Extra resources for students of State and Local Government 180, an upper-division GE class in the Government Department at Sacramento State University
Thursday, October 13, 2011
SF Chronicle: Referendum petition drive to repeal LGBT teachings fails
Group fighting LGBT teachings fails petition drive
Wyatt Buchanan, Chronicle Sacramento Bureau
San Francisco ChronicleOctober 13, 2011 04:00 AM
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An effort to repeal a law that requires schools to teach about the historical contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and people with disabilities, has failed as backers did not collect enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.
The group, Stop SB48, which is named after the law, faced a Wednesday deadline to turn in just under 505,000 signatures to put the law on the ballot and give voters the opportunity to overturn it. In an e-mail, the group said, "We thank all of you that worked so hard to provide the hundreds of thousands of signatures received. In the end, 90 days was too short a time to accomplish such a large task."
They gave no precise number of how many signatures had been gathered. Backers ran the effort out of the offices of the Capitol Resource Institute, a socially conservative advocacy organization in Sacramento. The institute's executive director, Karen England, also was the leader of the referendum.
The nearly all-volunteer effort faced not only a short time frame, as referendum signature drives must be completed 90 days after the governor signs a law, but also a lack of significant contributions from national socially conservative organizations. The backers of the referendum noted that second issue in their e-mail.
"They said we did not have enough money, the commitment of enough groups, or enough days. Ultimately they were right. And in private perhaps they will ask if the effort they withheld would have made the critical difference," the e-mail stated.
Still the group vowed, "There will be a next battle."
Gay rights organizations believe it is likely that efforts to fight the law will continue in the form of a ballot initiative for the November 2012 election that will attract big-pocket donors.
The law, which takes effect Jan. 1, requires that public schools include the historical contributions of LGBT people and people with disabilities in social science instruction. Textbooks also will have to include such information, but that won't happen until at least 2015 because the state has put off purchasing new texts due to the budget deficit.
Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, who introduced the bill, predicted the backers of the referendum would not gather enough signatures when the process began three months ago.
"I'm glad to learn my early suspicions have been validated and from all indications it appears they failed by a wide margin," Leno said. He said the law taking effect in January will make it even harder for any future initiative campaign to succeed as parents and the public will be able to see exactly what is taught in classrooms.
"Time is our friend because it will dispel the hyperbolic fear that these folks had been selling," Leno said.