NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will veto a bill requiring the inclusion of “gay history” in state public school textbooks if it makes it to his desk, a spokesman said May 24.
The bill, which would mandate that textbooks include “the contributions of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender to the total development of California and the United States,” has passed the California Senate and currently is before the state Assembly.
Conservatives nationwide fear the bill could have national implications if it becomes law. California is the nation’s largest textbook buyer.
“The governor believes that school curriculum should include all important historical figures, regardless of orientation,” Schwarzenegger spokesman Adam Mendelsohn told The Sacramento Bee. “However, he does not support the legislature micromanaging curriculum.”
The bill, S.B. 1437, passed the Senate May 11 by a mostly party-line vote of 22-15. All the “yes” votes came from Democrats. Opposing it were one Democrat and 14 Republicans.
Even though Schwarzenegger, a Republican, disagrees with pro-family groups on a number of major issues — he’s pro-choice, for instance — he now has sided with them on at least two significant bills. Last year, he vetoed a bill that would have legalized “gay marriage.”
“Governor Schwarzenegger has shown Californians that he will protect the constitutional rights of all Californians –- no matter how powerful a political special-interest lobby, such as the LGBT proponents may be!” Barbara McPherson, legislative affairs coordinator for the California Family Council, said in a statement. “We thank him for listening to the people of California on this very important issue and are encouraged by his support.”
Now, pro-family groups are urging Schwarzenegger to promise to veto two other related bills — A.B. 606 and A.B. 1056. Assembly Bill 606 would require school districts to establish antidiscrimination policies based on “actual or perceived gender identity and sexual orientation.” Districts that refuse to do so could lose state money. Assembly Bill 1056 would spend $250,000 to establish pilot programs in 10 schools “to promote instruction in public schools on tolerance” based in part on “sexual orientation.” Both bills have passed the Assembly and currently are before the Senate.
“This terrible trio of bills would promote cross-dressing and sex-change
operations to children as young as kindergarten,” Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families, said in a statement. “Schools should be about academics, not about promoting alternative sexual lifestyles to impressionable schoolchildren.”
FORMER SBC PROF OPPOSES AMENDMENT — A former Southern Baptist Theological Seminary ethics professor who taught at the school prior to its shift back to orthodoxy has joined a coalition of liberal religious leaders opposing a U.S. constitutional marriage amendment. The U.S. Senate is scheduled to debate the amendment beginning June 5.
Paul Simmons, who retired in 1992 — one year prior to the arrival of current President R. Albert Mohler Jr. — appeared May 22 at a press conference with a coalition of religious leaders calling themselves Clergy for Fairness.
The amendment, Simmons said, according to the Associated Press, “has the smell and feel of Salem” — a reference to the Salem, Mass., witchcraft trials of the late 1600s in which 20 people were executed.
Prominent groups in the coalition include the Episcopal Church, the Alliance of Baptists and the Interfaith Alliance.
A joint letter from the coalition says the amendment would “restrict the civil rights of millions of Americans” and “enshrine into the Constitution a particular religious viewpoint.”
While at Southern, Simmons was criticized by conservatives for his pro-choice views on abortion.
ALABAMANS TO VOTE JUNE 6 — Alabama voters will go to the polls June 6 as the state becomes the first this year to consider a constitutional marriage amendment. The amendment says that marriage is “inherently a unique relationship between a man and a woman.”
It is expected to pass, but Howard Bayless, chairman of Equality Alabama — a homosexual activist organization — nonetheless expressed optimism.
“We believe there are a lot of fair-minded people in Alabama, and come June 6 they will defeat this amendment,” he was quoted as saying in the Montgomery Advertiser.
Alabama already has a law banning “gay marriage,” although it is vulnerable to being overturned by state courts. Once a part of the state constitution, a marriage amendment cannot be overturned in state court. Nationally, a marriage amendment has never failed at the ballot.
Alabama’s amendment was placed on the statewide primary ballot by the state legislature, where it had wide bipartisan support.
For more information about the national debate over “gay marriage,” visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage