FAIR Education Act remains in place despite petition efforts

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By Zack Jenkins

Efforts to repeal Senate Bill 48, California’s LGBT history curriculum law signed into action by Governor Jerry Brown in 2011, failed to secure enough voter support for a second time to make the 2014 ballot.

SB48, also known as the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act, compels the state education curriculum to include the social and historical contributions of LGBT individuals.

Additionally, the Act adds sexual orientation and religion to the list of characteristics that schools are legally prohibited from sponsoring negative actions against (which already inlcude race, ethnicity, nationality, gender and disability protections).

Senator Mark Leno, the bill’s author, issued a statement celebrating the decision stating “we are making history in California by ensuring that our textbooks and instructional materials no longer exclude the contributions of LGBT Americans.”

Stop SB48, the Republican-backed organization opposing the FAIR Education Act, launched a volunteer petition campaign that focused on drawing support from churches across the state. 

The Associated Press reported that the campaign needed 504,760 signatures  by the Monday July 16th deadline. They were only able to secure 446,000. Stop SB48 also failed earlier this year when they attempted to bring the LGBT history curriculum up for a popular vote across the state.

Governor Brown, a Democrat who opposed Proposition 8 legally limiting the definition of marriage as the union between a man and a woman, supported the Act. However, he did comment that changes to school textbooks will not likely take effect until 2014 due to statewide budget cuts.

“Thanks to the FAIR Education Act,” Equality California Executive Director Roland Palencia said, “California students, particularly LGBT youth, will find new hope and inspiration and experience a more welcoming learning environment.”

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