Capitol Resource Family Impact along with other pro-family individuals and organizations remain committed to the goal of reversing SB 48, California’s so-called “gay history” bill. Today, a broad coalition of sponsors filed an initiative with the California Attorney General designed to reverse the overreaching aspects of that legislation.
When he signed SB 48 into law this past July, Governor Jerry Brown rationalized his actions with the claim that “History must be honest.” But the bill he signed specifically required an incomplete and inaccurate presentation in all social science classes in our public schools.
Senate Bill 48 required curriculum that is positive toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other minority figures. But it also prohibited curriculum that reflects adversely on the same groups. The Los Angeles Times condemned the new law by noting, “Real history is richer and more complicated than feel-good depictions.”
In contrast, the initiative presented today assures that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other minority figures are not excluded from inclusion in California curriculum while requiring accurate historical portrayals of all individuals.
Jack Hibbs, one of the sponsors, noted SB 48 simply went too far. “We all know that the issue of homosexuality is controversial. It is unacceptable to require that our schools shine a spotlight on this lifestyle on the one hand and then demand that history books and teachers censor shortcomings on the other.”
Kevin Snider of Pacific Justice Institute Center for Public Policy believes the proposed initiative provides an appropriate balance. “We drafted an initiative that responds to the perception that some want to ignore the contributions of certain individuals. This initiative prohibits history book exclusion of anybody based on their membership in a protected class. But it requires an accurate, historical portrayal of any individual.”
This is not the first effort to reverse the negative effects of SB 48. The small number of community members that testified against the legislation as it made its way through the California Legislature grew into a coalition that recently collected nearly 500,000 signatures to qualify a referendum against SB 48. As impressive as that effort was, it fell short of the 504,760 signatures needed to qualify the referendum. The same number will be required for the initiative.
“We feel very positive about our ability to gain the necessary signatures,” said Karen England of Capitol Resource Family Impact. “To qualify a referendum in California, one has to get all of the signatures in 90 days. We will have almost two additional months to gain the initiative signatures.”
The initiative needs to go through a legally required process in the Attorney General’s office. Proponents believe that petitions will be available for signatures just after the first of the year.