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Brown signs LGBT inclusive education law

Gov. Jerry Brown this morning signed into law a Bay Area lawmaker’s bill requiring that the historical contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people as well as the disabled are accurately and fairly portrayed in school curriculums.

SB 48, the FAIR (Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful) Education Act by state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, adds these groups to the existing list of under-represented cultural and ethnic groups already included in the state’s inclusionary education requirements.

“Today we are making history in California by ensuring that our textbooks and instructional materials no longer exclude the contributions of LGBT Americans,” Leno said in a statement issued moments after Brown announced the signing. “Denying LGBT people their rightful place in history gives our young people an inaccurate and incomplete view of the world around them. I am pleased Governor Brown signed the FAIR Education Act and I thank him for recognizing that the LGBT community, its accomplishments and its ongoing efforts for first-class citizenship are important components of California’s history.”

Leno said research shows that students who learn about LGBT people find their school environments more accepting of LGBT youth. Students are also more likely to report that their LGBT peers are treated fairly at school – and that other types of peer-to-peer disrespect also declines – when LGBT people and issues are included in instructional materials.

Equality California Executive Director Roland Palencia, in Leno’s release, called the signing “a monumental victory” for LGBT equality.. “Thanks to the FAIR Education Act, California students, particularly LGBT youth, will find new hope and inspiration and experience a more welcoming learning environment.”

Some conservative organizations had opposed the bill and urged Brown not to sign it.

“May this brash attack upon children’s innocence finally motivate parents to remove their children from the government school system, and get them into the safe havens of church schooling and homeschooling,” SaveCalifornia.com President Randy Thomasson said last week. “This sexual brainwashing bill would mandate that children as young as 6 years old be told falsehoods — that homosexuality is biological, when it isn’t, or healthy, when it’s not.”

The state Senate approved SB 48 in April on a 23-14 vote; the Assembly passed it last week on a 50-26 vote.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.