Sunday, July 17, 2011

California Schools To Teach About Contributions Of Gay Americans

California under Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown has made a positive move by requiring that students learn about the ways in which gay Americans have enriched the nation's history and culture. The bill's backers hope that the studies will increase tolerance of gay students:

As expected, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill on Thursday that mandates that the contributions of gays and lesbians in the state and the country be included in social science instruction and in textbooks. School districts will have until next January to begin implementing the new law, which was also promoted in part as a way to combat bullying of gay and lesbian students.

“This is definitely a step forward, and I’m hopeful that other states will follow,” said Mark Leno, California’s first openly gay state senator, who sponsored the bill. “We are failing our students when we don’t teach them about the broad diversity of human experience.”

… “There is an increasing awareness in the public and among elected officials that we have to do something to address the problems of bullying, and the negative consequences” for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students, said Carolyn Laub, director of the Gay-Straight Alliance Network.

Naturally, reactionary voices objected. One Republican believes it’s unfair if the curriculum isn’t used to cast aspersions on gays:

...Tim Donnelly, a Republican state assemblyman from San Bernadino...said the law prohibited schools from presenting gays and lesbians “in anything other than a positive light, and I think that’s censorship right there.”

Rev. Louis Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition spouted the traditional nonsense about “promoting” homosexuality and called for parents to remove students from public schools:

“By signing SB 48 today, 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.”


Jon R., editor of the Oracle said...

So, could one presume that Donnelly and Sheldon eschew the teachings in the Christian Bible?

Leviticus 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.

Christ, the hypocrisy of these Christian-Taliban Republicans knows no bounds.

Three cheers for California!

Jeff Tone said...

Jon, it seems that these religious right characters just don't get the love and compassion part.

Davin said...

I support Governor Brown's move to educate the young regarding the contributions of gay Americans to our country.

Without minimizing the importance of such a step, in my own life I have been fortunate to experience my own liberal attitude being emotionally fortified when a gay friend and I over a period of years helped each other in dealing with a similar situation in each of our lives regarding a partner.
The commonality became the reality.

Similarly, seeing a a gay person act in a devoted way to someone close to me has added to the emotional depth of my attitude.

But as we cannot always rely on life itself providing adequate education, our schools must provide a strong foundation.

Congratulations to Governor Brown
for the humanity of his decision.

Jeff Tone said...

Thank you, Davin, for your heartfelt comments and valuable personal testimony.