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California governor signs landmark bill that would require teaching of LGBT history

Thursday, July 14, 2011

California’s Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday signed into law landmark legislation that would require the historical contributions of gay, lesbian and transgender Americans to be included in history lessons and classroom textbooks.

Jerry Brown

The bill — known as the FAIR (Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful) Education Act — would would bring classroom instruction into alignment with existing non-discrimination laws in California and would add LGBT to the existing list of underrepresented cultural and ethnic groups, which are covered by current law related to inclusion in textbooks and other instructional materials.

Brown issued a statement in which he called the legislation an “important step forward for our state.”

“History should be honest,’’ Brown said. “This bill revises existing laws that prohibit discrimination in education and ensures that the important contributions of Americans from all backgrounds and walks of life are included in our history books.”

The new law will require the California Board of Education and local school districts to adopt textbooks and other teaching materials that cover the contributions and roles of sexual minorities, as early as the 2013-2014 school year.


“Today we are making history in California by ensuring that our textbooks and instructional materials no longer exclude the contributions of LGBT Americans,” said Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), the bill’s author.

“Denying LGBT people their rightful place in history gives our young people an inaccurate and incomplete view of the world around them. I am pleased Governor Brown signed the FAIR Education Act and I thank him for recognizing that the LGBT community, its accomplishments and its ongoing efforts for first-class citizenship are important components of California’s history.”

In addition to including the role and contributions of LGBT Americans in educational materials, Senate Bill 48 ensures that the contributions of disabled people are included.

The bill also adds sexual orientation to the state’s existing anti-discrimination protections that prohibit bias in school activities, instruction and instructional materials. The bill was co-sponsored by Equality California and the Gay-Straight Alliance Network.

Randy Thomasson, president of SaveCalifornia.com, a conservative family group that opposed the measure, said the bill constitutes “sexual brainwashing” and “indoctrination.”

“We strongly urge loving parents to rescue their children by permanently removing them from government schools and placing them in the safe havens of church schools or homeschooling.” Thomasson said.

The new law gives local school boards discretion on how to implement the requirements, and does not specify a grade level for the instruction to begin.

The legislation is expected to 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.

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Filed under: California

29 more reader comments:

  1. KICK-ass!

    Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 2:02pm
  2. THATS WONDERFUL!!!! Stefanie Allison Looks like you’ll be able to teach this in shcool afterall love when your a teacher!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! <3.
    *Megs*

    Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 2:04pm
  3. Hell yes!!!!

    Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 2:06pm
  4. Yea boi!

    Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 2:14pm
  5. Wow. What a badass.

    Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 2:18pm
  6. Take THAT Tennessee!!

    Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 2:32pm
  7. I still can’t figure out why teaching objective facts counts as “brainwashing”. *sigh*

    Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 2:49pm
  8. Harvey Milk would be so proud!! :D

    Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 2:55pm
  9. HA HA! IN YOUR FUCKING FACES YOU FUCKING HATERZZ! America has finally opened it’s eyes! XD

    Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 2:57pm
  10. Good for Brown, congrats on the bravery and intelligence shown, but California is America? What does that make the other 49 (which don’t have this law)? Being happy is one thing, being realistic is another.

    Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 3:11pm
  11. This is true Brus, but as long as we show support there is always hope.

    Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 3:22pm
  12. well, actaully lots of states are letting same sex marriage happen also…more people are starting to support us.. :b thats what i meant also.

    Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 6:27pm
  13. i want to move to california now and learn all that lol.

    Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 7:46pm
  14. This is such a huge step forward,It will open the eyes of so many to finally learn just how many things gays have invented,and all the many contributions we have made thruout history.

    Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 7:47pm
  15. It won’t be implemented until after I graduate… But an amazing acheivement. 49 states to go! (^_^)

    Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 7:50pm
  16. Yeah, you better have, Brown. I phone banked for you!

    Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 7:50pm
  17. Thankful my son goes to a california school

    Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 7:53pm
  18. Maybe Jerry can help President Obama ‘Evolve Already’…

    Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 7:54pm
  19. YESSSSSS!!!!!!!

    Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 7:55pm
  20. good! now we just need them to overturn that awful prop 8 already!!!!

    Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 7:57pm
  21. Yay!

    Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 8:08pm
  22. i really hope this passes… for the sake of the future generation.. then they wont say gaywad or faggot in the schools anymore

    Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 8:23pm
  23. wish this was around when i was in school

    Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 8:54pm
  24. Great!!!! Wish we could see more history on all oppressed groups!!

    Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 10:40pm
  25. The revisionist “history” I was taught in school makes me want to choke. I’d rather not see anyone left out of my history books as a result of bias, prejudice, or “moral” considerations.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think we’ll ever get a truly complete, accurate, and unbiased view of history until we invent a time machine.

    Posted on Friday, July 15, 2011 at 4:05am
  26. Will the fact that male homosexuals were the prime source of speading aids to America be included in the studies

    Posted on Friday, July 15, 2011 at 5:57am
  27. I think this is great…..finally.

    Posted on Friday, July 15, 2011 at 1:32pm
  28. -______-

    Posted on Saturday, July 16, 2011 at 8:04am
  29. I hope that this, too, would be implemented in the Philippines.

    Posted on Saturday, July 16, 2011 at 10:02am