Gay history now required in California textbooks

California law mandates inclusion of accomplishments of gay Americans

WRITTEN BY: Editorial Staff
Harvey Milk, first openly gay man elected to public office
Image Source: Daniel Nicoletta via Wikimedia Commons
Harvey Milk, first openly gay man elected to public office

"History should be honest," says California's governor Jerry Brown. That simple vision drove California to become the first state to legally require the inclusion of gay history in public school textbooks.

The mandate orders that the contributions of gay, lesbian and transgender Americans appear in history books, along with the accomplishments of Pacific Islanders and the disabled, Reuters reports. The new order builds off of California's current law that necessitates the inclusion of Native Americans, African Americans, Mexican Americans, Asian Americans and European Americans.

"This bill revises existing laws that prohibit discrimination in education and ensures that the important contributions of Americans from all backgrounds and walks of life are included in our history books," explains Brown.

The measure won in a party-divided vote, 49-25, with Democrats for and Republicans against the mandate. Governor Brown has recently signed the mandate, making it law, though some are still fighting it. Randy Thomasson sees the legislation as an imposition, saying the governor "trampled the parental rights of the broad majority of California mothers and fathers who don't want their children to be sexually brainwashed," Reuters reports. Thomasson, president of the conservative SaveCalifornia.com argues that the new law has changed the entire public school system, saying it is "no longer for morally-sensitive parents and their children."

Due to budget issues, it may be a while before students start seeing a changed history. California's Department of Education say that new textbooks will not appear until 2015.

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