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Calif. bill would require textbooks include ‘gay history’

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (BP)–A bill that would require California public school textbooks to include “gay history” is making its way through the state legislature, and experts warn it could have an impact nationwide.

The bill, SB 1437, passed a state Senate committee April 4 by a vote of 3-1 and is expected to be debated in the full body in the coming days. It would require textbooks to include “the contributions of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender to the total development of California and the United States.”

The bill also changes state law to prohibit teachers from saying anything “adversely” about homosexuality. That in of itself could change the way schools teach about the natural family (mom, dad and children).

The bill specifically is aimed at the social sciences — which includes history — but presumably could have an even wider reach.

“It’s blatantly one-sided and would portray homosexuality, through curriculum in the schools, as mainstream,” Lynne Fishel, spokesperson for the California Family Council, told Baptist Press. “It would end any open discussion about the issue of homosexuality in the public classroom.”

The fear among conservatives is that if the bill becomes law, it could influence the content of textbooks in other states. California is the nation’s largest textbook purchaser.

“As they say, ‘As California goes, so goes the nation,’” Fishel said.

Just last year, the California Senate and Assembly, both controlled by Democrats, passed a bill that would have legalized “gay marriage.” But it was vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican who has yet to take a public position on the latest bill.

Geoffrey Kors, executive director of the homosexual group Equality California, applauded the committee for advancing the bill.

“Current California law recognizes the importance of teaching about a variety of people and groups that contribute to our diverse society,” Kors said in a statement. “Adding the important contributions of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community and individuals is in keeping with that educational goal.”

But the Campaign for Children and Families, a California-based pro-family group, argues that the bill could mean the end of “kings” and “queens” during homecoming and prom week as well as sex-specific sports such as boys and girls basketball. The bill says that “no teacher shall give instruction nor shall a school district sponsor any activity that reflects adversely upon persons because of their race or ethnicity, gender, disability, nationality, sexual orientation, or religion.” That part of the bill, CCF says, could result in homosexuals and transsexuals arguing that sex-specific sports, as well as homecoming “kings” and “queens,” are “discriminatory.”

“There’s no mistaking that the California Department of Education will use SB 1437 to erase all traditional distinctions of gender or sexual standards,” a statement on CCF’s website states.

Said Fishel, of the California Family Council, “This bill legitimizes the pro-homosexual viewpoint and negates any traditional views of family. While it’s shrouded in an anti-discrimination tolerance bill, it’s really discriminatory against people of faith, who would question homosexuality as a behavior.

“It elevates homosexuals and transgenders into the category of men, women, blacks, Hispanics and other culture and ethnic groups…. I wasn’t aware that we call out sexual orientation when we’re teaching history. That would be very new for our kids,” Fishel said.
For information about the national debate over “gay marriage,” visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage

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  • Michael Foust