Conservative groups are aiming to derail the recently signed FAIR Education Act through a referendum, a coalition of organizations has announced.

The legislation, SB 48, is also known as the “gay history bill,” and requires school curricula in California to include contributions by gay and lesbian Americans.

I talked to Brad Dacus, attorney for and president of the Pacific Justice Institute, one of the groups trying to qualify the referendum, who said this about the FAIR Act:

As far as we’re concerned, this is a very extreme liberal piece of legislation that requires history and sociology to no longer be objective and focusing on accomplishments of individuals. But instead, it becomes subjective and focuses specifically on how they conduct themselves in their bedroom…That has no place in public schools. If we’re going to keep history as education and not as indoctrination, then history needs to focus on history.

Pacific Justice Institute on the FAIR Education Act :http://ww2.kqed.org/news/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2011/07/pacjustice1.mp3|titles=pacjustice1

Yesterday, the institute put out a press release, claiming the law will be “automatically suspended” once the Attorney General validates the filing they made this week.

Our education reporter Ana Tintocalis, however, was given the following information from the AG’s office:

  • Groups have filed papers required to start the process of putting the referendum on the ballot.
  • They will need to submit 505,000 signatures by Oct. 12 to qualify the proposal for the ballot.
  • If they do so, the law would be “put on hold.”
  • Until then, the law stands.

Dacus disagrees with that legal interpretation. “Once the Attorney General’s Office approves it for the ballot, then we have 90 days (to gather signatures),” he says. “And during that 90-day period of time, it is put on hold. And we expect the Attorney General to approve it, its format for the ballot, within a few days. So the state Attorney General’s Office, I respectfully have to correct on that.”

You can listen to that answer here:

On the issue of when the law would be suspended :http://ww2.kqed.org/news/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2011/07/pacjusice2.mp3|titles=pacjusice2

Update 3:50 p.m.: Ana Tintocalis called to follow up with Mr. Dacus, but he referred her to the group’s chief counsel, Kevin Snider, whom she is waiting to hear back from.

The legislation is not slated to take effect until January 1, 2012. But Ana Tintocalis has talked to educators around the state who say they are already gearing up to implement new curricula based on the law.

Author

Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks writes mostly on film for KQED Arts. He is also an online editor and writer for KQED's daily news blog, News Fix. Jon is a playwright whose work has been produced in San Francisco, New York, Italy, and around the U.S.

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