Conservatives have been outraged about the passage of California’s FAIR Education Act (SB 48) last year, which mandates that schools develop curricula that are LGBT inclusive. Last year, they attempted to challenge it with a referendum, but failed. Now, they have failed again to overturn the law with a ballot initiative. LGBT-inclusive education isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
It’s important to remember the significance of SB 48. Anti-gay forces in this country regularly allege that homosexuality is a threat to children, encouraging parents to feel like they need to protect their children from learning about even the existence of gay people, lest they be “indoctrinated” or even molested or “recruited.” Consider the situation in Erie, Illinois, where parents objected to a children’s book that on one page pointed out that some families include same-sex parents. The Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly the Alliance Defense Fund) argued that through GLSEN’s inclusive curriculum, students could be “indoctrinated into homosexual behavior.” Here is a quick recap of other negative responses to the FAIR Education Act:
- RANDY THOMASSON: “Realize that the raft of school sexual indoctrination mandates imposed on all children in California government schools amounts to mental molestation.”
- Signature collectors said that overturning SB 48 would protect children from child molesters.
- The campaign to overturn the law argued that kids will learn about Chaz Bono instead of George Washington.
- NOM’S JOHN EASTMAN: Evil will be with us always, and it requires constant vigilance to defeat… We need to be involved in the immediate defense of threats against marriage, but also take a long-range view by educating the next generation about the importance of the issues we’re confronting.
But despite the backlash against the law, which hasn’t even been implemented in all school yet, research has shown it will make an important difference. GLSEN analyzed data from its 2009 school climate survey and found that having LGBT-inclusive curricula helped students feel safer, experience less victimization, miss less school, and define their peers as accepting. The California Safe Schools Coalition similarly found that inclusive curricula helped students perform better academically and feel more connected to their schools. Conservatives know that learning the basics about sexuality is the key to ending anti-gay stigma, which is why they stand opposed at every opportunity.