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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 14, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 41
California's FAIR Education Act safe
Bigots' signature drive fails - no ballot in 2012
Section One
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California's FAIR Education Act safe
Bigots' signature drive fails - no ballot in 2012

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

California's FAIR Education Act will not go up for a vote in 2012.

Anti-LGBT organizers admitted on October 11 that they had failed to get enough signatures on a petition to refer the law to California voters.

The Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful Education Act requires California schools to integrate age-appropriate and factual information about LGBT people, people with disabilities, and people of color into existing social science curricula.

The law was passed in July and signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown.

A coalition of right-wing and religious organizations calling itself Stop SB 48 then announced it would circulate a petition to refer the measure to California voters, much like Referendum 71 in Washington state.

The petition effort was controversial from the start and only became more so when Stop SB 48 members were caught lying about the provisions of the bill, stating that the law exposes children to child molesters or that the repeal attempt was a bill opposing child molesters.

Since it is illegal in California to lie in order to collect signatures on a petition, the Courage Campaign filed a formal complaint with the California attorney general and several municipal authorities.

'Today's victory shows that their lies cannot stand up to our truth,' said Roland Palencia, Equality California executive director and interim executive committee co-chair of the coalition to protect the FAIR Education Act.

'But we know that opponents of equality won't stop here. We remain vigilant, not only to make sure that people know the facts about the FAIR Education Act, but also to continue preparing for new attacks on the FAIR Education Act at the ballot box, in the legislature and in courts of law.'

'Now it's time to focus on implementing the FAIR Education Act and demonstrate to the public that our opponents' lies are nothing more than smear tactics designed to censor the historical contributions of LGBT people, people with disabilities and people of color from social studies classes,' said Laura Valdez, interim executive director of Gay-Straight Alliance Network and co-chair of the interim executive committee of the coalition to protect the FAIR Education Act.

'Already, we are working with school administrators, teachers, students, parents, and community groups to ensure the fair and accurate portrayal of historically marginalized groups in schools, and we will continue to work to educate the public.'

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