SACRAMENTO, Calif. Three of California's religious freedom legal organizations are teaming up with the national Alliance Defense Fund in launching an initiative drive to block SB 48, the new state law that mandates the teaching of homosexual curriculum to children as young as kindergarten.
The drive to get the initiativeThe Children Learning Accurate Social Science Acton the ballot is already under way and sponsors have until July 11 to collect the needed 700,000 signatures to qualify.
The CLASS Act drive is the second one launched since the bill was signed into law last year by Gov. Jerry Brown. The first campaign, Stop SB 48, was circulated last fall, but fell just short of garnering enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.
In addition to the Alliance Defense Fund, the CLASS Act is also sponsored by Advocates for Faith & Freedom, the National Center for Law & Policy and the Pacific Justice Institute. The three groups have been major players in defense of traditional values, including support of Proposition 8.
As with same-sex marriage, the pro-family groups said the new state law forces families to subject their children to lifestyles and beliefs contrary to their family and biblical values.
In a joint statement from all four groups, the attorneys said the CLASS Act "advocates an accurate teaching of history."
"This initiative ensures that people recognized in social science curriculum are included because of their contributions to society, not their sexual conduct," the statement read. "The CLASS Act focuses social studies where it should beon an individual's contributions to history, not their sexual preference."
Approved by the state legislature last year and implemented in January, SB 48, officially known as the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful Education Act, requires that social science curriculum discuss transgender, homosexual, and bisexual figures in history. No age group is exempt from the law, including kindergartners, and parents are banned from opting their children out of such instruction on moral or religious grounds.
Supporters of the SB 48 said the was needed to prevent discrimination in the classroom and that those involved in the gay rights movement deserve to be recognized.
Of particular concern to Christian conservatives is an element of the law that forbids any classroom instruction that paints homosexuality in a negative light, a mandate that pro-family experts say prevents teachers and students from discussing such issues as the health risks associated with the gay lifestyle and objections over gay marriage.
"SB 48 is not about preventing discrimination," said Robert Tyler, founder of Advocates for Faith & Freedom. "Rather SB 48 mandates positive discussions in public schools about homosexuality and transgender issues that will ultimately promote these lifestyles to our children. The CLASS Act will effectively repeal this dangerous legislation."
Tyler, who is serving on a statewide steering committee for the initiative, said SB 48 is representative of an ongoing agenda to undermine traditional families while normalizing homosexuality.
"The last decade has been an era of where students have become the target of an extreme anti-family social agenda," he said. "For example, the CTA (California Teacher's Association) has launched an effort described as "gender liberation," which dangerously propagates an idea that children don't have to be tied to gender norms and that they can choose their own gender. SB 48 is the capstone to an agenda that runs contrary to traditional moral and Biblical principles."
Dean Broyles, founder of the National Center for Law & Policy, called the new law "a dark legislative stain on the cultural landscape of California."
"SB 48 threatens to fundamentally undermine parental authority and damage religious freedom by coercively indoctrinating our most precious and valuable resource, our children, to not only tolerate but to embrace GLBT "values"starting as young as 5 years old."
Broyles went on to say that Christian teachers and administrators would also be muzzled to express their beliefs in the classroom, forcing them to choose between upholding their religious values or quitting their jobs.
"Our already struggling public schools should focus on improving themselves as academic institutions, rather than increasingly becoming a place for polarizing politicians to experiment with radical secular 'progressive' utopian social engineering, coercively forcing by legal mandate their corrupt agenda on our impressionable young children."
As part of its public education campaign on SB 48, the legal groups are notifying pastors that promoting the new initiative on the church grounds is legal as long as the effort takes up less than 10 percent of the body's resources. That means pastors may discuss the issue from the pulpit and hold petition-signing and voter registration drives.
In addition, all four groups have offered legal assistance to any pastor or church that is challenged for their civic involvement.
For more information, visit www.stopsb48.com.