Wednesday, October 19, 2011

White House Inaugurates LGBT Update

The White House

(Reposted from an email received today)

Good morning,

Welcome to the inaugural edition of the White House LGBT Update, where you'll hear from the White House Office of Public Engagement on President Obama’s continued commitment to progress for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.

We need your help to get the word out! Please encourage your friends and family to sign up for updates and don’t hesitate to drop us a line with your comments, suggestions, and ideas.

All the best,

Gautam Raghavan
Office of Public Engagement
The White House

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

FAIR Act opponents fail to meet signature requirement

FAIR Act unchallenged - for now
By Ruth Dell

In July 2011, Governor Jerry Brown signed the FAIR (Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful) Act, which requires that students learn about the contributions of LGBT people and people with disabilities in social science instruction.

Opponents of the LGBT community immediately went to work opposing the FAIR Act, and vowed to gather enough signatures to qualify for a June 2012 initiative to vote on whether the FAIR Act should be repealed.

Today, the coalition fighting the FAIR Act announced that it did not have the 504,760 signatures required to get on the ballot.

While this is good news, we have no reason to assume our opponents will not fight us again. In fact, the leading organization against marriage equality, the National Organization for Marriage, announced that it was raising money for the November 2012 ballot. The Traditional Values Coalition, a virulent anti-gay group, led the fight in Sacramento opposing the FAIR Act, and shows no sign of backing down.

The FAIR Act, while not widely known, is incredibly important. As writer Adam Bink wrote, “It’s not just about history. It’s about role models. Looking up to Billie Jean King, or Walt Whitman..and finding out they were lesbian or gay means something to a child, including a potential bully…”

California is the first state to specifically include the contributions of LGBT people in public school materials, and that is a victory worth defending.

Ruth Dell is a retired attorney who volunteers for a number of organizations, including Spectrum.