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Stop SB 48 (FAIR Education Act) Conference Call

FAIR Education Act

For more on what we did last time and what you can do to help defeat attempts to repeal the FAIR Education Act, check out the post here and here -Adam

Cross-posted from LGBTPOV.com

By Karen Ocamb

The title and summary from the California Attorney General’s office for the new Stop SB 48 initiative to repeal the California FAIR Education Act is expected in the next two days, Karen England, Executive Director of the antigay Capitol Resource Institute, announced on a Monday night conference call hosted by Public Awareness Ministries / PreserveLiberty.com.

The call was intended to recruit and rally supporters to the signature-gathering campaign, which England said they intend to kick off mid-January. They have 90 days after receiving the title and summary – expected to be towards the end of April to qualify for the Nov. 2012 ballot. California history has not shown any initiative qualifying in that short period of time with only volunteer signature-gatherers. And while fundraising and the prospective campaign budget was not discussed on the call, there is a button on the Stop SB 48 website that requests that people help “Retire the STOP SB 48 Debit Today!” – indicating that the campaign may not be off to a good financial start.

The initiative – entitled the CLASS Act (Children Learning Accurate Social Sciences) – was submitted to the AG’s office on Dec. 5 and is broader than CRI’s first attempt at a referendum that failed on Oct. 11. According to Stop SB 48 sponsors at their website, this attempt is focused on only repealing the “over-reaching” aspects of the law: Stop SB 48 sponsor Jack Hibbs said it is “unacceptable” to require that schools “shine a spotlight on this lifestyle on the one hand and then demand that history books and teachers censor shortcomings on the other.”

“We drafted an initiative that responds to the perception that some want to ignore the contributions of certain individuals,” said Kevin Snider of Pacific Justice Institute Center for Public Policy. “This initiative prohibits history book exclusion of anybody based on their membership in a protected class. But it requires an accurate, historical portrayal of any individual,”

Text of the initiative and more on the conference call below.

The initiative reads:

PreserveLiberty.com founder Mark Matta, a 1985 USC grad with an MBA in Finance who also served in the California Senate, is now the “full-time development director for an international media ministry.” According to his website, “Mark is serving as a volunteer executive director of Public Awareness Ministries to help build a standing army, city-by-city, that prays and works together to protect life, marriage, America’s Biblical foundation, the source of our liberty to freely evangelize.” He believes prayer is the “tip of the spear:” By consistently reclaiming our cities for Christ, beginning with prayer, we have the best opportunity to get our states and nation back.

Matta opened and closed the conference call with a prayer that spoke of peace and love – and standing with a sword. He also spent a lot of time promoting and recruiting along the lines pitched on his website:

Restoring America’s Biblical and Constitutional foundation will require prayer and focused work of individual Judeo-Christian citizens like you and me. By God’s grace, if Christians who have a Biblical worldview will GIVE one hour a month in consistent united local prayer and one morning a month to work to advance Biblical values and God-honoring leaders, then we can GET America back. When each of us GIVE six hours a month – we’re on our way to GET America back!

But Matta was ill-prepared for the disruptions on the conference call, both technologically and as a moderator.

Mark Matta

Phoners interrupted with claims that England and the Stop Sb 48 campaign had blood on their hands – referring to the suicides of gay teens as a result of bullying by people who believe as England does. Interestingly, England felt it was an affront to claim she was a gay-basher without knowing her or having a discussion about her views. She said she was supportive of the state’s existing anti-bullying laws” no child should be bullied.”

“You can’t accuse me of something unless you hear me and what I have to say,” she said. “I have no problem answering questions from opponents. It’s important to have an open dialogue.”

England spent the better part of an hour – when not interrupted by protesters or Matta’s long, tempered fulminations – talking about her interpretation of the FAIR Act and what it is supposed to do, referring the LA Times editorial that agreed that historians, not politicians, should determine what constitutes history.

England explained how the Stop SB 48 coalition does not back the other four initiatives attempting to repeal the FAIR Act – including the parental op-opt measure – because they allow the legislature to amend the bill. “That defeats the whole purpose,” England said.

“Accurate history” is about accomplishment and not about orientation and mandated lessons for kids as young as kindergarten shouldn’t be mandated. In fact, openly gay assassinated San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk would still be taught about and shouldn’t be excluded simply because he happens to be gay. She noted that she opposed naming a special day after Milk – but she opposed naming a special day after Ronald Reagan, too.

One unexpected theme running throughout the call was how to awake what Matta called the “sleeping giant in America” – reticent pastors are about getting involved with anything construed as political. Matta and England repeatedly referenced a Pastor Jack Hibbs video which one caller said worked effectively with her pastor. There were also question about how to convince home schoolers that they have a stake in how their tax dollars are used in public school.

“It’s a frustration,” England said. “Sometimes they won’t even let you do voter registration.” But churches should get involved since this is a “moral” issue.

One lay pastor asked about the definition of “family values” and why people should focus on this “negative” issue “when Jesus commands us to feed the poor.” England said that was a “much bigger” issue and that the churches haven’t “stepped up” to their role of caring for the poor. However, she said, working to repeal the FAIR Act and feeding the poor “are not mutually exclusive” – she’s doing it! Matta concurred, noting the importance of preserving the “Biblical Constitution.” Both England and Matta got annoyed when the woman caller persisted.

One caller, who said she’d collected signatures for the first referendum, asked if the campaign would point out how this law would “spawn sexual predators” and that “sexual ideas” would be taught – that could “awaken things” in young kids. England said they were focused on the signature-gathering process but when the campaign began, they would – “especially talking about this issue at such a young age.”

Another caller talked about homosexuality as a “moral disease” and how something should be done to help them. England said that was a matter for a whole other call – but noted there are groups such as Exodus and Focus on the Family that deal with helping homosexuals – no mention of all the scientific and psychological evidence that proves that so-called “reparative therapy” doesn’t work.

After one of the last disruptions before Matta placed all calls on “hard mute,” England decried all the hate mail she’s received and added that some Log Cabin Republicans “felt like this” about the mandate. “We all need to make sure kids are not harassed in school. But neither side should be pushing their side in history class,” she said.

England said “I feel very confident we’re going to do it this time.”

Jeremy Hooper at Good As You has audio of the conference call.

30 Comments

  • 1. Alan_Eckert  |  December 20, 2011 at 9:59 am

    This just makes me sick thinking about what will be coming down the line again. I didn't live through Anita Bryant era, but it certainly is singing the same tune.

  • 2. peterplumber  |  December 20, 2011 at 10:08 am

    [Mark Matta] believes prayer is the “tip of the spear:” By consistently reclaiming our cities for Christ, beginning with prayer, we have the best opportunity to get our states and nation back.

    OK, I get it that the "people of faith" want things back to the way they were in the dark ages, but why do these people think that everyone in this country is Christian and beholden to the Christian ideals? Don't they understand that they are becoming a smaller influence on 21st century society?

  • 3. Leo  |  December 20, 2011 at 10:10 am

    They probably don't think that everyone is, but that everyone should be.

  • 4. Steve  |  December 20, 2011 at 11:10 am

    Thankfully prayer doesn't work at all 🙂

  • 5. AnonyGrl  |  December 20, 2011 at 10:25 am

    demand that history books and teachers censor shortcomings

    Errr… what? Where in the law does it say THAT?

    Also, what shortcomings is he speaking of?

  • 6. Leo  |  December 20, 2011 at 10:32 am

    Was wondering about that, too.

  • 7. Neil  |  December 20, 2011 at 10:52 am

    I think Section 3: "…A teacher shall not give instruction calculated to promote acts of discrimination…"

    Could be interpreted as saying that teachers can't show ways in which homosexuality is "bad" or "wrong" or "unhealthy".

  • 8. Bay Area John  |  December 20, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Sure, the word CALCULATED means you'd need to prove that anything said had a plan to promote acts. Impossible to prove unless the teacher documents her intent to promote bad acts in advance. This would make teaching strong statements about the immorality, sinfulness, and depravity of gayness possible… as they are merely "describing a viewpoint".

  • 9. Bay Area John  |  December 20, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    Oh, and describe it accurately.

  • 10. MightyAcorn  |  December 20, 2011 at 11:40 am

    It's a cleverly written initiative, since the courts have skirted actually ruling that LGBT people are a protected class. Maybe our Education Code 220 should quietly be amended to include LGBT as a protected class so they might be hoist on their own initiative petard?

  • 11. Bob  |  December 20, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Regardless of federal law, California law (unless I'm greatly mistaken) considers LGBT people to be a protected class.

  • 12. Bob  |  December 20, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    This does not mean, however, that I'd support the above ballot measure, or any of the others; their clear intent is to limit discussion of LGBT persons to history as much as they can get away with if not more. Some of the other proposed ballot measures are almost certainly unconstitutional; this one is carefully crafted to avoid the appearance of targeting a specific group from exclusion but that is clearly the intent.

  • 13. Carol  |  December 20, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    California Civil Code section 51(b) ( Unruh Civil Rights Act):

    "All persons within the jurisdiction of this state are free and equal, and no matter what their sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, marital status, or sexual orientation are entitled to the full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges, or services in all business establishments of every kind whatsoever."

  • 14. Jacob  |  December 21, 2011 at 9:46 am

    The Supreme Court of California has held that LGBT is a protected class.

  • 15. Leo  |  December 21, 2011 at 10:10 am

    More specifically, Education Code Section 220 already includes sexual orientation (although that's only LGB, not T; I'm not sure if CASC has said anything about T, either).

  • 16. MightyAcorn  |  January 1, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    Well then, was the text of the proposed law written in ignorance of the fact that the Education Code INCLUDES LGB people as a protected class? Or am I missing something here? Or maybe it's about denying funding?

  • 17. Leo  |  January 2, 2012 at 7:20 am

    I think the idea was that instead(*) of affirmatively requiring instruction about the role and contributions of minorities (including LGBT):

    51204.5. Instruction in social sciences shall include the early
    history of California and a study of the role and contributions of
    both men and women, Native Americans, African Americans, Mexican
    Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, European Americans,
    lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans, persons with
    disabilities, and members of other ethnic and cultural groups, to the
    economic, political, and social development of California and the
    United States of America, with particular emphasis on portraying the
    role of these groups in contemporary society.

    The proposed law would mandate blindness to sexual orientation: nobody should be excluded or included based on it, but only based on historical importance. Kind of like repealing affirmative action and replacing it with bare non-discrimination.

    (*) Others have noted that you can't repeal a law just by saying "supersedes." But I'm assuming that CLASSA does seek to repeal the above section, whether successfully or not.

  • 18. Jamie  |  December 20, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    I guess I need to study further, but I'm not even sure this act does anything. It says it supersedes other portions of the Education Code, but it doesn't say it repeals them. I assume one of the listed sections is SB48. Is there part of this initiative that is missing? Does it strike SB48 entirely and replace it with this?

  • 19. BradM  |  December 20, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    OT: GetEQUAL, Stop the Deportations and Out4Immigration have teamed up on a new initiative called "Bring Them Home". The link below directs to a petition to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to issue "humanitarian parole" visas to the non-US citizen partner of exiled or separated bi-national same-sex couples. On the petition, you will also find a link to a video of Jesse and Max whose words are juxtaposed with Secretary Clinton's speech on International LGBT rights.
    http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/6535/p/dia/ac

    This initiative is very meaningful to me as my partner and I just entered into a civil union in Ecuador a week from yesterday. (You can see a picture of us in the video). Coming home for the holidays without him has been difficult. Please spread the word about this. I tried to post it in Quick Hits but I'm not approved to post there.

  • 20. Jamie  |  December 20, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    I don't see anywhere in the proposed initiative where it eliminates SB48. That is always required to be included in strikethrough text in the initiative, and it clearly is not here. So the initiative is in addition to SB48, which will remain in effect. Additionally, the initiative presented says what students "shall be taught." That's great, but it doesn't say anywhere that they can't be taught more. For instance, I could write an initiative that says that students shall be taught that cookies include butter. That doesn't preclude anyone from also teaching that cookies include flour, salt, and eggs as well. In this case, the proponents have submitted an initiative that says students shall be taught history that includes racial and ethnic groups and that no historical figure shall be excluded from lessons because of their inclusion in a protected class (I assume those protected classes don't include GLBT). It also says that nothing in the act itself can require additional expenditures. All great. Good for them. It just doesn't (at least from my reading) prevent other laws from requiring that students be taught things that are included in SB48 or that expenditures could be incurred from other laws like SB48 to include lessons that are in addition to the ones that they approved.

    It seems like this initiative is a whole bunch of nothing and I'm kind of excited that they are spending their money getting signatures for an initiative that doesn't actually accomplish what they want it to accomplish. Any other lawyers have a different take? Is there something I'm missing?

  • 21. Bay Area John  |  December 20, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    Section 4 "supersedes all other sections of the code" not limited to sections cited. Out with the old code with teeth, in with vanilla code with room to teach bigotry..

  • 22. Jamie  |  December 20, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    "Supersedes" does not equal "repeal." The CASC has been very clear about this. Propositions can NOT just IMPLY repealing other laws, they have to CLEARLY STATE that a particular laws is being repealed using strikethrough type. So the laws will exist side by side. If there is a conflict, then the new law would prevail, but there isn't. I can teach that cookies include butter while also teaching that they include flour, eggs, and salt.

  • 23. Leo  |  December 20, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    (I assume those protected classes don't include GLBT)

    It so happens that they do.

  • 24. Jamie  |  December 20, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    Yes they do. But now I'm really confused. I see absolutely no practical implications for the initiative as written.

  • 25. Walter  |  December 20, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    I think there are now 5 initiatives submitted dealing with SB 48. As noted above, it is unclear exactly what this one does to SB 48. You can follow the status of these initiatives here.
    http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/ballot-measures/i

    This one has merely been submitted to the Attorney General and is not approved yet for signature gathering. I think these are often used to keep the troops excited and to generate money for the sponsors.

    The main thing to keep in mind is don't sign any of them. If you see their supporters trying to gather signatures, stand right next to them and explain to people why they not sign such trash. Most people will walk away without signing. Tell people such initiatives are designed to allow religious people in our public schools to attack gay families and their children to try to destroy their families as well as their marriages. That will get their attention.

  • 26. Jamie  |  December 20, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    Thanks for the link. Fascinating. I see the parental notification for abortions under 18 is back on the ballot. I've lived in California for 10 years, and I think I've voted against that about 25 times already. I like the one about corporations not being people. LOL. All 35 are fascinating.

  • 27. Bay Area John  |  December 20, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    They may be planning this to be a shoo-in non controversial item to get people into signing anything, then once the pen is in hand, won't you also sign this specific REPEAL 48 too, particularly since CLASS assures fairness, we don't need the artificial rules of 48…

  • 28. Jamie  |  December 20, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    Maybe, but I highly doubt that they are going to get enough signatures via just volunteers, so they are going to have to use paid signature gatherers at some point. They get paid by the signature, and I don't think it would make much sense to pay for two signatures instead of just one (they get paid per signature)

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