Opponents of California's gay history
law have been cleared to begin collecting signatures for a ballot
referendum to overturn the law.
On Tuesday, California Secretary of
State Debra Bowen approved ballot language proposed by the
Sacramento-based group Capitol Resources Institute, the AP reported.
California Governor Jerry Brown signed
the measure which mandates the inclusion of the historical
contributions of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans in
the state's textbooks.
Starting as early as the 2013-2014
school year, the FAIR Education Act, sponsored by state
Senator Mark Leno, a Democrat, requires the California Board of
Education and local school districts to include the curriculum in
their lesson plans.
Opponents reacted swiftly, drafting
their referendum's language in less than 2 weeks.
They must now collect the signatures of
504,760 registered voters by October 12 to quality for the next
Supporters of the law say it will help
ease the bullying gay teens face in the classroom.
Opponents have labeled it an attack on
the family, and several have called on parents to remove their
children from the public school system.
“Social engineering of homosexual,
bisexual and transgender lifestyles is being done behind parents'
backs. Most parents say no to this,” Randy Thomasson of the
Christian conservative group Save California told Sacramento-based
ABC affiliate News 10.
The Rev. Louis Sheldon, chairman and
founder of the Traditional Values Coalition (TVC), said the measure
“molested” the minds of children.
“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. By signing SB 48 today,
California's classrooms, textbooks and instructional materials will
all become pro-homosexual promotion tools.”
California's largest gay rights group,
Equality California, said it would fight the referendum if it
qualifies for the ballot.
“It's important for us right now to
educate Californians about what the bill does and does not do,”
Rebekah Orr, a spokeswoman for Equality California, told the AP. “We
want to be clear that this bill is about teaching historical figures
and not just LGBT people.”