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Group Targets California's LGBT Education Law

Group Targets California's LGBT Education Law

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California officials have given the green light for a social conservative group to begin collecting signatures in an effort to repeal the state's new LGBT education law.

The FAIR Education Act (Senate Bill 48), authored by state senator Mark Leno and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown earlier this month, requires social science curricula to include the historical contributions of LGBT people and has been criticized by the group Stop SB 48 "as selective treatment of history by requiring that only events that reflect positively on people in the LGBT community may be discussed."

As of Tuesday, the California Secretary of State's website listed the signature-gathering approval for Stop SB 48 as "Referendum to Overturn Non-Discrimination Requirements for School Instruction."

In a campaign reminiscent of the Proposition 8 drive mounted by antigay activists and religious groups three years ago, Stop SB 48 needs to collect about 505,000 signatures by October 12 to qualify for a referendum (Prop. 8 supporters needed just under 700,000 petition signatures to place the antigay measure on the ballot and ended up submitting more than 1.1 million).

Paulo Sibaja, Stop SB 48's spokesman, told the Associated Press, "Politicians have no business writing textbooks. It should be left to the historians and academic experts." Sibaja is director of communications for the Capitol Resource Institute, which helped fund and campaign for passage of Prop. 8 in 2008.

LGBT POV's Karen Ocamb noted Tuesday that should SB 48 gather enough signatures by the October deadline, the referendum would be placed on the June 2012 ballot for the California primary (read Ocamb's report here).

SB 48 also mandates the inclusion of historical contributions by disabled people in social science curricula.

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