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Gov. Jerry Brown approves SB 48, the gay education bill

OW Staff | 12/28/2011, 5 p.m.

Gov. Jerry Brown approved SB 48, otherwise known as the California Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act.

Originally proposed by Mark Leno of San Francisco, an openly gay Democratic senator, the new law that passed on July 14 this year amends "the Education Code to include social sciences instruction on the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people."

"Most textbooks don't include any historical information about the LGBT movement, which has great significance to both California and U.S. history," he said last year. "Our collective silence on this issue perpetuates negative stereotypes of LGBT people and leads to increased bullying of young people. We can't simultaneously tell youth that it's OK to be yourself and live an honest, open life, when we aren't even teaching students about historical LGBT figures or the LGBT equal rights movement."

Despite Leno's efforts, opposition is heavy and the religious and "anti-gay" communities have not backed down.

Pastor Xavier Thompson of Southern Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles, led a coalition of religious leaders in the Los Angeles community across denominational and racial lines to fight for what they believe is an injustice and obstruction to morality. The preacher hosted a forum and sponsored a petition to overturn the law.

But the LGBT community has been steadfast about advocating for gay education, because many believe that it will prevent bullying and give gay students the support they want and need.

In the meantime, critics have proposed to institute waivers to allow parents to keep their children from learning about the historical contributions of the LGBT community.

The law will take effect on Jan. 1, 2012.

http://www.ebar.com/news/article.php?sec=news&article=6234