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California Governor Signs Mandate on Teaching Gay History

It's official. California is the first state to require public schools to incorporate the history and contributions of homosexuals into social studies classes. Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, signed the legislation today.

The measure addresses omissions in history books, Gil Duran, a spokesman for Gov. Brown told the Los Angeles Times.

"It's an important step forward for the state of California,'' Duran said, according to the Times. "It revises existing law to make sure people are not excluded from history books. History should reflect reality."

In both the California Assembly and Senate, the bill was approved on a party-line vote, with all Democrats in favor and all Republicans opposed.

The new law adds lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students—as well as persons with disabilities—to the list of groups whose roles and contributions must be "accurately portrayed" in social-science instruction and instructional materials. In addition, it prohibits the state or school districts from adopting textbooks or other instructional materials that "reflect adversely" on a person's sexual orientation.

For more background on the legislation and the debate surrounding it, you can read this EdWeek story from April.

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