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Filed under: FAIR Education Act

Stop SB 48 campaign: “We’re working on an initiative”

By Adam Bink

Today, the Stop SB 48 campaign, a few weeks off their failure to qualify a ballot referendum to overturn the FAIR Education Act (SB 48), announced that they are “working on an initiative.” For those not following, the FAIR Education Act requires social science lessons in California to include historical contributions of LGBT people and movements, such as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal, alongside other civil rights movements and underrepresented minorities.

An initiative requires collection of the same number of signatures as a referendum (504,760) but one gets more time in which to get complete the process (90 days for a referendum to get title and summary, collect signatures and turn them in vs. 150 days for an initiative). In addition, for an initiative, the 150-day clock starts after title and summary is received from the attorney general, whereas with a referendum that time counts against the 90 days (meaning one must wait for title and summary before collecting signatures, but the 90-day clock has already started ticking). The initiative must also qualify at least 131 days before the next statewide election at which the sponsor is attempting to qualify the measure — in this case, before November 6, 2012. They also must start from scratch — they cannot use the signatures they collected the first time around. There are also additional deadlines depending on how many signatures are collected and which counting method is used by elections officials to verify signatures.

Translation of all of that. The Stop SB 48 campaign claims they collected 497,404 signatures. Let’s say for the moment that isn’t bluster and it’s accurate. A general rule of thumb on collecting signatures is that a percentage (some say around 20%) are invalid for one reason or another — and that is acknowledged below by the campaign itself. So they fell fairly short, even if they aren’t exaggerating. If they get an extra 60 days to collect signatures, will they make it? Maybe. They are facing some tight deadlines, and a lot of that depends on different factors — how much money they raise this time to employ paid signature-gatherers since (with very, very few exceptions) all-volunteer or mostly volunteer efforts don’t make it; whether, after our successful decline-to-sign campaign was mounted, the public will be fooled by the lies that were and will be told by the campaign; how many resources our side has to fight the effort; whether, after the law takes effect in January, the public and/or people who signed the referendum the first time realizes the sky hasn’t and won’t fall on kids in California schools; on and on.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on this one. It goes without saying that we will need everyone’s help to beat this back a second time. If you haven’t chipped in to our decline-to-sign campaign efforts, please throw some coin in. If you haven’t signed up for updates on the FAIR Education Act and our work to defend it, please do so if you’re interested. Over 12,000 Courage members across California helped beat this back the first time through community education and confronting signature gatherers, along with our coalition partners at EQCA, GSA Network and others. For more on that, check out the link at top. We’ll need everyone’s help again.

The Stop SB 48 campaign e-mail (excerpted) is below and titled “You Won’t Back Down”:

At least that is what many of you are telling us. Our effort to qualify a referendum to overturn SB48, California’s so-called “gay history” bill, came so close to victory but ultimately did not have the signatures. With 504,760 signatures needed, we only came up with 497,404.


It was a remarkable achievement, but not enough.


With the announcement that we could not qualify the referendum, and every day since, we have received inquiries, advice and pleas all pushing us toward another effort to liberate our classrooms from this very bad law.


We hear you and we want California to hear you.


You didn’t back down when the opponents called you names. And you didn’t back down when they made their threats. So why would you stop just because we did not get enough signatures?


To be sure, a referendum was the most direct route to stopping this misguided law in its tracks. The referendum is called the “people’s veto” for a reason. A bill is signed into the law by the Governor. But if the citizens of California can gather enough signatures in 90 days after the Governor signs the legislation, then the law is suspended until the citizens have a chance to vote.


But there are other tools available. An initiative involves a very similar process of gathering signatures, yet the citizens get more time to gather signatures.


We are working on an initiative and will tell you more about that in a number of weeks.


We are also looking into ways to increase our efficiency. Unfortunately a large number of petitions could not be counted because of various errors. Some of the more technical-minded members of our coalition are looking at ways to lower the error rate.


36 Comments November 1, 2011

‘mo/les taintin’: CA ‘pro-family’ leader equates inclusive schools with child molestation

Cross-posted at Good As You

By Jeremy Hooper

 Good As You Images  Good As You Images  Good As You Images 200807081143-1-1-2In light of his cherished “Stop SB48” effort’s surprising failure, longtime anti-LGBT voice Randy Thomasson is reinvigorating his call for California’s Christian parents to opt for homeschooling instead. Here’s the reliably offensive rationale:

While some parents may initially find this solution uncomfortable or difficult, my question is this: How much worse does it have to get before you intervene? If a speeding car was on a collision course with your child, wouldn’t you do all you could to rush to rescue your child? And what if you found out someone was planning to sexually molest your child? Nothing could stop you from rescuing your boy or girl. Think about it. If we are so concerned about the physical safety of children, why wouldn’t we also protect their mental, emotional, and spiritual safety? Realize that the raft of school sexual indoctrination mandates imposed on all children in California government schools amounts to mental molestation.

What now, as kids will get ‘LGBT’ role models? []

Eh, I’d be more concerned if Randy hadn’t molested his own credibility eons ago.


*REMINDER: Just a few weeks back, NOM’s buddy (and former general counsel) Charles Limandri hosted Thomasson on the radio show that he co-hosts with NOM’s Jennifer Roback Morse. The show that NOM supports with ads: What does NOM sponsor? Have a listen [NOM Exposed]

19 Comments October 19, 2011

NOM failed at ‘Stop SB48.’ That they even *tried* is a story worth remembering.

Cross-posted at Good As You

By Jeremy Hooper

On September 30, it was as “critically important” as NOM’s Prop 8 signature collection efforts.

On October 5, it was a “last chance” to stand against inclusive “force.”

On October 6 the push was “historic,” with “success” the only acceptable option.

I’m talking about the concerted effort to stop inclusive teaching in California’s public schools — the National Organization for Marriage was ALL OVER IT:


So it’s very interesting that NOM, despite the supposedly high stakes and the apparent need to waste “protect marriage” capital on a matter that has nothing to do with marriage itself, hasn’t uttered a peep in the days since this “Stop SB48” effort failed. Not a blog post. Not a press release. No social media outreach. Not an e-blast thanking supporters for the attempt. Nothing. NOM is acting as if it never happened.

Oh, but we know. We know that NOM, an organization supposedly focused on one particular issue, showed its hand and proved that its fight goes far beyond just the matter of marriage. We know that NOM thought it could step in and create another Prop 8 situation, further dividing the state for their own gain. We know that NOM was willing to make a case against teaching that accurately reflects the entire population in a state that doesn’t currently have marriage equality, even though this organization bases most all of its state marriage campaigns on the idea that marriage is the hinge that will determine such teaching.

We know what they said and did. And so does the historical record, which will remain intellectually pure even if a defeated NOM thinks a silent broom can sweep it all under their own, reliably deceptive rug.

24 Comments October 18, 2011

The FAIR Education Act made out to be a huge lift, until it’s not

By Adam Bink

From the comments, Sagesse notes a piece in today’s Los Angeles Times examining how schools could implement the FAIR Education Act. The first part of the article is a lot of “oh gosh, how in the world will we teach kids about gay people, I wouldn’t even know where to begin!” Then, as we read on, we see some very simple and effective examples:

An art history teacher includes portraits of same-sex couples in her studies. An English teacher has discussed writer Langston Hughes, who is widely believed to have been gay. And in 11th grade U.S. history, Daniel Jocz covers LGBT issues, especially during the unit on 20th century civil rights movements.

Using video clips of Kanye West, Tyra Banks and other celebrities, Jocz engages his students in lively discussions about language — including the taunt “that’s gay.” His students study the LGBT resistance to police arrests in the Stonewall riots alongside Rosa Parks’ refusal to sit in the back of the bus. And the murder cases of Emmett Till, an African American teenager, and Matthew Shepard, a gay college student, are examined in the class segment on hate crimes.

“I’m a history teacher, and this is history,” Jocz said. “It’s part of the narrative. You can’t remove it.”

Students say such efforts have created a safe and nurturing environment.

David Columbus, a senior and president of the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance club, said he remembers being pushed around and called names since he was 3 because he liked Barbie dolls. When he realized he was gay in eighth grade, he said, he wanted to die and wished he had cancer instead because that was more acceptable.

At school, however, Columbus said he has thrived under the support.

“This law’s going to educate kids about LGBT people, and once you get education, you’ll respect them, and nobody’s going to bully them anymore,” said Jennifer Vanegas, a straight member of the club.

That’s all it takes. Langston Hughes, Matthew Shepard, Emmett Till, and discussions of language. Talking about LGBT civil rights efforts like the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, since schools are already teaching about civil rights efforts for other people like Rosa Parks. For younger kids, books like And Tango Makes Three are simple ways to teach that families come in all shapes and sizes, so other kids aren’t bullied and teased when they talk about their two moms.

The FAIR Education Act was made out to be a gigantic burden on schools, but with the revision of textbooks being rolled in come 2015 (or perhaps 2019) and these simple examples, there’s a way forward for simple lessons that are included in existing curricula. And it will have a real effect on teaching students respect for their peers.

6 Comments October 16, 2011

FAIR Education Act: We may have made the difference

By Adam Bink

From the Stop SB 48 campaign:

497,404       504,760

The first number is the number of signatures received by Stop SB48. The second number is the number of signatures needed to qualify the referendum.

Some will find encouragement in those numbers-we came close.

Others will be discouraged-with just a little more effort…

We did come close.But we should put that in perspective. Realize that some amount of signatures will always be thrown out because of errors. Ultimately we needed many more than the 504,760 to qualify the referendum. We simply ran out of time before we could get to that number.

While we did not qualify the referendum, our efforts did not go unnoticed. We gained more than 497,000 signatures without the use of paid signature gatherers. That is unprecedented. And we did this on a small fraction of the budget traditionally required to gather that many signatures.

In emails and phone calls over the last 24 hours, two questions have dominated. The first question is answered by the numbers above. The second question is “where do we go from here?”

While the referendum was the best way to stop SB48 in its tracks, there are other ways for the citizens of California to respond to bad laws. We are discussing our next move and will keep you informed as decisions are made.

We lost this most recent battle. But with your help we will fight on.

If they’re telling the truth (and you never know in these kinds of fights) the decline-to-sign effort that many of you volunteered for/donated to may have made all the difference. I’m serious. They still would have had to collect above any beyond that number because of tens of thousands of signatures that would have been disqualified, but we helped cut it close.

Chip in to prepare for round 2, because it looks like it’s coming.

13 Comments October 14, 2011

Making it official, Stop SB 48 campaign concedes defeat

By Adam Bink

But thanks for playing, Family Research Council and co. We’ll be ready again for you next round.

Campaign to repeal Calif. LGBT-history law fails, battle not over

Stop SB 48, one of the leading committees trying to repeal a new California law that, starting next year, will require schools to teach historical contributions made by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered individuals and people with disabilities, has failed to repeal the law through a ballot referendum.

Wednesday, 90 days after California Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 48 in to law, was the last day to file 504,750 valid, signed petitions with the state. Stop SB 48 organizers announced their failure to gather enough signatures in an email to subscribers titled, “We Fought the Law and the Law Won,” in which they also state plans to keep fighting LGBT-oriented legislation:

While we did not overturn this very bad law, we built a small army of dedicated volunteers that collected an incredible amount of signatures. There will be a next battle. Despite the overuse of the term “tolerance”, there is little tolerance for those who do not endorse the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender lifestyles. And there will be more laws passed that advocate for these and attempt to silence any opposition.

SB 48 opponents will have other opportunities to overturn the law, not through a repeal referendum, but through either a ballot initiative or a constitutional amendment — options which demand even more signatures and, consequently, more money than repealing the law by referendum. Karen England, president of the Capitol Resource Institute and leader of the Stop SB 48 campaign (the two entities share an address), could not be immediately reached for comment.

Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, which has worked with Stop SB 48 to overturn the education law, told The American Independent the effort to overturn SB 48 will continue. Dacus admitted a major obstacle to gathering signatures was lack of money and resources, but he said he was impressed with how far the group got.

“No matter how it turns out, one thing is clear,” Dacus said early Wednesday, when it was unknown whether Stop SB 48 qualified for the referendum. “A broad diversity of parents up and down the state of California actually posed a viable threat to repeal legislation without one dollar paid for signature-gatherers.”

He credited a Los Angeles Times editorial from April for a large part of the public opposition to SB 48. The editorial stated its opposition to the bill based on the belief that educators, not politicians, should write textbooks.

In June, the LA Times published another article on SB 48, claiming groups against the legislation for ideological reasons, such as Catholics for the Common Good, were misrepresenting the paper’s position:

Although the editorial board also opposes the bill, it’s not because these additions would shatter a child’s image of marriage. It’s because the board doesn’t want to see education politicized. In other words: Politicians shouldn’t be in the business of writing textbooks.

Dacus said he opposes SB 48 because it amounted to indoctrination of California’s children and because it is based on subjection, politics and speculation.

“This legislation requires subjective speculation of who in history [was] engaged in homosexual conduct. It will necessitate speculation of who in history was allegedly homosexual or transgender or not,” he said, claiming that a high school in Los Angeles has attempted to “pigeonhole” Abraham Lincoln as a gay man.


Rick Jacobs, founder of the Courage Campaign, a multi-issue advocacy group based in Los Angeles, told TAI he was not surprised that Stop SB 48 failed in its first repeal attempt, and he compared the groups in charge to “rightwing fringe groups equivalent to the Westboro Baptist Church.”

“The entirety of this campaign has been about lies and fear,” Jacobs said.

He said Courage Campaign enlisted 15,000 people to monitor Stop SB 48 signature solicitors throughout the state. The group has filed a complaint against Stop SB 48 with the state attorney general after one monitor discovered a campaigner trying to attract signatures by claiming the petition was to prevent child molestation.

Watch the video:

Advocacy group Equality California has also filed a complaint with the state’s ethics board in protest of Stop SB 48′s campaign practices.

“We’re going to remain vigilant,” Jacobs said. “If [SB 48 opponents] decide to try again, we will be there.”

And thanks again to all of you who volunteered, contributed, confronted signature-gatherers, and spread the truth about what the FAIR Education Act is and does.

The law will take effect in January, and we at Courage will keep our eye on more efforts to repeal it. For now, history stays fair, inclusive, and accurate!

14 Comments October 12, 2011

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