SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KGO) -- A signature gathering effort is underway to get a measure on the state ballot that would overturn a new education law. It went into effect this January and requires California students be taught about the contributions of lesbian, gays, bisexual, and transgender people.
The law is known as the "Fair Education Act." It says instruction and text books in social sciences must include a study of the contributions of minorities, people with disabilities, and those in the LGBT community. "We're really just talking about learning factual history and making sure that all students are prepared to understand who we are as a country, and that includes the diversity in our country," Carolyn Laub with the Gay-Straight Alliance Network told ABC7.
However, opponents of that law want it repealed. They say members of the LGBT community should not appear in textbooks based on their sexual orientation. "Right now, they should be talked about based on their contributions to history, not about what they may or may not have done in the bedroom," Kevin Snider said.
Opponents need more than 500,000 signatures in order to get the item on the ballot. This way it will be up to voters to decide if they want to do away with the law. "It's mainly the legislators trying to get more support, trying to push for their own agenda," Frank Lee said.
State Senator Mark Leno introduced the legistlation now known as the Fair Education Act. He says it prevents schools from adopting learning materials that promote negative stereotypes. Teachers in the San Francisco Unified School District already comply with the law using their own materials. "So, these are things that are already being discussed. These are already fundamental lessons in civil liberties that we talk about in classrooms, as well in U.S. history," teacher Valerie Ziegler said.
Other districts will have to wait. Because of the state budget cuts, California's Department of Education has put the revision of new textbooks on hold until at least 2015.