California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that would require that public schools teach gay and lesbian history. The legislation is preceded by similar requirements in the state of California to promote women's history, African-American history and other minority groups' history in public school curriculum. The bill was originally put forth in 2006 but vetoed by then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican. However, since then, there has been a great deal of public outcry in response to the recent suicides of many gay teens across the state, attention to which no doubt helped to push the bill forward. Now that the Democratic governor has signed the bill, come January, the state-approved curriculum of public schools across the state will include the study of gay rights figures such as Harvey Milk—the first openly gay, publicly-elected official in California.
Advocates hope the requirements will lessen bullying and promote tolerance. Nevertheless, there has been some resistance to the bill. Opponents argue that it infringes on the rights of local school districts and that it is up to individual communities to determine whether such requirements be included in the curriculum.
After the passage of gay marriage by the state of New York, last week we asked you if gay marriage should be legalized throughout the country. This week we pose a similar question. Would you like to see a bill like this passed in your state and across the country? Do you think children should be required to learn about gay history in public schools? Or do you think it should be up to local school boards whether they learn gay advocates and other aspects of gay and lesbian history? Or do you think gay history should be left out of school curriculum entirely? As always, your comments are also appreciated.