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americaflagOpponents of a law that requires California public schools to cover the historical contributions of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people have again failed to collect enough signatures to force an overturn of the requirement.

The FAIR Education Act (SB 48) is a California law that requires public schools to integrate age-appropriate and factual information about historical roles of LGBT people, people with disabilities and people of color into existing social science instruction.

The Stop SB 48 coalition said they fell short of the 500,000 valid signatures needed to force a vote on the Children Learning Accurate Social Science (CLASS) Act, which would have essentially repealed the FAIR Education Act.

Pacific Justice Institute lawyer Kevin Snider and the author of the wording for the CLASS Act estimates that the all-volunteer petition circulating effort, which focused largely on churches, collected about 446,000 signatures out of the 504,760 required.

Snider said “Placing a measure on the ballot through grassroots efforts alone has not been done in California in recent memory. Although history was against us, our conscience compelled the coalition to fight this battle rather than doing nothing.” The coalition is composed of many high profile anti-gay groups.

To date, at least five initiative attempts to push through the CLASS Act have been launched, and failed, in a blatant attempt to remove all references to LGBT people in school textbooks in California. All five initiatives are clearly discriminatory in nature because they target LGBT people for exclusion in textbooks. Some of the initiatives also target people with disabilities and Pacific Islanders, and change racial identities, for example, from Mexican Americans to Mexicans.

The FAIR Education Act, authored by state Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and sponsored by Equality California and Gay-Straight Alliance Network, was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown last year and went into effect on Jan. 1, 2012, but most school districts are yet to implement it.

“What our opponents have shown us is that they will seize any opportunity, however small, to launch large-scale attacks on LGBT people. The FAIR Education Act was created from a basic concept: that California schools should teach accurate history that is inclusive of the roles of all people,” Clarissa Filgioun, board chairman of Equality California, has said.

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