FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 25, 2006
CONTACT: Dannie Tillman, Director of Communications & Coalitions, Equality California
PHONE: (323) 217-8875 EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
GOVERNOR SAYS HE WILL VETO BILL PROTECTING STUDENTS AND FOSTERING TOLERANCE IN SCHOOLS
Veto Announcement Appears to be Politically Motivated, Says Equality California
Sacramento, CA– As reported in the Sacramento Bee earlier today, Governor Schwarzenegger has announced that he will veto Senate Bill 1437, a bill authored by Senator Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica) and sponsored by Equality California (EQCA) to add sexual orientation and gender identity to existing state curriculum anti-bias rules
SB 1437 The Bias Free Curriculum Act would amend two sections of law that presently require the inclusion into the curriculum of the role and contributions of traditionally underrepresented groups and prohibit adoption of teaching materials that reflect negatively on such groups. The bill would simply add lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people to these existing categories that enhance teaching materials while ultimately leaving educators free to design their own particular courses of study.
The Sacramento Bee reported that the Governor’s staff said that the Governor supports inclusive curriculum but does not want to micromanage educators.
“The Governor must not understand what this bill does and what it does not do. This is a simple non-discrimination bill that merely adds LGBT people to a long existing list of other groups,” said Geoffrey Kors, executive director of Equality California, in response. “We will not let up one iota in our efforts to advance this legislation which addresses a serious problem in our schools – invisibility and lack of safety for all students but particularly LGBT students and children of LGBT parents. We will request a meeting with the Governor and ask him to reconsider his position and work with us to ensure inclusive and bias-free curriculum.”
Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed two LGBT-related bills prior to his ill-fated special election last year, including AB 849 (Leno, D-San Francisco), which would have allowed same-sex couples to marry in California, and AB 866 (Yee, D-San Francisco), which would have simply added sexual orientation and gender to the lengthy list of groups protected by a voluntary fair campaign pledge.
“The Governor ran for office pledging to support equality for LGBT Californians. He broke that promise twice last year and has now pledged to break it again,” Kors noted.
The Governor’s announcement comes twelve days before the California primary and coincides with a recent visit to the state by Vice President Dick Cheney to drum up right wing support for Republican legislators up for re-election and Republican candidates for Congress.
“The timing of this announcement either signals confusion about what the bill does or is a calculated political move whereby the Governor is putting politics above people,” said Kors. “Whatever the case, the Governor is on his way to a third strike when it comes to opportunities to stand up for the LGBT community.”
“This unprecedented announcement of a veto of a bill not even yet on his desk is a cowardly election-related move made on the backs of our kids and school safety,” said Senator Kuehl the bill’s author. “We will keep working to show the Governor a veto would be a mistake.”
Founded in 1998, Equality California is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots-based, statewide advocacy organization whose mission is to achieve equality and civil rights for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Californians. Equality California is one of the largest and fastest growing statewide LGBT organizations in the country. www.eqca.org.