Susan Jones | Senior Editor | Friday, September 29, 2006
Conservative activists said Schwarzenegger was responding to election-year pressure from "irate parents and grandparents." Advocates for homosexuality said the veto leaves California students "vulnerable to bias and intimidation based on sexual orientation and gender identity."
Late Thursday, Schwarzenegger vetoed Assembly Bill 606, which would have required that state funds be withheld from any school district that does not adopt a "model policy" prohibiting discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Critics say the bill would have forced schools to promote transsexuality, bisexuality, and homosexuality on school campuses. Supporters called it the "Safe School Act," and they said AB 606 -- in addition to creating a "model anti-discrimination and harassment policy for school districts" -- would have required schools to track and document all bias-related complaints brought by students.
AB 1056, also vetoed on Thursday, would have allocated special funds for a Tolerance Education Pilot Program to teach kids about "tolerance and intergroup relations," including "actual or perceived gender."
"We thank God that children in California public schools will be protected from this direct assault for one more year," said Randy Thomasson, president of the Campaign for Children and Families (CCF), a conservative, pro-family organization.
"The Democrat politicians and teacher unions are relentlessly pushing to sexually indoctrinate kids. Schwarzenegger has delayed them for now."
In his veto messages, Schwarzenegger said he vetoed AB 606 because it was "irresponsible" to create a new state mandate on schools, and he noted that existing laws already deal with discrimination and harassment in the schools.
The governor said he vetoed AB 1056 because it duplicated current efforts to provide "more avenues to teach about tolerance and human rights."
Earlier this month, Schwarzenegger vetoed SB 1437, which would have changed school textbooks to require positive portrayals of transsexuality, bisexuality, and homosexuality.
The Campaign for Children and Families thanked everyone who called and wrote to the governor. "Cherish the victory and pray to God that these sexual indoctrination bills never, ever return," Thomasson said.
But activists on the other side of the issue expressed disappointment. They said Schwarzenegger, in vetoing AB 606, has rejected a "simple nondiscrimination bill" that would have strengthened existing protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students in public schools.
"Some California schools are choosing to ignore the current law prohibiting discrimination and harassment of LGBT students, and to veto a bill that would help enforce that law is shameful," said Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California.
"The governor is ignoring the needs of students who are teased and bullied because they are or are perceived to be LGBT. The governor claims to have spent most of his life fighting discrimination and teaching children about tolerance, yet he has vetoed every bill he has seen that would do just that."
Supporters of AB 606 point to studies showing that LGBT students are more likely than their peers to use drugs, consider suicide, be victimized by violence, or carry a weapon to school. "By declining to sign AB 606, the governor has let these students down," said the bill's sponsor, Democratic Assemblymember Lloyd Levine.
But conservatives thanked Schwarzenegger for taking a stand against what they describe as the sexual indoctrination of children -- and the use of public schools to force acceptance of immoral behavior under the guise of political correctness.
See Earlier Story:
One 'Sexual Indoctrination' Bill Dead, Two to Go, Conservatives Say (7 Sept. 2006)