California senate committee approves LGBT-inclusive education bill


SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A bill that would require classroom text books and other instructional materials used in public schools to include the historical contributions LGBT people, passed its first hurdle in the California legislature on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 48, known as the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act, passed the Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of 3-2 vote.

The bill, if passed, would add the LGBT community to the existing list of under-represented cultural and ethnic groups in the state’s inclusionary education requirements, and also add sexual orientation to anti-discrimination protections that prohibit bias in school activities and instructional materials.

“Senate Bill 48 would ensure that our history books fairly and accurately include LGBT people,” said Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), the bill’s author.

Leno said the bill addresses “a glaring oversight in educating young people that has led to harassment of gays by their classmates.”

The bill “corrects the straight-washing of California curriculum, which currently requires that students learn about the cultural and historic contributions of every group except LGBTs,” said activist Matt Baume, in his weekly video report on Monday.

If passed, SB 48 could have impact beyond California’s borders. Since the state is a major purchaser of educational textbooks, national book publishers often print books tailored for California curriculum that other states utilize.

The bill is co-sponsored by Equality California and the Gay-Straight Alliance Network.

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