The Fourth of July is a celebration of freedom. Our founding fathers came to this country seeking religious, political and personal freedom. They fought, and many died, for the right to live according to their religious beliefs and to protect all citizens' right to freedom of speech. The very values on which this great country was founded, as stated in the Constitution and Bill of Rights, are under attack here in California.
Today, a number of legislative bills challenge our religious beliefs and what is taught to our children. Another bill challenges the value of life. These bills have been working their way through the legislative system. After the passage of the state budget—due by June 15—legislators turn their focus to successfully passing their "pet" legislation. A package of pro-homosexual bills and a life-threatening physician-assisted suicide bill is included in the hundreds of bills moving forward.
Parental authority challenged
In mid-June, two bills important to the biblical values of Christians were considered by the Assembly Education Committee. Senate Bill (SB) 1437 attempts to ensure that homosexuality is given favorable treatment in our state's public-school classrooms and textbooks, and Senate Bill (SB) 1441 would add actual or perceived "sexual orientation" to anti-discrimination laws covering all state programs and activities, effectively equating the protection of alternative sexual behaviors with race, religion, and gender under California state law. These bills are now being scheduled for a final vote on the Assembly floor before they go to the governor for his signature or veto.
In June, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vowed to veto SB 1437 if it reaches his desk. In the face of that statement, the bill's author—lesbian Senator Sheila Kuehl, D-Los Angeles—has promised to change the governor's mind and continues to push both of these pro-homosexual bills through the Assembly to the governor's desk by the Aug. 30 deadline. The governor then has until Sept. 30 to veto or sign a bill, or it becomes law by default.
In addition, the California Senate committee system will consider two other sexual orientation bills before they head to the Senate floor for a final vote later this summer. Assembly Bill (AB) 606 mandates that local school districts "establish and publicize an anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policy" prohibiting any attitude that may be considered discriminatory based on sexual orientation. he homosexual caucus considers AB 606 another incremental step to make sexual orientation an immutable characteristic, demanding the same rights of protection as gender or race under the California Constitution.
Finally, Assembly Bill (AB) 1056 requires the Department of Education to establish and implement a five-year pilot project in 10 schools to develop and use a sexual orientation/homosexual tolerance program in the public schools for a total cost of $250,000 for each of the five years.
Bill threatens ill and aged
On June 20, the Senate Judiciary Committee was scheduled to consider Assembly Bill (AB 651). Results of that vote were not available at press time. This legislation would allow doctors to administer a lethal dose of medicine to terminally ill patients—a practice that devalues the life of the aged and infirm. AB 651 has not yet received an Assembly vote. Rather than face the demise of their bill last summer, the authors—Assembly members Patty Berg and Lloyd Levine—"gutted and amended," literally "cut and pasted" language from their assisted-suicide bill into another bill that had already passed the Assembly. Should this bill pass the Senate, it would have to return to the Assembly for a final vote.
Assuming the budget has been signed, the legislature is scheduled to take its summer recess July 7 to Aug. 7. Your representatives will be in their home districts for fund-raising and campaigning. This is a good time to contact them and let them know your opinions on issues that impact your faith and your values.
Californians spoke in the June election—and defeated both propositions on the ballot. Perhaps the biggest surprise was the definitive defeat of Proposition 82—"Preschool For All," which would have cost $2.4 billion annually. In addition, Proposition 81, a $600 million bond to finish incomplete library projects, was also defeated. These results are being seen as a resounding NO vote to new taxes. Californians spoke and legislators and politicians heard, as did Gov. Schwarzenegger, who apparently listened to the voices of many protesting SB 1437.
Californians must continue to remain vigilant and protect their rights and their values—even their freedom to raise their children with the religious beliefs and values they choose. Blatant homosexual instruction in public schools threatens our children—and all the children of California. Physician-assisted suicide threatens the lives of our grandparents and parents.
As we celebrate freedom this month, let's arm ourselves with the truth, and decide to participate in government for the benefit of families, children, and others less able to protect themselves.
Barbara McPherson is the legislative program coordinator for California Family Council.