Bill would require California schools to teach contributions of homosexuals
July 6, 2011
California’s students may soon be instructed on the contributions of homosexuals if Gov. Jerry Brown signs a bill that lawmakers delivered to him on Tuesday. [Associated Press]
The bill, SB48, adds lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people as well as people with disabilities to the list of groups that schools must include in the lessons. It also would prohibit material that reflects adversely on gays.
Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco the bill is crucial because of the bullying that happens to gay students. Republicans called it a well-intentioned but ill-conceived bill and raised concerns that it would indoctrinate children to accept homosexuality.
Assembly Speaker John Perez, that body’s first openly gay speaker, said: “This bill will require California schools to present a more accurate and nuanced view of American history in our social science curriculum by recognizing the accomplishments of groups that are not often recognized.”
Gov. Brown has not said whether he would sign it. Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a similar bill in 2006.
Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, a Republican from Twin Peaks, said he was offended as a Christian that the bill was being used to promote a “homosexual agenda” in public schools.
“I think it’s one thing to say that we should be tolerant,” Donnelly said. “It is something else altogether to say that my children are going to be taught that this lifestyle is good.”
The legislation leaves it up to local school boards to decide how to implement the required material. It does not specify the grade level in which instruction would begin.
The bill’s author, Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, said he hopes Brown will sign his bill. He dismissed arguments that the bill promotes certain sexual behaviors and said it removes censorship in textbooks.
“Bottom line, it’s only beneficial to share with students the broad diversity of the human experience and that our democracy protects everyone,” he said.