SACRAMENTO, California, March 29, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A bill that would require California public schools to revise their social science curricula to incorporate study of the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans was passed by the California Senate Education Committee last Wednesday.
The bill, SB 48, was introduced by openly homosexual state Senator Mark Leno. It passed the ten member Education Committee by a vote of 6 to 3 with one abstaining, and has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where it will be considered in early April.
If passed, the law would affect the curriculum for students as early as kindergarten. It contains no provision allowing parents to exclude their children or for teachers to opt out of teaching the new material.
Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a similar bill in 2006. If SB 48 is passed by the Legislature, however, it is expected that current Democratic Governor Jerry Brown will sign it into law.
Supporters of the bill argue that it is necessary to combat alleged discrimination against homosexual students by school faculty and staff, and bullying by fellow students.
“People oppose and fear the unfamiliar,” Senator Leno told the New York Times. “When grade-school students understand the arc of the L.G.B.T. movement over 40 years, that otherness begins to dissipate. That’s desperately needed right now.”
However, according to the International Press Association, Senator Robert Huff challenged Senator Leno during the hearing, calling the bill a “paradigm shift” which would have the effect of “actively promoting a lifestyle.”
Pro-family organizations are rallying in opposition to the bill, and encouraging California parents to contact their senators to express their concerns.
Candi Cushman, education analyst with Focus on the Family, told LifeSiteNews that, as an anti-discriminatory measure, the bill is unnecessary, since “California has some of the most pro-active laws in the nation in this regard already on the books.”
“The appropriate emphasis in history books and social science books is to honor people because of their contributions,” Cushman said. “It just seems kind of crazy to be promoting them based on their political or sexual identity. You wouldn’t want to leave people out based on that, but neither do you want to base the entire reason that they’re included in history on sexual identity. It should be based on their historical contributions.”
Randy Thomasson, President of SaveCalifornia.org, called the measure “the most radical sexual indoctrination ever of children in California public schools,” in a letter to Senate Education Committee Chair Alan Lowenthal.
Thomasson believes that the bill would cause homosexuals, bisexuals and transsexuals to be presented as role models to California students.
The Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), a legal defense organization which works to combat threats to religious freedom and parental rights on the West Coast, sent a similar letter to the Senate, objecting to the bill on constitutional grounds.
According to PJI President Brad Dacus, the bill is “a violation of parent’s fundamental rights over their children.”
In addition to legislative action, the group is also urging California teachers to disassociate themselves from the leftist agenda of the California Teachers Association (CTA), which has openly supported the bill. CTA Legislative Advocate Isabelle Garcia testified in support of the bill during the Education Committee hearing.
According to the International Press Association, the CTA has supported the homosexual agenda in the past, most notably by donating $1 million to campaign efforts to defeat Proposition 8, a 2008 amendment to the California constitution which defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
“This is going to be binding on every single teacher in California, and that’s one reason why we like to remind teachers who are Christians who do object to these kinds of campaigns by the California Teacher’s Association to opt out of the teacher’s unions,” Dacus told LifeSiteNews.
Dacus encouraged teachers to consider sending their union dues to a pro-life charity, such as a Crisis Pregnancy Center, instead.
PJI has also voiced concern about the fiscal impact of the bill, pointing out in a recent press release that the bill would force schools to buy new curriculum materials.
“Our legislature just doesn’t get it—with thousands of teachers getting pink slips, this is not the time to place more expensive, politically correct mandates on our schools,” said Dacus