Another California ballot battle brewing

There is another anti-gay ballot measure brewing in California—this one, for 2012, seeks to repeal a recently passed state law that requires social studies curricula in California public schools to include information about the contributions of LGBT people.

Paulo Sibaja, communications director for a conservative family advocacy group in California, submitted a letter to the California Attorney General, Kamala Harris, on July 15. The letter asks the attorney general to prepare a title and summary for a referendum to repeal Senate Bill 48.

Senate Bill 48, signed was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on July 14, is the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act. It remedies a deficiency in previously existing law that required that public school curricula in the social sciences acknowledge the contributions of various specific minorities, such as African Americans, American Indians, and Asian Americans.

The FAIR Education Act simply adds LGBT people as a specific minority and prohibits instruction or any school activity “that promotes a discriminatory bias on the basis of sexual orientation.

Openly gay State Senator Mark Leno introduced the measure, and it was approved by the State Senate on a 23 to 14 vote in April and approved by the Assembly on a 49 to 25 vote on July 6.

Under California law, opponents of a law have 90 days from the enactment of a bill to request a title and summary of a referendum from the state Attorney General, circulate petitions, and gather 504,760 valid signatures., a web-based organization opposed to the law sent out an “Urgent Alert,” suggesting parents remove their children from public schools. The website warns that the law “means children as young as kindergarten in California K-12 government schools will be forced to admire ‘gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Americans’ as their personal role models.” The group suggests parents put their children into church schools or school them at home.

In his letter to the attorney general, Sibaja identifies himself only as the “Proponent” of the ballot measure and includes no mention of his affiliation with the Capital Resource Institute, a nonprofit group that advocates conservative positions on family issues. A profile of Sibaja on a California Republican website,, indicates he has worked as a substitute teacher in San Bernardino County, volunteered for Republican presidential candidates Mike Huckabee, and John McCain, and is a member of various conservative Republican groups.

LGBT groups fought hard for passage of the FAIR Education Act.

Kate Kendell, head of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, called the bill “historic” and said it “reverses decades of censorship and discrimination against LGBT people in public school classrooms.”

Equality California Executive Director Roland Palencia called passage of the bill “a monumental victory for the LGBT civil rights movement,” saying it would usher in a “more welcoming learning environment” for LGBT youth.

Equality California has been sponsoring town hall meetings around the state to discuss the merits of putting its own initiative on the ballot in 2012–one to repeal the current state constitution’s ban on same-sex marriage. That language was added through Proposition 8 in November 2008.

One Response to Another California ballot battle brewing

  1. Dakotahgeo says:

    Nowwwwwwwwwwww appearing in Ring 5: Another uproarious show in California starring the religious right wingnuts vs. the State of California (who else?!?) in the battle of the historians who are straight vs. those who are GLBT and banned. Will this be the icing on the top of the cake when Prop. H8 is defeated, and we can finally have freedom of education? Stay tuned… for NEWWWWWWWWWS!!!

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