Democratic California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Thursday, that will require public schools in the state to teach students about the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americas.
The bill ‘SB 48 Pupil instruction: prohibition of discriminatory content’ was authored and proposed by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) – . For full text of the bill, visit: http://leginfo.ca.gov/bilinfo.html.)
The bill, believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, will also require teachers to provide instruction on the role of people with disabilities.
“History should be honest,” Democratic California Gov. Jerry Brown said about the gay history legislation.
“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. It represents an important step forward for our state, and I thank Senator Leno, the bill’s author, for his hard work on this historic legislation.”
“Today we are making history in California by ensuring that our textbooks and instructional materials no longer exclude the contributions of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Americans,” Sen. Leno said in a statement.
Sen. Leno, dismissed arguments that the bill promotes certain sexual behaviors and said it removes censorship in textbooks. “Bottom line, it’s only beneficial to share with students the broad diversity of the human experience and that our democracy protects everyone,” he said.
Senator Leno’s office cited research that showed that students who learn about LGBT people are more likely to report their schools are inclusive and fair.
Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco said ‘SB48 is crucial because of the bullying that happens to gay students.’
Republicans called it a well-intentioned but ill-conceived bill but raised concerns that it would indoctrinate children to accept homosexuality.
SB48 would require, as soon as the 2013-2014 school year, 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. The legislation leaves it to local school boards to decide how to implement the requirement. It does not specify a grade level for the instruction to begin.
California law already requires state schools to teach about the contributions made by Native Americans, African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, and Asian-Americans, among other groups.
The Assembly passed the bill on a 49-25 vote.