(Photo: Reuters / Lucy Nicholson)
Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill Thursday making California the first American state to institute lessons about gays and lesbians into their social studies curriculum.
The law now requires the California Board of Education to create textbooks and other materials that illuminate the contributions of the homosexual community as soon as the 2013-2014 school year.
State Sen. Mark Leno, a Democrat from San Francisco and the innovator of the proposed bill, feels that the bill will help students be more receptive to homosexuals and in turn will hinder the harassment many gay students face.
However, the bill has caught the ire of churches and parents who feel that such instruction would expose students to a subject that many disagree with. They believe the children should not be obligated to attend the classes.
Education Analyst Candi Cushman of Citizen Link, a Focus on the Family affiliate, said earlier, “If parents are concerned that this curriculum conflicts with their religious beliefs, or if they feel their child isn’t psychologically ready to handle the issue, then they should have first amendment rights and be able to opt out.”
The Traditional Values Coalition, an inter-denominational public policy organization speaking on behalf of 43,000 churches nationwide and 8,300 churches in California, is outraged.
"It is an outrage that Governor Jerry Brown has opened the classroom door for homosexual activists to indoctrinate the minds of California’s youth, since no factual materials would be allowed to be presented,” said Rev. Louis Sheldon, chairman and founder of TVC. “By signing SB 48 ... California’s classrooms, textbooks and instructional materials will all become pro-homosexual promotion tools. If parents don’t already have their children out of public schools, this should cause them to remove them.”
Benjamin Lopez, legislative analyst and advocate at TVC, went as far as saying lesbians and gays would be classified as essentially another ethnic group and their lifestyles would be promoted as mainstream or "just one more lifestyle choice that children should explore."
He added, "Students with another point of view would be victimized for sharing their objections to these lifestyles; even factual information. This bill is an affront to true education and to the values parents instill in their kids at home. We have failed at our core educational mission and yet we are now going to inject gay studies into the classrooms. It’s absurd and offensive.”
For former high school teacher Republican Assemblyman Chris Norby, the new curriculum doesn't help the teaching of history. "I think it's a distraction," he said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.