Repeal of California’s FAIR Education Act Advances
Groups wanting to repeal California’s FAIR Education Act, which mandates that schools teach fairly and accurately the history of a number of groups including LGBT rights figures, were given the go ahead last week by the California Secretary of State to begin the signature gathering process to put a repeal proposal before voters during the November 14 ballot.
The proposal, submitted by Lou Sheldon of the anti-gay Traditional Values Coalition, repeals SB 48′s requirement that instructional materials recognize those contributions.
Sheldon also wants to undo the law’s provision that prohibits instructional materials that reflect adversely on people based on their sexual orientation and other characteristics.
Backers of Sheldon’s initiative have until June 25 to collect the 504,760 valid signatures needed to get the proposal on the state ballot.
There has already been talk of potential legal action should a measure to repeal the LGBT aspect of the law be approved at the ballot. Citing the attempt to carve out only the LGBT portion of the Act as clearly demonstrating animus toward the LGBT community, LGBT rights groups feel that, under court challenge, it could be overturned.
Still, LGBT rights groups are hopeful that the proposal will not even qualify for the ballot given that a previous attempt made by a group called Stop SB48, who wanted the law blocked from coming into effect, floundered.
Governor Jerry Brown signed SB48, the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act in July of last year.
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 throughout history.