In reality, the California legislation, authored by state Senator Mark Leno (D-SF), seeks to end the invisibility of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered citizens, as well as Americans with disabilities from the state’s social studies curriculum. In the past, contributions of LGBT historical figures might be recognized, but ‘the love that dare not speak its name’ was heavily censored.
SB 48 proponents argue the fact that when a histrical individual is widely known to be homosexual despite the censorship it only supports society’s sense that homosexuality is somehow wrong. Like the military’s ‘Dont ask, dont tell,’ proponents see the current practice of censoring the subject as government-sanctioned discrmination and point out no religion or ethnicity is so-censored.
For homophobic opponents, the legislation is seen to be as devastating to their religion-based prejudice as Prop 8 and marriage equality to California culture.
According to Courage Campaign Spokesperson, Ana Beatriz, her organization filed the complaint with State Attorney General, Kamala Harris, and John Mullen, the City Attorney of Oceanside where the incident occurred, on behalf of Campaign Courage member and Oceanside resident, Max Disposti. Reached by phone Friday afternoon, Oceanside City Attorney John Mullen told CPR he had not yet seen either the video or the complaint.
“Based on legal advice,” the complaint was not filed with the Fair Political Practices Committee, according to Arisha Hatch, the national field coordinator for the Courage Campaign.
“There needs to be more investigation,” to determine how widespread the Stop 48 signature-gathering tactics are, Hatch told California Progress Report. “At a minimum level, I think the Stop SB 48 campaign should immediately disavow the tactics [shown in the video] and prepare their volunteers with the information on how to legally collect signatures,” said Hatch.
Hatch believes the video shows “A volunteer signature gatherer who was fraudulently describing the SB 48 repeal initiative to parents as a law to protect their kids from child molesters. But I think there needs to be more investigation.”
Asked if she believes an investigation will be launched, Hatch told CPR, “I think its unclear at this time.”
“It looks like this person broke the law,” said Courage Campaign founder, Rick Jacobs. “There are two things I think need to happen immediately, one, there should be a very thorough investigation and two, the Stop SB 48 campaign needs to disavow this tactic and apologize.”
Jacobs thinks what the video shows is a clear breaking of the state’s campaign laws. “Coercing people through lies in order to get them to sign an official state campaign document is illegal. People lose confidence in the process if this sort of thing is allowed to happen.”
How will this affect the signature qualification process?
“This is a really key question, if indeed, and I think this is unlikely, the Stop SB 48 campaign collects what it believes to be enough qualifying signatures,” said Jacobs. “If that should occur, of course we will be vigilant in monitoring the checking of signatures.”
Courage Campaign is one of more than two dozen organizations in a broad coalition of equal rights groups defending the FAIR Education Act.
“Courage Campaign’s goal is to make its members and the public aware about the lies of this campaign and remind them of the importance of being vigilant in their community,” said Hatch. She encourages anyone who sees signature gatherers employing illegal or questionable tactics to “Pull out a video camera or phone“ and call the hotline (877-440-9585).
“Alleging that SB 48 could expose children to sexual predators is simply unacceptable, and Stop SB 48 campaign and their volunteers should be held accountable,” Julie Tindall, Marriage Equality USA’s chapter leader in the Sacramento region. The Capitol City’s suburban communities like Citrus Heights and Carmichael have seen organized Prop 8-like intensity in street corner protests over SB 48 in recent weeks.
Dan Aiello is the Sacramento reporter for the California Progress Report.