With Gov. Jerry Brown's signature, California on Thursday became the only state in the nation to require its schools to teach gay history by including important gay figures in their history lessons and textbooks.
History should be honest, the Democratic governor said in a written statement. 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.
Debate over the bill in the state Legislature split along partisan lines, with Republicans denouncing it for advancing a gay agenda -- shortly after Brown signed the bill, Benjamin Lopez of the Traditional Values Coalition called the law absurd and offensive.'' During an emotional debate, gay Assemblyman Tom Ammiano countered such allegations by telling his fellow lawmakers that I don't want to be invisible in a textbook, and Democrats pointed to a rash of gay suicides and said including gay figures in the curriculum would help to prevent gay students from being bullied and feeling marginalized.
We are selectively censoring history when we exclude LGBT Americans, or any other group of people, from our textbooks and instructional materials, said Senator Mark Leno, the bill's sponsor.