(CN) – Conservative groups have begun collecting signatures for a referendum that would kill California Senate Bill 48, which requires public schools to teach about the historical contributions of gay Americans.
The bill, drafted by state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, requires California schools to include information about Americans with disabilities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans in social studies classes, beginning Jan. 1, 2012.
“History should be honest,” Gov. Brown said after signing the bill. “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.”
Groups seeking the referendum to kill the bill include the Pacific Justice Institute and the Capital Resource Family Impact. They need 505,000 signatures by Oct. 12 to place the referendum on the ballot.
“Gov. Brown refused to listen to the calls of pro-family voters asking him to veto SB 48,” Karen England, executive director of Capital Resource Family Impact, said in a statement. “The bill costs too much and it goes too far. He ignored the majority in our state who object to the implementation of this controversial, objectionable, and poor public school policy.”
Homosexual or bisexual American cultural contributors include Cole Porter, Aaron Copland, Edward Albee, Tennessee Williams, John Cage, Tony Kushner, Bill Tilden, Billy Strayhorn, Hart Crane, John Ashbery, Allen Ginsberg, Jasper Johns, Thornton Wilder, Samuel Barber, Truman Capote, David Sedaris, and “poor boy makes good” writer Horatio Alger Jr.