New Jersey became the second state in the nation to require LGBTQ history to be taught in public schools when Governor Phil Murphy signed a new bill on Thursday.
The bill, modeled after a 2012 California law, will require public schools in 2020 to include "the political, economic, and social contributions of persons with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, where appropriate."
"The Governor believes that ensuring students learn about diverse histories will help build more tolerant communities and strengthen educational outcomes," Murphy’s office said in a statement. Murphy, a Democrat elected in 2017, campaigned on promises to advocate for LGBTQ rights.
The new law does not affect the curriculum of private schools. LGBTQ issues in private schools rose to the national consciousness last month when Second Lady Karen Pence announced she would be teaching art at an institution “where the faculty promises to reject same-sex marriage, trans identity, and even premarital sex.”
Since Murphy took over the governor's mansion from Republican Chris Christie, New Jersey has passed several laws supporting LGBTQ rights. The Murphy administration issued guidance to schools in September to support transgender-friendly policies regarding name and pronoun-use, participation in actvities, and the use of restrooms. And at the beginning of February, a new law took effect to help transgender individuals change the gender listed on their birth certificates and includes an offical third gender-neutal option.