Are You Ready For The Oncoming Prop 8-Esque Battle Over CA’s Queer History Law?

Milliseconds after Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill to include LGBT people in public school social-studies curricula, the conservative Capitol Resource Institute began the process to get voters to overturn it (think Prop 8, but over queer history). The CRI only needs 433,971 signatures to get it on the ballot so there’s a good chance Cali residents will cast their vote on it next year. We can also expect a bunch of ads claiming that gays hate religious morality and want to indoctrinate kids with anal-sex lessons masquerading as history classes. The LGBT response so far? Crickets.

What should we do to combat the imminent smear campaign? Tell us your suggestions in the comment section.

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  • Tony

    California’s problem is that they have abdicated legislative authority to the ballot box. They need to remedy their referendum process because it’s completely fucking up their state.

  • Hyhybt

    What *can* be done? The problem is that their sensationalistic lies are far more memorable and motivating than the plain old boring truth.

    @Tony: Only *after* marriage is legal again, just on the off chance that the court challenge somehow fails. Because what’s done by the initiative process cannot be undone through the legislature.

  • Luke

    @1, yep pretty much.

    And to answer Queerty’s question. No I am not ready. And I have no clue what we should do about it. Maybe what we should do about it is nothing. CA is a damn expensive state to by media in. The best course of action might be to let them sink hella cash into a referendum that doesn’t have very many real world implications on rights.

    Including gays in the history books might help get the message out to the smart, studious kids. But most of the kids will only pay attention to those sections if teachers are giving them real class time. And interested teachers don’t need to have the content right there in the book to do that, though I understand that it would make it easier and provide them with some cover when parents coming around being all bigoty.

    Still, we spent $43 Million losing Prop 8. I can think of better things to do with $43 Million than defend this law.

  • Hyhybt

    @Luke: Interesting approach. Probably should put up *some* defense, but mostly letting the opposition drain their funding on something like this while saving our side’s for bigger fish does have its appeal.

  • Jon Lashier

    Yet another anti-gay referendum? Lovely.

  • Polyboy

    The people who are defending this law had better bring out the works because counting on humanity and decency and soft peddled craptastic commercials are not going to cause any effect.

    Call the theocrats out for the evil bastards that they are.

  • Jim

    I like the thought of bigots wasting money but when it comes to dollars games we may lose focus on teaching acceptance in our public schools which is the idea.

  • Oscar

    Ask the students in California what they really learn in schools. There are already teachers in different California schools that teach about contributions LGBT people have made. Have the students themselves say you know what we are not learning about what the far right claims we are. And look we are still here, the world hasn’t fallen apart because we are learning about LGBT history.

  • randy

    I say do our own ballot initiative on repealing Prop 8. Heck, if there is going to be another fight over gay rights, let’s make it a two-fer.

  • Roger

    The whole law is utter nonsense.

    Basically, we shouldn’t include such contributions just because they were made by gay and lesbian people, nor should we exclude contributions just because they were made by gay and lesbian individuals.

    The issue is not the group to which the individual who made the contribution belonged, but the value of the contribution.

    That is, we shouldn’t include some minor, insignificant poet in school curricula just because he’s gay, but, shouldn’t exclude Walt Whitman because he was drawn (emotionally, sensually, sexually) to individuals of his own sex. We should study Whitman because he’s a great poet (perhaps indeed the greatest American poet).

  • Riker

    I’d say we start saturating the airwaves *now* with a hard-hitting offensive. Drag out all their most embarrassing and hate-filled quotes/arguments, the Marcus Bachmanns and the Rick Santorums and the Tracy Morgans and the Anita Bryants. Go back 60 years if you have to; hell, they do it to us. Show the world exactly how much crazy that community is filled with. Then show arguments from pro-gay clergy, Harvey Milk, Michael Irvin, Vaughn Walker, the judges in Iowa, etc about how the discrimination against gays is due to ignorance, fear and animus. Show Matthew Shepard, Lawrence King et al.

    The great thing about a campaign like this is that is could apply beyond just California, it could work nationwide. Approval of same-sex marriage is hovering around 50%; some polls show slightly higher and some slightly lower. If we could raise the funding, a widespread campaign such as this could change it in our favor by at least 3%, enough to tip the scales in our favor in many states. Maine, California, Maryland, New Jersey, Delaware and even Pennsylvania and West Virginia might be brought within reach of full marriage equality.

  • macmantoo

    You have people upset over this law simply because FOX NEWS reported that the gay history will be taught in KINDERGARDEN. That why so many people are getting upset over it.

  • Pete n SFO

    @Roger: I’m not advocating big-spending on defense of this bill, but Roger, are you aware that the assassination of Harvey Milk as the first open politician is currently omitted from history class?

    Heck, in Boston they teach Paul Revere (even if Sarah Palin got it wrong) & that happened 200+ years ago… there’s no way leaving Milk out of a discussion on Civil Rights struggles to students IN CALIF could ever make sense… unless you wanted to continue to pretend that gay people don’t exist/contribute.

    AND the Referendum/Ballot system is supremely F’d up in CA, and yet I see people signing for the paid signature gatherers all day, every day, even in Castro & our gayish Safeway & Trader Joe’s… you think you actually are signing what you imagine? Fools.

  • Hyhybt

    @Pete n SFO: Paul Revere was gay too?


  • Pete n SFO

    @Hyhybt: lol…
    Waaaay gay! ;)

  • Queer Supremacist

    It is time for an initiative for a Proposition to ban Christianity. If the states can violate the second amendment they can sure as hell violate the first.

  • jeff4justice

    Of all the LGBT people I know in all my years as a gay equal rights activist, I never heard anyone tell me, “Life was so horrible. If only I had learned that someone in history as also LGBT.”

    Can this bill be beneficial as an example to LGBT kids to give them an idea that there are others like them? Sure. Is this the most direct and effective way to reach and empower LGBT youth? I don’t think so.

    It seems like EQCA is desperate to keep it’s 6-figure salary executive director who can now use this incident as another reason the mass-blast emails exclaiming another “emergency” so that folks will donate.

    EQCA has done little to equip the everyday person with information about why this bill is necessary, helpful, justifiable in this economy, and examples of text mentoring the contributions of LGBT in history could look like. On the EQCA site, after clicking around for a while, all I found about this bill was a generic sample letter and very vague talking points.

    I feel very un-equipped how to respond to anti-gay people on online forums where most of the discussions about this type of stuff are taking place these days.

    Did the overhwlming LGBT population of CA really rally EQCA to pass this or is this just something they came up with to try to stay relevant post-Prop 8?

  • Daez

    I’ve never been in support of this bill. I can just imagine one of my teachers being forced to teach about gay history. I had my run of the mill mentions of homosexuality in my school days from one teacher who called gay people sick and disgusting right in the middle of class (she was an English teacher and was pissed that gays co-opted the word gay) to in high school having my hottest teacher ever talk about how hot RuPaul looked in Rolling Stone. Yes, I can totally see those enlightened individuals being forced to teach about anything gay and the beautiful outlook it would have had in my middle America small town.

  • Jeffree

    What’s taught in the schools is largely a function of the textbooks & the interests of the teacher. Nothing prevents a teacher from skipping over portions or details of the text, OR from including material on topical issues such as LGBT writers, musicians, scientists, etc.

    To counteract the ballot measure, I agree with @Luke & @Hyhybt; plus letting the hard Right fundies spend themselves poor…PLUS letting them show how rabid they are — via their hysterical ads.

  • B

    Keep your shirts on (figuratively, or off, as the case may be).

    Check out for some information
    about the group behind this proposed initiative:

    “Board of Directors” “No Announcement”

    “Advisory Board of Directors” “No Announcement”

    My guess – this has all the earmarks of a marginal political organization with nearly no funding, and it takes millions to get an initiative on the ballot (the cost of signature gatherers).

    They list some guy named Tim LeFever as “Chairman of the Board” in describing one “action”, but that is the only name I could find.

    They give an address for contributions as “Capitol Resource Institute at 660 J Street, Suite 250 Sacramento, CA 95814”

    But a Google search found for the “Pacific Research Institute”, which lists “Sacramento Office 660 J Street, Suite 250, Sacramento, CA 95814”

    Odd that these two organizations give the same address down to the suite.

    Even funnier, has a link named “Contact Gov. Schwarzenegger,” so they don’t even have a staff that can keep their links updated!

    Given that, I’d be surprised if this group is a real threat. I’m surprised that they can get enough funding to keep a web site up and buy lunch.

  • B

    Should have added: A Timothy Lefever is listed in (The Political Graveyard site) as:

    Lefever, Timothy (born c.1959) — also known as Tim Lefever — of Dixon, Solano County, Calif. Republican. Candidate for U.S. Representative from California 3rd District, 1994, 1996; delegate to Republican National Convention from California, 2004, 2008. Still living as of 2008.

    Also lists Tim Lefever
    “Importance? 0.00000 Average”.
    has more info for Capitol Resource Institute including
    President – Tim Lefever
    Chairman – Tim Levefer
    Treasurer – Richard Treakle
    Secretary – David Reade
    – Karen England

    So, I guessed too quickly on it being a one-man outfit. We are up to 5, with some possibly doing next to nothing (who knows?) lists the same head guy:


    Tim LeFever: Chairman
    Attorney, LeFever Mattson

    Tim LeFever, his wife Amy, and their three girls, are residents of Dixon, California. He is a principal in the real estate development and holding company of LeFever Mattson. He was the Republican nominee in the 3rd Congressional District of California (against Vic Fazio) 1994 and 1996, Chairman of Capitol Resource Institute; Chairman of Mission Solano; advisory board member of The Pacific Justice Institute, Youth Guidance Connection, Campus Life Connection, and the Alpha Pregnancy Resource Center. Co-founder and former board member of The Rutherford Institute of California and The Western Center for Law and Religious Freedom. B.A., University of California Berkeley; J.D., Hastings School of Law, San Francisco. Tim has served on the Mission Solano Advisory Board since the Mission’s founding in 1998, and the Board of Directors since 2002.

    So, since his real estate company brings in the income, I’d imagine whatever he does with
    the “Capitol Resource Institute” is more or less ceremonial.

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