Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation requiring public schools to include the contributions of gay and lesbian people in their curriculum, making California the first state to adopt such a requirement.
The legislation, authored by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, was approved in the Legislature along party lines, with Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed. The governor's office announced this morning that Brown had signed the bill.
Senate Bill 48 requires public instruction in social sciences to include the role and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, as well as people with disabilities and members of other cultural groups.
It would prohibit teaching from textbooks or other instructional materials that reflect adversely on people because of their sexual orientation.
"History should be honest," the Democratic governor said in a written statement. "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. It represents an important step forward for our state, and I thank Senator Leno for his hard work on this historic legislation."
Leno's Senate Bill 48 is similar to a proposal that was approved by the Legislature in 2006 but vetoed by then Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
"Today we are making history in California by ensuring that our textbooks and instructional materials no longer exclude the contributions of LGBT Americans," Leno said in a written statement.
"Denying LGBT people their rightful place in history gives our young people an inaccurate and incomplete view of the world around them," Leno added. "I am pleased Governor Brown signed the FAIR Education Act and I thank him for recognizing that the LGBT community, its accomplishments and its ongoing efforts for first-class citizenship are important components of California's history."