Calif. Group Launching Initiative to Overturn 'Gay History' Law

A conservative organization in California is supporting an initiative that will overturn a law that makes social studies classes include the "roles and contributions" of homosexuals in American history.

The Pacific Justice Institute has proposed an initiative, known as the Children Learning Accurate Social Science Act (CLASS Act), to replace the recently passed S.B. 48.

Kevin T. Snider, chief counsel for the PJI, told The Christian Post that the proposed act "touches on the civil right to be left alone."

"Overall, the people of California are tolerant and fair-minded. They believe in a live and let live attitude," said Snider.

"If one wants to live in the gay community or teach their children about that lifestyle, that is their business. But to rewrite the history books at taxpayer expense to indoctrinate my children, that is something else entirely."

Snider explained that a problem with S.B. 48 is that it added "sexual orientation" to the list of identity groups for which classes could not provide material that reflects "adversely upon persons."

"History is the accurate record of events. Like all of us, those who make it into the pages of history generally do things both good and bad," said Snider. "Only showing the positive ('roles and contributions') and censoring the negative (information which 'reflects adversely') is not history. That is propaganda."

Sponsored by State Senator Mark Leno, S.B. 48 amended California's Education Code regarding classroom study and instructional materials. It added language to Section 51204.5 of the Education Code, which pertained to teaching about the contributions of various groups in American history. Added groups included European Americans, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans, persons with disabilities, Mexican Americans, and Asian Americans.

Tina Jung, Information Officer for the California Department of Education, told The Christian Post that the proposed CLASS Act "prescribes the inclusion of the contributions of various groups in the history of California and the United States."

"Instruction in history–social science should include the contributions of those groups," said Jung, "but it is up to local districts to determine how the instructional content is included."

"[Section 51204.5] applies to the course of study in grades one through twelve, but again it falls to the teacher and the local school and district administration to determine how the content is covered and at which grade level(s)."

Before working on the proposal, the Pacific Justice Institute and other conservative groups attempted to hold a referendum on the law. California law stated that they needed to get 500,000 signatures in 90 days. With a time table shortened to 65 days, PJI and others were able to get 497,000 signatures.

"This straightforward, common sense approach, appeals to Californians. It does not reflect animus toward the LGBT community or anyone else," said Snider, who noted that about 64 percent of respondents to a Los Angeles Times poll opposed S.B. 48.

"Because the CLASS Act takes a moderate and rational view toward education, we predict that it will receive broad support in California, and probably among many in the LGBT community."