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"If you're a black American, you can't help it. You are born that way. There is not one scintilla of credible scientific evidence that homosexuality is biological in origin." -- Sen. Bill Morrow, R-Oceanside. Associated Press photo by Rich Pedroncelli
"All we're saying is let us also be reflected in history." -- Sen. Sheila Kuhl, D-Santa Monica. Associated Press photo by Rich Pedroncelli
Senate OKs bill on gays in textbooks
Emotions run high about teaching their contributions
- Greg Lucas, San Francisco Chronicle Sacramento Bureau
Friday, May 12, 2006
Sacramento -- After a sometimes emotional debate, the state Senate approved a bill Thursday requiring public school instructional materials to contain "age appropriate" discussions of the contributions of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
The measure also prohibits teaching or textbooks that reflect adversely on people because of their sexual orientation.
Opponents argued that the bill goes too far and is unnecessary, because schools can voluntarily offer instruction about gays.
Supporters said textbooks are silent about the contributions of gays and lesbians just as they were once silent about those of African Americans and other minority groups.
"All we're saying is let us also be reflected in history," said the bill's author, Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica.
Kuehl, who was the first openly lesbian lawmaker in the state Legislature, said that when she went to school in the 1940s, "there was only white men in history. But I knew who Betsy Ross, Betty Crocker and Betty Boop were."
The hot-button issue has garnered national attention because California represents a major chunk of the nation's textbook market.
Kuehl's bill was sent to the Assembly by the 40-member Senate on a 22-15 vote. Sen. Dean Florez of Shafter (Kern County) was the only Democrat who voted no. Sen. Mike Machado, D-Linden (San Joaquin County), was present but did not vote.
Given the heavy Democratic majority in the Assembly, the bill has a good chance of being sent to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has yet to take a position on the measure.
Debate over the measure -- as in its previous committee hearings -- was sometimes emotional, occasionally stormy.
Republican lawmakers said the bill goes beyond simply eliminating a perceived bias against gays. They said the bill promotes being gay.
"If you're a black American, you can't help it. You are born that way," said Sen. Bill Morrow, R-Oceanside (San Diego County). "There is not one scintilla of credible scientific evidence that homosexuality is biological in origin. That is a myth. It is behavioral."
Senate Republican Leader Dick Ackerman of Irvine said school districts don't like "having something dictated from this Capitol" and could elect to offer instruction on the contributions of gays on their own.
In support of the measure, Sen. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough, recounted a conversation with her 17-year-old son, Jackson, about Oscar Wilde, the 19th century Irish writer.
"Oscar Wilde was gay. Oscar Wilde was put in prison and forced into labor for two years because he was gay. Subsequently, he went mad," Speier said her son told her. Had he not been imprisoned, her son said, "he could have been as great as Shakespeare."
Invoking Thomas Jefferson
Sen. Debra Bowen, D-Marina del Rey (Los Angeles County), attempted to rebut an argument made by groups opposed to expanding gay rights that it doesn't matter whom someone slept with in history.
Bowen cited the reams written about Thomas Jefferson and his relationship with Sally Hemings, one of his slaves. "That's a fairly significant section of any Jeffersonian library," Bowen said.
She also cited the Starr report detailing the relationship between former President Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky.
Schwarzenegger supports domestic partnerships but vetoed a bill last year allowing same-sex marriages. Seeking re-election in November, he is less likely to sign Kuehl's bill.
Even if he does, changes to history textbooks won't happen soon.
California adopts new standards for kindergarten through eighth grade in the four core subject matters -- history, math, science and English -- every six years.
The state just completed history and is revising science standards this year. English is slated for review in 2008.
E-mail Greg Lucas at email@example.com.
Page B - 8
Senate OKs gay-studies bill
The measure would change social science textbooks.
By Judy Lin -- Sacramento Bee Capitol Bureau
Published 2:15 am PDT Friday, May 12, 2006
Story appeared on Page A3 of The Bee
Future social science textbooks used in California would include the contributions of gays under legislation approved Thursday in the state Senate.
The bill, SB 1437, passed on a 22-15 vote and will now go to the Assembly.
Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica, who wrote the bill, said it will help promote self-esteem among gay students, who currently suffer high rates of suicide and drug abuse.
The measure requires schools to adopt age-appropriate study of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. It also recasts current law prohibiting school activity that reflects adversely on people because of their sex, color, gender, religion, disability, nationality and ethnicity to include "sexual orientation."
Thursday's vote broke down mainly along party lines, with Democrats supporting the bill and Republicans opposed. Dean Florez, D-Shafter, voted against the bill and Denise Ducheny, D-San Diego, and Mike Machado, D-Linden, abstained.
The bill has drawn criticism from conservative religious groups opposed to such teaching in the classroom.
Sen. Bill Morrow, R-Oceanside, called the bill dangerous, saying it confuses people who make a lifestyle choice with civil protection against racial discrimination.
"There is not one scintilla of credible scientific evidence to suggest that homosexuality is biological in origin," Morrow said.
Sen. Richard Alarcón, D-Sun Valley, said the bill allows the state to teach tolerance to its youth.
"Let's give the next generation a chance to do better than we did," he said.
Kuehl, who is recognized as the Legislature's first openly gay member, said she didn't choose a sexual orientation, which cost her an acting career. While attending school in the 1940s, she was exposed to the achievements of only white men.
"Growing up, all I knew about was Betsy Ross, Betty Crocker or Betty Boop. Since my name wasn't Betty, I thought I was toast," Kuehl said.
Calif. Senate OKs gay curriculum bill
Christopher Curtis, PlanetOut Network
Friday, May 12, 2006 / 11:09 AM
SUMMARY: The state Senate approves a requirement that California public schools teach the contributions of gay men and lesbians to history.
The California Senate approved a bill Thursday to include the contributions of gay men and lesbians in social-science curricula in public schools.
The 22-15 vote broke down mainly along party lines, with Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed. The bill now goes to the state Assembly.
Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica, authored the bill to get schools to adopt age-appropriate study of LGBT accomplishments.
"The invisibility of LGBT people in history materials in schools exacerbates already hostile school climates in which homophobic bullying, harassment and violence are rampant. Studies show that a bias-free and LGBT-inclusive curriculum fosters tolerance, resulting in greater feelings of student safety and less bullying of students who are perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender," Kuehl said in a written statement.
"Today's vote brings us one step closer to our goal of safe schools for all children, and I am very grateful that so many of my colleagues in the California Senate saw the pressing need for this bill," the lesbian senator added.
"All students deserve to learn history from a fair and balanced perspective," said Geoffrey Kors, executive director of Equality California. The bill "permits teachers to use their discretion and develop age-appropriate materials within the social-science curriculum," Kors noted.
In the last school year, 64 percent of LGBT students reported instances of anti-gay verbal harassment, and an alarming 36 percent reported physical harassment on the basis of sexual orientation, according to the 2005 National School Climate Survey conducted by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.
Sen. Richard Alarcon, D-Los Angeles, said the new curriculum would allow the state to teach tolerance. "Let's give the next generation a chance to do better than we did," he told the Sacramento Bee.
But Sen. Bill Morrow, R-San Juan Capistrano, called the bill dangerous. "There is not one scintilla of credible scientific evidence to suggest that homosexuality is biological in origin," he told the Bee.
Even though California's lower house approved a same-sex marriage bill this year -- only to be slapped down by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger -- Seth Kilbourn, political director for Equality California, believes the curriculum bill now faces a tough fight.
"Well, I think we have our work cut out for us in the Assembly," Kilbourn said. "But with enough grass-roots organizing I think we have a chance."
California Debates Adding Gay History to Textbooks
Bill Would Require Books to Include Contributions of Homosexuals
By BRIAN ROONEY
May 12, 2006 — - California is considering a change to the way it teaches history.
The state already requires mentions of the historical roles of women, African-Americans and Asians.
Today the Democratic-controlled state Senate approved a bill that would require social science textbooks to note the contributions homosexuals have made to history. It's apparently the first attempt to pass a law of this kind in the country, and of course it has sparked a furor.
The law is sponsored by one of six openly gay members of the California legislature.
"All we are saying is let us also be reflected in history accurately," Democratic state Senate member Sheila Kuehl said.
The bill would add the contributions of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender to the "total development of California and the United States," she said.
Kuehl became a familiar face in the country 45 years ago on the popular television show "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis." She says children should be taught homosexuals are part of life and history.
"You could study James Baldwin's novels and they say James Baldwin was an African-American writer, but they could say he was an African-American gay writer," Kuehl said.
Positive Message or Assault on Free Speech?
The president of a pro-family organization who watched from the state Senate gallery when the bill passed today called this a war on families and children.
"The politicians have forced sexual indoctrination upon kids as young as kindergarten," Campaign for Children and Families president Randy Thomasson said.
Proponents say the bill, which states the material should be age-appropriate, sends an important message to gay children.
"When students see themselves reflected in the curriculum, they feel like they belong at school. They stay at school, and they get an education," said Kevin Jennings of the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network.
As one of the largest buyers of schoolbooks, California could influence the content of textbooks in other states, and that worries some conservative organizations.
"This is an assault on the free speech and freedom of religious expression of people who don't approve of homosexual behavior," said Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council.
But before any books will be edited, this gay history bill has to pass the California House and be signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has already vetoed a bill to legalize gay marriage.
少子化問題で提言―企業の果たすべき役割示す (日本商工会議所 2006.5.12)
Alexander, a Russian management consultant at an audit company seen here posing on Red Square, is planning to take to the streets of Moscow on May 27 along other Russian gays and lesbians in defiance of a local authority ban.(AFP/Yuri Kadobnov)
Russian gays to protest against a life in the shadows
by Delphine Thouvenot
Thu May 11, 12:12 PM ET
Alexander, a management consultant at an audit company, hardly looks like a radical. But this month he'll be joining something Russia has never seen -- a gay rights march through central Moscow.
Being gay in Russia means living in the shadows and only now are homosexuals daring to fight for their rights.
"There are still no rights for homosexuals here. It'll be at least 10 years before there's a law against discrimination, or gay marriage is allowed or we can adopt children," Alexander, 21, said.
In Russia's first-ever march against anti-gay intolerance, Russian gays and lesbians are planning to take to the streets of Moscow on May 27 in defiance of a local authority ban.
Moscow's powerful mayor, Yury Luzhkov, says he won't allow the march because city residents are "opposed to such public expressions of sexual orientation." The dominant Orthodox Church and local Islamic authorities have also lashed out at public displays of homosexuality.
After the rigid moral conservatism of the Soviet era, homosexuality was decriminalised in Russia in 1993.
But it was only declassified as a form of mental illness in 1999. Intolerance against gays is still widespread and many homosexuals, particularly outside the country's major cities, are forced to hide their sexual orientation.
Activists say violent homophobia may be on the rise in a country where the deputy speaker of parliament, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, has called for the death penalty against homosexuals.
Last week, dozens of ultra-nationalists and Russian Orthodox activists picketed two gay parties at Moscow nightclubs, attacking party-goers and chanting homophobic abuse.
Eating a salad in a central Moscow cafe, Alexander says he would like this month's march to be a first step in a gay rights movement like that in Western countries during the 1970s.
But, even though he doesn't frequent the gay clubs or gyms that have been opening up in Moscow in recent years, he knows the reality of being gay in Russia all too well.
He prefers that his surname and the name of the international auditing firm where he works not be published and says he would never be seen holding hands with his boyfriend in the street.
Most of Alexander's family have still not come to terms with his sexual orientation and he faced taunts at the school in the eastern Siberian village where he grew up. "I think that taught me good lessons for life," he says.
In 1999, Alexander's mother read a diary he was keeping and discovered he was gay. She immediately took him to see a psychiatrist.
"Instead of reassuring my mother, the psychiatrist told her that it was a disease but that perhaps it could be cured if I was willing to make an effort," he says.
Only his grandparents, who still live in the village of 1,200 people in the remote northeast Yakutiya region where he comes from, call him often and ask after his boyfriend.
For Alexander, homophobia in Russia is also linked to a lack of debate about gays.
"Disturbing topics such as homosexuality are not discussed on television. Added to the conservatism of the Soviet era, this lack of information is the main reason there's so much resistance in society."
Lately, Alexander has been thinking of leaving the country for good and joining his boyfriend in Israel.
県生活学習館：指摘の性差書籍撤去 「内容確認し戻したい」 (毎日・福井版 2006/05/12朝刊)
福井県がジェンダー論の書籍撤去 東大の上野教授らの本 (共同 2006/05/11)
2006年05月11日 / 「む・しネット」
敦賀市議 今大地 晴美 他 ２団体 ４４名
福井県生活学習館 「内容過激」と書籍撤去 男女共同参画推進員指摘 性教育など１５０冊
"Evitare la confusione con altri tipi di unioni basate su un amore debole si presenta oggi come una speciale urgenza."
ローマ法王、同性愛問題など伊の新政権にクギ (日本経済 2006/05/12)
"No ai Pacs e alle unioni omosessuali"
Il discorso del Pontefice Benedetto XVI su matrimonio e famiglia. "Le unioni che non sono fra uomo e donna rappresentano un "amore debole". Capezzone: "Ma il popolo dei cattolici non la pensa così"
Roma, 11 maggio 2006 - No ai Pacs, no alle unioni omosessuali, simbolo di un "amore debole" in confronto a quello che esiste fra uomo e donna, e che è santificato dal matrimonio, e che collabora con Dio alla "procreazione della vita". Sono le ultime parole del papa Benedetto XVI, che oggi in un'udienza ai partecipanti di un congresso internazionale ha ribadito che "la differenze sessuale che connota il corpo dell'uomo e della donna nonè un semplice dato biologico, ma riveste un significato ben più profondo: esprime quella forma dell'amore con cui l'uomo e la donna, diventando una sola carne, possono realizzare un'autentica comunione di persone aperta alla trasmissione della vita".
Subito è arrivata la replica dell'onorevole di Rifondazione Comunista, Vladimir Luxuria, che ha commentato le parole del Pontefice dicendo che "non esiste una gerarchia di sentimenti: l'amore,in quanto tale, è sempre una grande forza che ci consente di proiettarci in un rapporto a lungo termine". Attonito anche il leader dei Radicali Italiani, Daniele Capezzone: "E' una vera e propria mancanza di carità - ha detto Capezzone - resto convinto che ci sia un grande fossato fra le gerarchie vaticane e il popolo dei credenti italiani, che sono e restano tolleranti".
Il papa ha anche inviato i suoi auguri di buon mandato a Giorgio Napolitano, neo presidente della Repubblica, invocando la "costante assistenza divina per una illuminata ed efficace azione di promozione del bene comune nel solco degli autentici valori
umani e cristiani che costituiscono il mirabile patrimonio del popolo italiano''.
Il Papa attacca il matrimonio tra gay, sinistra reagisce
giovedì, 11 maggio 2006 9.55
CITTA' DEL VATICANO (Reuters) - Papa Benedetto, parlando di un argomento che dovrà affrontare il prossimo governo di centrosinistra, ha condannato oggi il matrimonio tra gay e il riconoscimento legale delle coppie di fatto.
Con il 79enne Pontefice tedesco hanno subito polemizzato alcuni esponenti della sinistra, accusandolo di voler scrivere l'agenda politica italiana.
Il Papa, parlando ad una conferenza sul matrimonio e la famiglia, ha ribadito la posizione della chiesa, che il matrimonio deve essere l'unione tra un uomo e una donna e aperto alla procreazione.
La coalizione del premier in pectore Romano Prodi ha promesso alcune forme di riconoscimento delle coppie non sposate, ma non ha dato il proprio sostegno al matrimonio tra gay nel suo programma.
Tuttavia, alcuni partiti della coalizione sostengono i diritti degli omosessuali, tra cui il matrimonio.
Franco Grillini, deputato dell'Ulivo apertamente gay, ha accusato il Papa di cercare di "scrivere l'agenda politica" e di "ignorare i diritti di milioni di italiani che vivono insieme".
Vladimir Luxuria, il primo parlamentare "transgender" in Europa e eletto tra le fila di Rifondazione comunista, ha detto che lo stato laico dovrebbe "riconoscere e regolare" le unioni tra omosessuali.
Pope sparks new 'gay marriage' row
PaCS campaigners accuse him of political interference
(ANSA) - Rome, May 11 - Pope Benedict XVI provoked a political row in Italy on Thursday by reaffirming the Catholic Church's firm opposition to any form of 'gay marriage' .
Speaking to participants at an international congress in the Vatican on the family, the pope said marriage between men and women had a deep significance connected to procreation and the continuation of society .
"It is especially urgent today to avoid confusing it with other types of union based on a weaker love," he said .
Centre-left leader Romano Prodi has said his soon-to-be-formed government will provide some form of legal recognition for gay or unwed heterosexual couples .
Campaigners for these rights in the centre left accused the pontiff of interfering in national politics and objected strongly to his reference to "weaker love". "There is no hierarchy of feelings. Gay unions are not based on weak love," said Vladimir Luxuria, a former drag queen who has been elected as a Communist MP .
Franco Grillini, a leftwing MP who is a longstanding campaigner for gay rights, said he wanted Italy's legal structure to reflect the different sorts of families in the country today. "I would like to remind the pope that the family and relationships between people are changing" he said .
Arcigay, Italy's main gay rights association, said the pope's words were "an offence" for a large part of the population and accused Benedict of trying to dictate policy to the country's lawmakers .
Meanwhile, politicians in the centre-right alliance applauded the pope and said parliament would in any case decide independently what action to take on the issue .
Support for the pope came from all four parties in the centre-right coalition. MPs said it was important to uphold "natural law" and accused the centre left of showing disrespect for the Catholic Church .
Homosexual "marriages" are already legal in several European countries. Prodi and a large chunk of the centre left support legislation akin to France's Civil Solidarity Pact (PaCS), which grants cohabiting couples similar administrative and financial benefits as married ones .
Prodi, who is Catholic, has stressed that he has no intention of bringing in full gay marriages if he becomes premier next year. But he argues that some legal provision is needed for unmarried couples .
But Italy's top ranking cardinal, Camillo Ruini, says it makes no difference because any legal framework for same-sex couples is modelled on the institution of traditional marriage .
"Marriage reflects that form of love with which man and woman become one flesh, and realise an authentic communion of persons open to the transmission of life", Benedict said .
"Only the rock of total love between man and woman is capable of being a foundation for the building of a society which can become the home for all men" .
Pope attacks gay marriage, some politicians upset
Thu May 11, 2006 7:27 PM IST
By Philip Pullella
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict, speaking out on a topic that Italy's incoming centre-left government will likely have to confront, on Thursday condemned gay marriage and legal recognition of unwed couples.
The 79-year-old German Pope immediately came under fire from some leftists who accused him of trying to write the country's political agenda.
The Pope, speaking to a conference on marriage and the family, reaffirmed the Church's position that marriage had to be a union between a man and a woman and open to procreation.
"Only the rock of total and irrevocable love between a man and a woman is capable of being the foundation of building a society that becomes a home for all mankind," he said.
He told the group that marriage was between a man and a woman "who are open to the transmission of life and thus cooperate with God in the generation of new human beings".
The coalition of incoming Prime Minister Romano Prodi promises some form of recognition for unmarried couples but has stopped short of openly supporting gay marriage as part of its programme.
However, some coalition parties back greater rights for homosexuals, including marriage, and the issue is widely expected to surface sooner or later after the government is sworn in next week.
Franco Grillini, a leftist parliamentarian who is openly gay, accused the Pope of trying "to write a political agenda" and of "ignoring the rights of million of Italians who live together".
Vladimir Luxuria, Europe's first "transgender" lawmaker and a member of Prodi's coalition, went further in criticising the Pope, saying it was the duty of a lay state to "recognise and regulate" homosexual unions.
Italy's Catholic Church has already served notice to the centre left that it will fight any move to recognise civil partnership for unwed heterosexual couples and gay couples.
Some in the centre left support a legal recognition similar to that in France, which in 1999 granted all couples the right to form civil unions and have the right to joint social security, limited inheritance rights and other benefits.
But in his address, the Pope took direct aim at such formal recognition of couple who are not married.
"Today, it has become urgent to avoid confusion between (marriage) and other types of unions which are based on a love that is weak," he said.
Luxuria, the leftist parliamentarian, criticised the Pope for suggesting that gay love was weaker than heterosexual love.
Gay unions are already legal in several European countries, including traditionally Catholic Spain. Britain has introduced a law allowing gays to formalise their relationships.
Pope Condemns Same-Sex Unions, Calls Gay Love `Weak' (Update1)
May 11 (Bloomberg) -- Pope Benedict XVI denounced gay marriage, describing love between people of the same sex as ``weak.''
``Only the foundation of complete and irrevocable love between man and woman is capable of forming the basis of a society that becomes the home of all men,'' Benedict told a convention of the John Paul II Pontifical Institute today. The pope said ``confusing marriage with other types of unions based on a love that is weak'' should be avoided.
The 79-year-old Benedict has weighed in on issues such as gay unions, abortion pills and embryonic stem-cell research since his election as pontiff more than a year ago. Still, more than 71 percent of Italians are favorable to gay civil unions such as those allowed in the U.K., Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium, according to a January report by research group Eurispes.
While the 1929 Lateran Treaty outlines the separation of church and state in Italy, about 43 percent of Italians believe the pope has meddled excessively in politics, according to the Eurispes report, published Jan. 17. While Italians identify themselves ``culturally'' as Catholics, their beliefs contrast with church doctrine, according to the report, based on the research institute's Dec. 22-Jan. 5 interviews with 1,070 people.
``When the pope speaks of `weak love' regarding millions of men and women, it's no longer surprising at the level of interference but at the much deeper level of a real lack of charity,'' said Daniele Capezzone, an official in the Radical Party, according to news agency Ansa.
The Pontiff plans to travel this month to Poland, the homeland of his predecessor, to pay tribute to John Paul II, who died last April. Poland's government today risked sparking protests over its social policies after the deputy chairman of a coalition party branded homosexuality a ``disease'' and attacked plans for gay-rights parades in Warsaw next month.
Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Canada, don't distinguish between gay and heterosexual weddings, while the U.K. allows civil partnerships that aren't legal marriages. In the U.S., gay weddings or civil unions are only permitted in certain states, including Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont.
To contact the reporter on this story:
Sheyam Ghieth in Rome at firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Updated: May 11, 2006 11:57 EDT
2006年 5月12日 (金) 13:16
［サンフランシスコ １１日 ロイター］ 米カリフォルニア州上院は１１日、ゲイやレズビアンの人々がいかに州の発展に貢献しているかについて公立学校の教科書に記載することを義務付ける法案を可決した。
California okays lessons on gays in textbooks
Thu May 11, 2006 7:32pm ET
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - California's state Senate passed a bill on Thursday that would require textbooks in public schools to instruct students on contributions by gays and lesbians in the state's development.
The Democrat-led state Senate passed the bill on a 22-15 vote and forwarded it to the state Assembly.
The bill by Sen. Sheila Kuehl, the legislature's first openly gay member, would also mandate public school textbooks to include lessons on contributions by transgender people.
Kuehl told Reuters she believes her bill is the first of its kind at the state level and predicted it would win support in the Assembly, where Democrats also have a majority.
"I think it has a very good chance in the Assembly because its members voted for marriage equality," Kuehl said, referring to the chamber's endorsement of same-sex marriage. "I think this is a lot easier vote."
"It would help to shape attitudes of what gay people are really like," Kuehl said, noting their absence in state history textbooks.
Karen England of the conservative Capitol Resource Institute said in a statement the bill "seeks to indoctrinate innocent children caught in the tug-of-war between traditional families and the outrageous homosexual agenda."
A spokesman said Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has not taken a position on Kuehl's bill.
California | Local News
State Senate Endorses Teaching of Gays' Historical Achievements
By Jordan Rau, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
May 12, 2006
SACRAMENTO — Saying more role models could help reduce the social estrangement and high suicide rates of gay and lesbian students, the state Senate voted Thursday to require that the historical contributions of homosexuals in the United States be taught in California schools.
Apparently the first of its kind nationwide, the measure passed with no Republican support. It must also be approved by the Assembly and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has taken no position on it. California's Legislature last year became the first to authorize gay marriage, but Schwarzenegger vetoed the measure.
If passed, the textbook bill could have national implications. California is a huge portion of the textbook market, where it often sets trends, and many publishers put out a specific edition for the state that others can also use.
Textbooks meeting the bill's requirements would not be incorporated into California classrooms until 2012. Social science courses would then include "an age-appropriate study" of the "role and contributions" that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have made to the "economic political and social development" of California and the United States.
Schools are already required to teach the historical and social roles of blacks, women, Native Americans, Latinos, Asians and other ethnic groups.
"Even though we passed an anti-harassment bill seven years ago, it's still pretty obvious that there's a hostile environment for kids who are gay or lesbian — or even thought to be gay or lesbian," said Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica), the bill's author and one of six openly gay legislators. "Part of that stems from the fact that nobody reads about any positive examples."
Social conservatives responded harshly to the Senate's action.
"Happy Mothers Day, California," said a statement issued by Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families, a Sacramento group. "By passing SB 1437, Democrat politicians have declared war on mothers and fathers and their children."
The bill passed the Senate 22 to 15, with all 14 Republicans opposed. Democrat Dean Florez of Shafter voted against the bill, and two of his colleagues, Michael Machado of Linden and Denise Ducheny of San Diego, abstained, which effectively count as "no" votes.
Sen. Bill Morrow (R-Oceanside) called the bill "dangerous" and "insidious" because it lumps sexual orientation — something he said was a "cultural or behavioral lifestyle" — together with race and sex, which are biological. He also said there was no reason for a textbook to point out historical figures' sexual orientation when "their contribution to history has nothing to do with their sexual proclivities."
Kuehl's bill would make the state Board of Education responsible for integrating the subject into curricula. The legislation does not specify what should be included or at what grade level the new material should be taught.
Advocates said subjects might include the 1978 assassination of San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk. Geoffrey Kors, executive director of the gay-rights group Equality California, said textbooks might also specify the sexual orientation of well-known Americans such as writer Langston Hughes.
Kors said that when the state Board of Education approved the latest social science curriculum in 2003, his group asked unsuccessfully for gay issues to be included.
"If you're teaching social movements in schools, and you talk about the United Farm Workers and Cesar Chavez, and you talk about the civil rights movement and Martin Luther King, and you talk about the women's suffrage movement, to leave out the gay rights movement seems glaring," Kors said.
The state Board of Education reevaluates the social studies curriculum every six years. The next review is in 2009, and it takes three years for new books to reach classrooms.
The state board has no position on the Kuehl bill, said Roger Magyar, the board's executive director.
"Until it actually is signed by the governor, from our standpoint it's not law," he said. "We find ourselves invested in enough controversy that we don't have to go out and find more."
Schwarzenegger aides had no comment.
Gay rights groups say homosexual students are two to three times as likely to attempt suicide as their peers, based on studies conducted by academics and state governments. However, most of those studies are at least a decade old.
A national survey conducted last year by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network in New York reported that 75% of homosexual students overheard derogatory remarks often at school, and 38% said they were physically harassed because of their sexual orientation.
The bill's fate in the California Assembly is not clear. Because of its strong contingent of moderate Democrats, it traditionally has been more reluctant than the Legislature's upper house to pass very liberal legislation.
But Kuehl noted: "If gay marriage could pass in the Assembly, this is nothing."
Posted on Thu, May. 11,
Senate proposes adding sexual orientation to textbooks
SACRAMENTO - California children would read about homosexuals' contributions to history under a bill approved Thursday by state senators who often drew on their own childhood experiences in supporting the measure.
The bill would require California's social science textbooks to include the contributions of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people to the state and nation's history. California is the nation's largest buyer of textbooks, with annual spending topping $400 million.
The measure passed 22-15, with no Republican votes. It heads to the Assembly, where opponents vowed another fight.
The bill, introduced by Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica, the state's first openly gay legislator, also would bar textbooks and other instructional material that portrayed gays in a negative light.
Growing up, "there was nobody in the history books except white men" and Betsy Ross, Betty Crocker and Betty Boop, said Kuehl. "All we're saying is, let us also be reflected in history."
Two of three gay students are verbally harassed and one of six is physically harassed, said Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California, which sponsored the legislation. "The invisibility that currently exists (in textbooks) contributes to that," he added.
Other women senators drew parallels to the lack of female or minority role models they saw in history books as children.
Sen. Bill Morrow, R-Oceanside, disputed the comparison.
"If you are a black American, you can't help it, you were born that way," he said. "There is not one scintilla of credible scientific evidence that suggests that homosexuality is biological in origin..... It is behavioral; it is not racial."
Sen. Richard Alarcon, D-Van Nuys, disagreed.
"This is the way ... God made people," said Alarcon. "Let's stop trying to hide this reality."
Republicans oppose diverting money from basic education or singling out any minority unless a historical figure's race or ethnicity is clearly relevant, said Senate GOP Leader Dick Ackerman of Fullerton.
Republicans, like many newspaper editorial boards, "don't think this is an appropriate role for the Legislature to determine how the history books should be written," he said.
Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has not taken a position on the bill.
Karen England, executive director of the Sacramento-based Capitol Resource Institute, called the measure "the most outrageous bill in the California Legislature this year," suggesting it could force schools to end dress codes and gender-specific sports teams as well.
The bill requires that social science textbooks be updated with "age appropriate" language outlining the contributions of gays when schools replace current texts. Social science texts will next be revised in 2012.
State law already bars textbooks portraying people negatively because of their race, sex, color, creed, handicap, national origin, or ancestry. It also requires that the books include the contributions from racial, ethnic and cultural minorities.
On the Net:
Read SB1437 at http://www.sen.ca.gov
Calif. Senate Passes Gay Textbook Bill
by Mark Worrall, 365Gay.com San Francisco Bureau
May 11, 2006 - 5:00 pm ET
(Sacramento, California) The California Senate passed legislation Thursday requiring schools to teach LGBT history.
California already requires that African Americans, native peoples, Mexicans, Asians and Pacific Islanders be included in textbook descriptions of "the economic, political and social development of California and the United States of America, with particular emphasis on portraying the role of these groups in contemporary society."
The bill, by Sen. Sheila Kuehl ( D-Los Angeles) adds gays, lesbians and the transgendered to that list.
The Senate voted 22 - 15 to pass the measure.
“The invisibility of LGBT people in history materials in schools exacerbates already hostile school climates in which homophobic bullying, harassment and violence are rampant," said Kuehl following the vote.
"Studies show that a bias-free and LGBT-inclusive curriculum fosters tolerance, resulting in greater feelings of student safety and less bullying of students who are perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender."
The legislation was supported by Equality California, the state's largest LGBT civil rights group.
"All students deserve to learn history from a fair and balanced perspective,” said Equality California executive director Geoffrey Kors.
“SB 1437 also permits teachers to use their discretion and develop age appropriate materials within the social science curriculum.”
The legislation still needs approval by the Assembly.
But, even if it passes there is no indication Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger would sign it. He has been supportive of some LGBT rights measures but vetoed a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage.
Both gay and conservative groups across the country are watching the progress of the bill.
If the measure becomes law similar legislation could be pursued in other states.
Conservative groups pushing for an amendment to the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage were outraged by the Senate vote.
“This is just another example of how radical the State Senate has become,” said Karen England, Executive Director of Capitol Resource Institute.
“SB 1437 seeks to indoctrinate innocent children caught in the tug-of-war between traditional families and the outrageous homosexual agenda.”
The California Legislative
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender (LGBT) Caucus
同性愛、エイズ…多様な性テーマ 青森で７月「映画祭」 (河北新報 2006/05/11)
上映作は日本映画の「ヘテロ薬」「ｃｈｏｃｏｌａｔｅ」「向日葵（ひまわり）」と、「マイ・ファースト・カミングアウト」（アイスランド）「Ｔｙｉｎｇ ｔｈｅ ｋｎｏｔ」（米国）の５作品。