SACRAMENTO, Calif. (BP)–California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill Sept. 6 that conservatives say would have prevented schools from giving both sides of the debate over homosexuality.
The bill, SB 1437, would have prohibited teachers, school districts, textbooks and instructional materials from presenting anything that “reflects adversely upon persons” because of their “sexual orientation.” The bill also would have prohibited instructional materials containing “sectarian or denominational doctrine or propaganda” regarding homosexuality. Presumably, that would have prevented materials from saying that homosexuality is anything but natural.
A section of the bill requiring the teaching of “gay history” was stripped weeks ago in hopes of making the bill less controversial and more acceptable for Schwarzenegger. But he nonetheless vetoed the bill, and in a statement said California law “already specifically protects against discrimination to groups based on their sexual orientation.”
“No teacher or textbook in our schools should ever intentionally demean or disparage any group in our society, including discrimination based on sexual orientation,” Schwarzenegger said.
The bill was sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Sheila Kuehl, a lesbian and a member of the California Legislative Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender Caucus.
Pro-family groups applauded Schwarzenegger’s veto. Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family Action called the bill “dangerous legislation.”
“If passed, it would have had grave implications for children and families — not just in California, but across the country — by forcing all public-school teachers to present a one-sided message about homosexuality, bisexuality and transgender issues to students as young as 5,” Minnery said in a statement.
The final version of the bill passed the Assembly 47-31 and the Senate 22-16.
Conservatives now are pressuring Schwarzenegger to veto two other bills that promote homosexuality:
— AB 1056 would establish a “tolerance education pilot program,” providing 10 schools $25,000 apiece to implement a tolerance program for students. According to the bill, the programs must address discrimination based on “sexual orientation” as well as “actual or perceived gender.” Schools must provide a report to the California Department of Education at the end of three years.
— AB 606 would require the California Department of Education to adopt an anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policy based on “actual or perceived gender identity” and “sexual orientation.” School districts that don’t implement the policy would loose state funding.
Both bills have passed the Assembly and Senate.
“We trust Gov. Schwarzenegger will keep in mind the clear will of his constituents on these matters when he picks up his pen to consider these bills,” Minnery said.
In late August Schwarzenegger disappointed conservatives when he signed SB 1441, which prohibits discrimination based on “sexual orientation” at any “program or entity” that receives funds or financial assistance from the state. Conservatives say the new law could impact the religious freedom at Christian colleges and daycare centers that have students receiving state grants, loans and vouchers. As it currently stands, such colleges and daycare centers can prohibit the hiring of people practicing unbiblical lifestyles.
For information about the national debate over “gay marriage,” visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage