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CA Law Orders Gay History in School Textbooks

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on July 18, 2011 6:43 AM

In a first for the nation, California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation on Thursday that requires the teaching of gay history in the state's schools.

Focusing on the contributions of gay, lesbian and transgender Americans to the development of California and the United States, the law directs school districts to adopt curricula and textbooks that emphasize the role of these groups in present society.

For months, Republicans have vehemently opposed the gay history bill, arguing that it is an attempt to force a "gay agenda" on students, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Governor Brown, along with state Democrats, see it as updating the state's education requirements to comply with its anti-discrimination laws, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Additionally, they feel that it will make schools safer, at the very least providing LGBT youth with positive examples.

Regardless of these arguments, it's undeniable that the LGBT rights movement is an essential part of modern California and U.S. history that informs both our country's politics and laws.

To intelligently have a discussion about gay rights and other issues, children need to understand the evolution of the movement and its legal implications, as many policy and court decisions in favor of LGBT persons actually benefit everyone.

For instance, the Supreme Court's 1996 decision in Romer v. Evans struck down an amendment to the Colorado Constitution that prohibited local governments from adopting laws that give protected status to homosexuals.

Though it focuses on gay rights, this decision could be used to strike down any state law that prohibits local entities from attempting to protect a group of persons who face discrimination.

A group that could very conceivably include you.

So, instead of thinking about these new requirements as gay history, think of them as California and United States history, because that's really what's being taught.

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