The Governor of California, Jerry Brown, signed a bill into law which will require school curricula and textbooks to include contributions to history by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans.
That’s the public highlight of the bill, which passed the California Senate 26-11 in a very partisan vote. The bill also requires that the roles of, and contributions from disabled Americans be included in history lessons. This is believed to be the first law of its kind. California already requires that history lessons include the contributions from ethnic groups, like Native Americans and Mexican-Americans, but this is the first law in which the requirement for inclusion isn’t based on ethnicity but on lifestyle.
The new law is, of course, controversial, stirring up the ire of various religious and conservative groups. Benjamin Lopez, an advocate of the Traditional Values Coalition, said that this legislation is “absurd and offensive.” The Traditional Values Coalition is a faith-based value advocacy group. Their views and values are delineated on their website under such sections as “Causes and Cures of Homosexuality and Gender Identity Disorders,” as well as “Homosexual Urban Legends”. Several other groups have expressed concern about the effects that these lessons might have on their children.
Republicans in the California state legislature also spoke out against the bill, calling the bill “well-intentioned, but ill-conceived.” Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, said that he was offended and thought the bill was being used to promote a homosexual agenda.
Governor Brown, a Democrat, said that “History should be honest,” and that the bill revises existing laws that prohibit educational discrimination. State Senator Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, says that this bill will promote tolerance and acceptance of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) community in schools.