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LGBT School Bill Passes Calif. Assembly

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LGBT School Bill Passes Calif. Assembly

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

August 22, 2006 - 12:01 am ET

(Sacramento, California) Legislation banning materials and activities in California schools that are discriminatory towards the state's LGBT community or portray gays in a negative light was passed late Monday afternoon in the Assembly.

The measure passed 47 - 31 after a lengthy, often heated debate.

The bill was a watered down version of one that would also have mandated the teaching of LGBT history and current affairs in schools throughout California. The curriculum provisions were struck out two weeks ago at the request of the bill's author, Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Los Angeles), after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger threatened to veto it. (story)

By that point the original measure had passed the Senate. The new version returns to the upper house which is expected to approve it. But whether the governor will sign it is not yet known.

Conservative Christian groups are lobbying Schwarzenegger to veto the bill. A spokesperson for the governor did not immediately return calls Monday night, but in the past Schwarzenegger has said he's reluctant to have the state "micro-manage" local schools.

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."

"We're just the latest community to come along and say, 'Look, we're now the targets, we need protection,'" said Kuehl.

Monday's Assembly vote was mainly along party lines.

"Anti-gay and LGBT school harassment occurs every day in our public schools," said Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (D- Los Angeles). "This says our schools are going to have a curriculum that is biased-free."

Republicans accused Nunez and Kuehl of trying to advance a "homosexual agenda".

"This is a predatory bill," said Assemblyman Jay LaSuer ( R-La Mesa). "It prays on the innocence of children on a lifestyle that is unacceptable."

LaSuer called on Schwarzenegger to reject the bill if it reaches his desk.

The Republican governor has had a mixed record on LGBT issues. He came to office promoting himself as a moderate, signing several LGBT rights bills, and angering conservatives. But he lost gay support when he vetoed the marriage bill.

Last week he hired, Ben Lopez, a former lobbyist for the Traditional Values Coalition to help sell his re-election bid to conservatives. (story)

©365Gay.com 2006

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