Critics Blast California 'Homosexuality Promotion' Bill

By Payton Hoegh | July 7, 2008 | 8:06 PM EDT

( - California's first openly lesbian state lawmaker has introduced a bill that her critics say would require kindergarten through 12th grade public school textbooks, instructional materials and school activities to promote transsexual, bisexual and homosexual lifestyles.

State Sen. Sheila James Kuehl, a San Monica Democrat (who many years ago played "Zelda" in the television series, "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis"), said she is trying to prevent discrimination. Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a similar bill introduced by Kuehl in 2006, saying at the time it offered "vague protection when current law already provides clear protection against discrimination...based on sexual orientation."

Kuehl said her new legislation would update and clarify present laws rather than make outright changes. But critics say it could result in prohibiting any textbooks or instruction that "reflects adversely" upon homosexuality, bisexuality and transsexuality.

Teachers could be forced to present same-sex "marriage" and sex-change procedures, among other things, as being equal to traditional lifestyles and norms, according to cultural conservatives.

The Campaign for Children and Families (CCF) said it hopes Schwarzenegger will be "consistent" and veto this new bill.

"[The bill] means good-bye to textbooks that say you're either a boy or a girl, that marriage is only for a man and a woman, and that the natural family is a father, a mother and their children," CCF President Randy Thomasson said in a press release.

Thomasson told Cybercast News Service that the measure "is an attack upon parent's hearts and children's minds."

"Parents send their children to school to learn reading, writing and arithmetic," he said. "The government school system in California is doing a terrible job in that category.

"Now the Democrats in the state legislature want to sexually indoctrinate children to believe they may be homosexuals, bisexuals or transsexuals," he charged.

Thomasson said his group would like to hear a quick response from Schwarzenegger, "to veto [this bill], which would be a very unlucky law for children and their parents if it were signed."

Homosexual rights groups argue that clarification is needed with regard to the state's anti-discrimination laws.

"Parts of the education code have not been updated to reflect recent changes in state law," Geoff Kors, executive director of the group Equality California, told Cybercast News Service. "A school official or student reading outdated code sections could easily misinterpret the protections allowed under law.

"This bill cleans up the education code to reduce any potential confusion for students who need protection and the school administrators charged with ensuring the safety of our youth."

Jennifer Richards, legislative director for Kuehl, insisted that "this bill is different from the bill that was moving through the legislature last year."

"We don't see it as having the same kind of a political charge to the issue," Richards told Cybercast News Service. "It is not really expanding the civil rights protections but more clarifying ... and making sure that they are more consistent across the statute.

"We were looking at what made schools safer for students and less likely to have rampant anti-gay harassment on campus," she said. "One of the factors was having a clear non-discrimination policy and making sure that students and parents knew about that non-discrimination policy.

"It seems like we need to start with the state having a clear non-discrimination policy if we want to see that happening in the local schools."

Make media inquiries or request an interview about this article.

Subscribe to the free daily E-Brief.

Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.