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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 30, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 39
Stop SB48 on course to qualify for the ballot
Section One
ALL STORIES
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Stop SB48 on course to qualify for the ballot

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

The signature-gatherers behind the Stop SB48 campaign have collected 415,000 of the 504,760 signatures they need to force a June 2012 voter referendum on California's new law requiring the teaching of LGBT history, some media outlets report.

The deadline for turning in signatures is October 12.

'We've always been concerned that they would qualify for the ballot, and there has been a strong hope among everyone who wants to see the FAIR Education Act be protected that they wouldn't come close,' said Equality California's Communications Director Rebekah Orr. 'If indeed that 415,000 number is true, then we certainly are concerned that they are likely to qualify for the ballot on October 12. We also know they have more work to do.'

The fight to keep Stop SB48 from collecting the signatures could be looked at as a much greater fight, said Equality California's executive director, Roland Palencia. 'If we don't win this, it also will impact other pro-equality fights, so it's really, really critical that we take a stand and that people get involved.'

The FAIR Education Act, a common-sense law that requires schools to integrate factual information about social movements, current events, and history of people of color, people with disabilities, and LGBT people into existing social studies lessons, was signed into law in July of this year. The very next day, anti-equality extremists filed paperwork to place a referendum to overturn the law, which also prevents schools from adopting instructional materials that discriminate, on the June 2012 ballot.

Equality California, alongside a coalition of California LGBT advocacy groups, such as the Courage Campaign, has been fighting to keep FAIR off the ballot since July. The coalition, known as Protect FAIR, includes people of faith, labor organizations, LGBT rights groups, disability rights advocates, racial justice organizations, and many other groups who care about equality.

Protect FAIR officials are asking Californians to report anti-equality signature gatherers to their Decline-to-Sign Hotline at (877) 440-9585 and sign the Protect FAIR Petition at www.faireducation.org, and are asking all concerned citizens to make a monetary contribution.

A call-to-action YouTube video can be found at www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIdqUszdZ0s&feature=youtu.be.

Protect FAIR officials say the FAIR Education Act isn't just about education - it connects to all of our battles for equality. The ongoing struggle by people with disabilities to gain full equality is an important part of our American heritage - one that should be shared in California classrooms.

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