The textbook battle: SB1437

State Senator Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica, wrote a bill that passed the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday that would require California schools to purchase textbooks that reflect the historical and sociological contributions of gay people.

This bill, which is strongly opposed by the Anaheim-based Traditional Values Coalition, is only about replacing negative and stereotyped images of the LGBT community with more informed ones for the California youths.

Adding this content to our state’s textbooks is positive in two ways; first, children will learn that homosexuals, just like women and people of color, can be productive, influential parts of our history; second, children struggling with their own sexual identity will see that there are homosexuals that have achieved greatness.

The bill still needs to get passed by the State Senate, and then it’s in the hands of Schwarzenegger. Kuehl said that getting the bill passed was personal:

“It would have been extremely helpful to me had I had this curriculum in school,” said Kuehl. “I was deep in the closet all through my adolescence and my 20s, and I hadn’t heard anything about being a lesbian except that it was horrible. I was very frightened.”

[SF Chronicle]

Opponents of the bill are self-centered. Bloggers like Spunky Home School or Michael Westfall at Spero News are talking like changing the sentence, “Walt Whitman was an American poet,” to “Walt Whitman was a homosexual American poet,” will somehow make the world fall to pieces, and children will start forgetting that they have a mother and father, and everyone will want to be gay.

But the fact is, textbooks will just note the sexual orientation of known homosexual figures, but wouldn’t require teachers to talk about who Walt Whitman was sleeping with, as Spunky suggests.

Schwarzenegger’s record on gay-related legislation

Sen. Dick Ackerman said this week he thinks the Legislature will approve SB 1437, which would put its future in the hands of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Here’s a look at the governor’s record on gay legislation:

• Vetoed: AB 849 (2005) to allow gay marriage.
• Vetoed: AB 866 (2005) to prohibit anti-gay rhetoric in political campaigns.
• Signed: AB 1400 (2005) to prohibit discrimination by businesses on the basis of sexual orientation and marital status.
• Signed: AB 1586 (2005) to prohibit insurance companies from denying health coverage because of a gender change.
• Signed: SB 973 (2005) to allow public employees to transfer death benefits to domestic partners.
• Signed: AB 2208 (2004) to require insurance companies offer health care benefits to domestic partners.
• Signed: AB 2900 (2004) to amend law to create a consistent statutory scheme against discrimination on the basis of race, religion, gender and sexuality.
• Signed: SB 1234 (2004) to require state and local law enforcement use a uniform definition of hate crimes.
[List Via OC Register]

  3 comments for “The textbook battle: SB1437

  1. May 4, 2006 at 5:58 pm

    I keep hearing that only couples comprised of 1 man and 1 woman is natural. (not biblical; read the old testament).

    It seems to me that since about 10% of our population has always been homosexual then emprically that must be natural as well.

  2. May 4, 2006 at 8:10 pm

    You’re right that it’s pretty natural…and I think that the biblical argument has no place in the debate over homosexuals receiving basic human rights. The bible should have nothing to do with the way we govern.

  3. May 4, 2006 at 10:21 pm

    you are absolutely right

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