Referendum to Overturn Cali. Gay Education Law?
A religious conservative group in California has filed for a voter referendum on California’s new LGBT-inclusive education law, starting the process towards trying to repeal what is a historic piece of legislation.
Last week, Governor Jerry Brown signed the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act that is designed to address the current exclusion of LGBT history and social contributions in California’s textbooks. The FAIR Education Act amends California’s Education Code to include instruction on the contributions of LGBTs and 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 anti-LGBT bullying as children learn that LGBTs are very much part of society and have been throughout history.
However, religious conservatives have vehemently opposed the legislation and now want to overturn it in the same way they enacted California’s gay marriage ban Proposition 8 — by a popular vote.
A socially conservative organization based in Sacramento filed documents Friday afternoon to start a voter referendum on a controversial law that adds the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans to school instruction.
The proponent of the proposed referendum, Paulo Sibaja, filed a request for a title and summary with the attorney general’s office. Sibaja said he acted on behalf of the Capitol Resource Institute, which had officially opposed the bill throughout the legislative process before Gov. Jerry Brown signed it Thursday. Sibaja is the legislative director of that organization.
The Capitol Resource Institute is a hard-line, socially conservative organization that has long opposed efforts in California to expand rights for the LGBT population. Backers eventually would have to collect 433,971 signatures to allow voters to decide whether to keep the law in place or reject it.
The rhetoric surrounding this bill has been high, with one group even saying that it amounts to the “molesting” of young minds, that the legislation is “anti-family” and amounts to indoctrination as part of the gay agenda.
This is interesting on several levels, but chiefly that anti-gay groups do not seem to have learned from the Proposition 8 court case which is currently on appeal but does, I think, have a little to say on this matter.
Judge Walker ruled very clearly last year that Proposition 8 was motivated by animus, that is to say anti-gay feeling. In the case of Proposition 8 the rhetoric was, for the most part, more clever and more subtle with a “traditional marriage” line being used to mask proponents’ anti-gay hostility.
With this in mind though, anti-gay groups’ naked and rather disgusting rhetoric surrounding The FAIR Education Act would seem unwise at best and certainly self-defeating — yet such rhetoric must be highlighted so as to ensure that this overtly anti-LGBT attack cannot be spun into sounding remotely reasonable.
Senator Mark Leno, who authored the legislation, has said he believes it will be a “challenge” for proponents of the referendum to get the number of signatures necessary to place the measure on the 2012 ballot. He said that even if they were to succeed, he would expect the majority of fair-minded Californians to reject the bid.