California lawmakers have passed a bill that would require public schools to include lessons about the historical contributions of gays and lesbians in their curriculum.
SB48 would broadly require schools to provide general instruction and textbooks that include information on the contributions of “Native Americans, African Americans, Mexican Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, European Americans, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans, persons with disabilities, and other ethnic and cultural groups.” It would also prohibit lessons from containing any material that “reflects adversely upon persons because of their race, sex, color, creed, handicap, national origin, or ancestry.”
The Assembly passed the bill Tuesday on a 49-25 party line vote, after it had passed the state Senate a few weeks earlier. The bill will now go to Gov. Jerry Brown (D) for signing.
State Sen. Mark Leno (D), who wrote the bill, explained that “we are selectively censoring history when we exclude LGBT Americans, or any other group of people, from our textbooks and instructional materials.”
Assembly Speaker John Perez, who is the first openly gay speaker of California’s Assembly, said that the 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.”
But there are those who think the bill’s intent is much more nefarious.
Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R) said the bill will promote a “homosexual agenda” in schools, the AP reports.
“I think it’s one thing to say that we should be tolerant,” he said. “It is something else altogether to say that my children are going to be taught that this lifestyle is good.”
Randy Thomasson of Save California, a group that aims, among other things, “to challenge liberal forces wherever they attack moral virtue,” has said the bill will lead to “open season on indoctrination” for schoolkids. He speculated to TPM in April that textbooks would now teach about Elton John and his husband, or might ask: “Did you know President Abraham Lincoln was gay? How do we know that? He slept in a bed with a man when he was younger.” Thomasson said: “Abraham Lincoln was not homosexual. He was a Christian man who loved his family.”
He told World Net Daily after the bill passed: “May this brash attack upon children’s innocence finally motivate parents to remove their children from the government school system, and get them into the safe havens of church schooling and homeschooling.”