SACRAMENTO, July 15, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In a move that could have ramifications for curriculum across America, California governor Jerry Brown has signed controversial legislation mandating that public schools teach children about “the role and contributions of” homosexual American historical figures.
The law also forbids materials that “contain any matter reflecting adversely” upon gays on the basis of sexual identification.
Brown on Thursday signed into law SB 48, which is designed to take effect in January of next year, although the San Francisco Gate notes that the state’s fiscal crisis is so deep it will be unable to purchase the new texts until 2015 at the earliest.
Pushed as an antidote to gay bullying in schools, the measure mandates textbooks to highlight homosexual persons and their activities in American history. It simultaneously reinforces a gag on religious doctrine, noting that “any sectarian or denominational doctrine or propaganda contrary to law” is forbidden.
The text of the law ends with a warning shot at private schools in California, stating: “It is the intent of the Legislature that alternative and charter schools take notice of the provisions of this act in light of Section 235 of the Education Code, which prohibits discrimination ... in any aspect of the operation of alternative and charter schools.”
The bill includes no age requirement, meaning the changes could affect even the lowest elementary school grades, notes Baptist Press.
“History should be honest,” said Gov. Brown in a statement upon signing the bill, adding that the law “ensures that the important contributions of Americans from all backgrounds and walks of life are included in our history books.”
The Assembly had approved the measure by a 49-25 vote on July 6, following a heated debate. Republican Assemblyman Tim Donnelly expressed outrage over the bill on the chamber floor.
“I think it’s one thing to say that we should be tolerant. It is something else altogether to say that my children are going to be taught that this lifestyle is good,” said Donnelly, according to the Associated Press. “As a Christian, I am deeply offended.”
Meanwhile, family advocates expressed alarm at the new law’s obvious implications for the national textbook market.
“The reality is that the major textbook manufacturers do not create different textbooks for each state,” said Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) president Brad Dacus in a statement July 6. “Instead, they seek to comply with mandates in the largest states, especially California and Texas.
“As a result, many smaller states are pressured into approving California-focused instructional materials, which must now cater to the gay history mandate.”
Earlier this month, in union with other California bishops, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles strongly criticized SB 48 as an attack on parents’ rights, saying the bill “amounts to the government rewriting history books based on pressure-group politics.”