps that issue though it would appear, based on the Committee’s accusations that the law indoctrinates, still relies on the same prejudices as before.

Related Reading:

California Passes Gay-Inclusive Education Bill

California Senate Passes LGBT-Inclusive Education Bill

Lawmaker Accused of trying to “Queer” California Schools with New Legislation

Read more: , , , , , , , ,

Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to jglsongs.

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36 comments

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10:17AM PDT on Mar 24, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

6:19PM PST on Dec 2, 2011

Where exactly is this Committee to Repeal SB48? There are no links online to this alleged committee. Even https://www.facebook.com/republicanroots?sk=wall Richard Rios, the author of that hate-filled manifesto, does not link to any committee.

9:44AM PST on Nov 21, 2011

With the exception of harming children, what consenting adults do behind closed doors is nobodies business. I don't care what your religion says either unless of course you know for a fact that you have kept and followed everyone of the commandments. Why is a sexual preference even an issue?


If anyone eats at McDonalds or other fast food joints then you are supporting the 1%.

4:12AM PST on Nov 21, 2011

Thanks for the article.

12:33AM PST on Nov 21, 2011

"Fanaticism and bigotry is forever busy and needs feeding, and soon your Honor, with banners flying and with drums beating, we'll be marching backward, backward through the glorious ages of that 16th century when bigots burned the man who dared bring enlightenment and intelligence to the human mind." -- "Inherit the Wind" (1950), Act II, Scene II.

6:18PM PST on Nov 20, 2011

How many great artists, writers and philosophers have been gay? Should we stop teaching about their accomplishments, or just not mention the queer bit? Should a revised version of history be taught to the children who will construct the future? Aren't these people already a product of that? Are all of my questions rhetorical?

6:08PM PST on Nov 20, 2011

Gosh, we wouldn't want kids to find out about Michelangelo or about Eugene of Savoy (Prinz Eugen von Savoyen,) without whom the Austrians would all be speaking Turkish.

5:43AM PST on Nov 20, 2011

No, we did not pick this fight, but I, for one, will not walk away from it -- nor be intimidated.

As a Lutheran pastor friend (of twenty-five years) said in a sermon once, "How can those you you who haven't the slightest idea of what goes on in the minds of your dogs and cats presume to know what God is thinking?" Indeed.

5:36AM PST on Nov 20, 2011

@sandra m. --

Were you addressing us posters on this page -- or those whom many of us have been addressing with our own comments? If it is the former, speaking only for myself, when I call out the bigots and ignoramuses who promote discrimination, hatred and violence against LGBT people, women who reserve their rights to make choices involving their own bodies (and various other groups), I refer to them as "Christians" -- in quotation marks -- because THEY self-identify as "Christians," when in fact there is NOTHING remotely Christ-like about any of them, that being the literal definition of the word.

Remember: we did not pick this fight; people [almost exclusively] who not only call themselves "Christians" -- but who use their "Christian" "values" to justify their actions -- did. Your dispute is with them, not us; for what they do in Jesus' name is nothing short of blasphemy.

There is a two-ton elephant in the living room of Christianity that no one wishes to acknowledge; it's been there a while: those people who follow the teachings and life-examples of The Christ, and those who are scripturalists; they are manifestly NOT the same thing -- and often mutually exclusive. The Catholic Church, conservative (Right-wing might be a better term) evangelical Protestant denominations, the Mormons (and some others) are in the latter category; you appear to fall in the former.

No, we did not pick this fight, but I, for one, will not walk away from it -- nor be intimidat

11:35PM PST on Nov 19, 2011

I'm afraid I will never understand the thinking behind raising ignorant and deliberately misinformed children. What do these folks hope to accomplish? It certainly isn't the improvement of their kids' lives.

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