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California Governor Signs Bill Requiring Schools to Teach Gay History

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California governor signs bill requiring schools to teach gay history

By the CNN Wire Staff

July 15, 2011

Los Angeles (CNN) -- Democratic California Gov. Jerry Brown said Thursday he had signed a bill that will require public schools in the state to teach students about the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.

The bill, believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, will also require teachers to provide instruction on the role of people with disabilities.

"History should be honest," Brown said in a statement.

"This bill revises existing laws that prohibit discrimination in education and ensures that the important contributions of Americans from all backgrounds and walks of life are included in our history books. It represents an important step forward for our state, and I thank Senator Leno for his hard work on this historic legislation."

The governor was referring to the bill's author, Sen. Mark Leno, a San Francisco Democrat.

California law already requires state schools to teach about the contributions of Native Americans, African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, and Asian-Americans, among other groups.

"Today we are making history in California by ensuring that our textbooks and instructional materials no longer exclude the contributions of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Americans," Sen. Leno said in a statement.

Separately, he said the bill is thought to be the first of its kind in the nation. It will take effect in January, however, state textbooks are not likely to be updated until 2015, he said.

Leno's office cited research that shows students who learn about LGBT people are more likely to report their schools are inclusive and fair.

The bill, which passed the state legislature this month and the senate in April, according to the senator's office, is not without controversy.

It has drawn criticism from some religious and conservative groups, like the Traditional Values Coalition, a lobby organization that says it speaks on behalf of more than 43,000 churches.

"It is an outrage that Governor Jerry Brown has opened the classroom door for homosexual activists to indoctrinate the minds of California's youth, since no factual materials would be allowed to be presented," Rev. Louis Sheldon, chairman and founder of the Traditional Values Coalition, said in a statement.

"If parents don't already have their children out of public schools, this should cause them to remove them," he said.


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Chip by chip, the walls are coming down. I don't doubt that this is driving the religious right completely berserk.

Me personally, I think gay history should only be a small part of all of humanity. As I see it, we're all part of the same melting pot, the vast tapestry of different kinds of people. I don't see why gay history should be any more or less important than black history, American history, Asian history, Jewish history, or anything else.

Some of these arch-conservatist activists act like teachers are going to start showing hardcore Falcon videos in 3rd grade classrooms. To me, it's more a question of including gay people as part of life, and acknowledging that there's many different kinds of families in the world -- not necessarily passing judgement, just saying we exist.

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The legislation is about the inclusion of gay and lesbian leaders as part of our state's history. When civil rights are discussed, Harvey Milk will be included (as will other leaders). To conservative chrisitans, this is worse than showing 3rd graders hard core porn. Why? It's a simple explanation: This sends the messge that it IS okay to be gay.

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You know Pec and I have fought together and disagreed together, but what he has posted are words that right now so very ring true with me. We are not the only discriminated group in this or any other country. We are one of many and the focus should exactly be what he expressed in his second paragraph...nondiscrimination but inclusion.


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There's an attempt to get enough signatures (just over 500,000) and put a referendum on the ballot. Getting the signatures won't be a big deal. The opponents of gay rights will go through the churches. Here's some information from the California Secretary of State's website about the the referendum process:

Article II, Section 9, of the California Constitution provides for the referendum process in California. Electors have the power to approve or reject statutes or parts of statutes, with the exception of urgency statutes, statutes calling elections, and statutes providing for tax levies or appropriations for usual, current state expenses.

Referenda can qualify for the statewide ballot up to 31 days before an election (unlike initiatives which must qualify 131 days before).

A proponent has only 90 days from the date of the enactment of a bill (or in the case of a redistricting map, the date a final map is certified to the Secretary of State) to request and receive a title and summary from the Attorney General (Elections Code ? 9006(a) allows 10 days for the preparation of the title and summary), print petitions, gather the required number of valid signatures, and file the petitions with the county elections officials.

The petitions must be signed by registered voters in an amount equal to 5% of the votes cast for all candidates for Governor at the last gubernatorial election. The total number of signatures required is 504,760.

Once petitions are filed, county elections officials have 8 working days to determine a raw count of the signatures submitted and report their findings to the Secretary of State.

Once the statewide total reaches at least 100% of the required amount of signatures (504,760), the Secretary of State directs the counties to begin a random sample verification of signatures. Counties have 30 working days to complete a random sample of 3% or 500 signatures, whichever is greater, and report their results to the Secretary of State.

The petitions must be signed by registered voters in an amount equal to 5% of the votes cast for all candidates for Governor at the last gubernatorial election. The total number of signatures required is 504,760.

The next election will be held on November 8, 2011. The petitions have to be filed by approximately September 15, 2011 (38 working days prior to the election) so the qualifying process can begin. That's only two months from now, so it is possible that they can have this referendum qualified for the ballot by the cutoff date of October 8, 2011. That would not be good news.

Colin :lol:

(A California resident)

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