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Effort fails at reversing Calif. gay history law

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (BP) — California’s first-in-the-nation gay history law will remain the law for public schools after a signature drive aimed at overturning it fell short for the second time in a year.

A pro-family coalition announced Monday (July 16) that it would not be able to gather the 505,000 signatures needed to qualify what it had called the CLASS Act, an initiative that would have repealed SB 48, which was signed last year and went into effect Jan. 1. The coalition’s email said about 446,000 signatures had been collected. The California secretary of state likely would have tossed out some of the signatures as invalid, so it’s impossible to know exactly how many more signatures were needed. Historically, at least a few thousand are found to be invalid.

Monday was the deadline for submitting signatures to the state. The signature drive did not use paid canvassers — that is, people who are paid to gather signatures.

“Placing a measure on the ballot through grassroots efforts alone has not been done in California in recent memory,” Kevin Snider, chief counsel to the Pacific Justice Institute, said in a statement. “Although history was against us, our conscience compelled the coalition to fight this battle rather than doing nothing.”

A signature drive effort last year to overturn SB 48 also fell short. This year’s effort aimed to place the CLASS Act on the 2014 ballot.

The new law requires social science classes to include the “role and contributions” of “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.” The latter term includes people who cross dress and physically change their sex. Even more significant, it mandates that “instructional materials” — including textbooks — include the history of homosexuals. The law also prohibits instructional materials from “reflecting adversely” upon homosexuals — language some conservative leaders say would impact what is taught about marriage.

Snider had told Baptist Press earlier this year that the Class Act initiative would “bring back a sense of moderation and reason into the study of social science.” A person would not “be excluded because he or she belongs to a protected class — including gays or lesbians — but nor will that person be included because he or she belongs to a protected class.”

In the coalition’s email, Snider hinted that future efforts at reversing SB 48 could be attempted.
Compiled by Michael Foust, associate editor of Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

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