Governor Brown has two weeks to decide whether he'll sign a new law that makes it mandatory for social studies to include gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered issues for California public school students.
Senate Bill 48 landed on his desk Tuesday. Supporters of the law say it will not only make for a better education, it will make for a more peaceful classroom.
Does the name Alexander Hamilton ring a bell? You know- architect of the American Government, founder of the U.S. mint and Coast Guard, the guy on the ten dollar bill?
Oh yeah... and also, many believe, a gay man.
For evidence, read the letters he wrote in 1797 to his buddy John Laurens. Hamilton says he's wishing he could, with his actions, convince Laurens that he loves him.
Under the new law a founding father's sexual orientation could make it's way into the lesson plans at California's schools. And it's not just historical figures.
"The fact that the President signed and passed the repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell.' That in itself was historic," said Mario Guerrero by way of giving another example of what the new curriculum could include.
Guerrero is with Equality California, the group that fought for the Senate Bill 48. The Bill specifically says social studies in public schools must include "gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans." Guerrero says the language is crucial.
"Children are already hearing the words gay, lesbian, bisexual transgender. But they're hearing it when they are being called names, when it's derogatory," Guerrero said.
As you might expect, opposition to the law is intense. A mail campaign got started, with scores angry letters sent to the Capitol. And they sure aren't as sweet as Hamilton's letter to Laurens.
"The legislature must recognize that these types of topics are the domain of the home," says the opposition.
But what if changing courses, and adopting this new course of study could also make our schools more peaceful?
"We have a study that shows bullying is cut by almost 50% when there is an inclusive LGBT curriculum," Guerrero said.
Critics disagree, saying that parents can teach their children to be kind without prompting classroom discussions about alternative sexual practices.
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