By JUDY LIN
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California lawmakers sent the governor a bill that would make the state the first requiring public schools to include the contributions of gays and lesbians in social studies curriculum.
The bill adds lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people as well as people with disabilities to the list of groups that schools must include in the lessons. It also would prohibit material that reflects adversely on gays.
Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco says SB48 is crucial because of the bullying that happens to gay students. Republicans called it a well-intentioned but ill-conceived bill. The Assembly passed the bill with a 49-25 party-line vote.
“This bill will require California schools to present a more accurate and nuanced view of American history in our social science curriculum by recognizing the accomplishments of groups that are not often recognized,” said Assembly Speaker John Perez, the first openly gay speaker of the California Assembly.
The legislation leaves it to local school boards to decide how to implement the requirement. It does not specify a grade level for the instruction to begin.
Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, a Republican from Twin Peaks, said he was offended as a Christian that the bill was being used to promote a “homosexual agenda” in public schools.
“I think it’s one thing to say that we should be tolerant,” Donnelly said. “It is something else altogether to say that my children are going to be taught that this lifestyle is good.”
The bill now goes to Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, who has not said whether he would sign it.