SACRAMENTO, Calif. An attempt by California's Democrat-controlled legislature to limit all public school curricula and supplemental items containing material demeaning to homosexuals appears to have derailed after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger pledged to veto the measure if it advances to his desk.
Word of his decision was a blow to gay legislators and activists, who championed the bill's May 11 passage in the state Senate. It passed by just one vote. The bill is now in the assembly where its awaiting committee hearings.
The measure, authored by Sheila Kuehl, D-Los Angeles, also requires all textbooks to contain the historical contributions of gays, lesbians and the transgendered to American society.
While Christian conservatives are cheering Schwarzenegger's decision, they are still encouraging constituents to register their displeasure for the bill. They are also asking the public to continue lobbying their assembly representatives and tell them to nix the homosexual-friendly bill.
Penny Harrington, director of legislation for Concerned Women for America in California, said the phone calls work. Prior to the Senate vote, Harrington said her organization targeted four Democrats as important swing votes and sent out alerts asking supporters to contact them
"While we are very disappointed that SB 1437 ultimately passed the Senate, we were encouraged that one of those swing votes joined all the Republicans in opposing this bill, and that two of the other swing votes abstained," she said. "These senators clearly understand the concern of parents throughout the state who are shocked that legislators would vote to remove autonomy from local districts and force curricula and policy changes that will have far-reaching negative ramifications for California's children if passed."
Harrington added that conservatives are hoping that even greater bipartisan opposition in the assembly will prompt a legislative upset.
"For this to occur, however, pastors and church leaders must help create awareness of this threat and encourage their churches to take an active role in protecting our children," the director said.
The conservative lobbyists are also asking residents to call Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's office to push for the remaining stop-gap measure: a veto. Once the bill is on the governor's desk, he has until Sept. 30 to sign or veto the legislation.
In the meantime, the governor is conducting a phone poll on the bill and conservatives are being urged to spend the 30 seconds or so it takes to do the push-button poll.
"This terrible bill forces local schools to go against parents by mandating transsexual, bisexual and homosexual 'education' upon their impressionable children," Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families, said in a news release. "Whose children are they, anyway? This mental molestation of kids as young as kindergarten is very wrong. Children deserve academics, not sexual indoctrination."
Two more on the horizon
While the threat of SB 1437 appears to have abated, the danger is not over since it was just one of three separate proposals that would change public education.
And while an enormous amount of resources have been pumped into the SB 1437 legislative campaign, two other proposed billsalready passed by the Assembly and now in the Senatewill incorporate homosexuality into school curriculum. AB 606, sponsored by Lloyd Levine, D-Van Nuys, requires local school districts to "establish and publicize an anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policy that prohibits discrimination and harassment based on specified characteristics, including, but not limited to, actual or perceived gender identity and sexual orientation." That bill is before the Senate Education Committee, but it is not scheduled until June.
The second bill, AB 1056, Judy Chu, D-Monterey Park, is being called a "tolerance" pilot program. It was heard in the Senate Education Committee May 10 and placed on "suspense" where it will be considered in June when a clearer state fiscal outlook is known.