Repeal of SB48 Falls Short on Needed Signatures

Sacramento, CA – While boxes of signed petitions are still being delivered to locations throughout the State, the coalition that promoted the Children Learning Accurate Social Science (CLASS) Act is projecting today that they will fall short of the more than 500,000 signatures needed to qualify the initiative for the 2014 ballot.

After eliminating the signatures that the coalition believed might be challenged for inaccuracies during official counting, the coalition approximates that it currently has 446,000 signatures. Today is the deadline for turning in signatures to the 58 counties.

Kevin Snider, Chief Counsel to Pacific Justice Institute and the author of the wording for the CLASS Act noted, “Placing a measure on the ballot through grassroots efforts alone has not been done in California in recent memory. Although history was against us, our conscience compelled the coalition to fight this battle rather than doing nothing.”

The CLASS Act was designed to counter the effects of SB48 that was signed into law in 2011 and began being implemented in January of this year. SB48, described by its proponents as a further crackdown on discrimination and bullying, requires that social science classes beginning at kindergarten add curriculum that is positive toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other minority figures. But the law also prohibits curriculum that “reflects adversely” on these same groups.

The CLASS Act initiative was designed to strike a balance in what is taught in social science classes. CLASS provided that no person could be excluded from the history books merely because of membership in a “protected class,” but no person would be included in the history books merely because of their sexual preference.

Many of the coalition members backing the CLASS Act were involved in an earlier effort to qualify a referendum to overturn SB48. Like the current drive to qualify the initiative, the coalition relied on volunteers as opposed to paying signature gatherers and fell short of the more than a half million signatures required.

Snider hinted at future efforts by the coalition aimed at mitigating the negative effects of SB48 but did not give details.

Brad Dacus, President and Founder of the Pacific Justice Institute said, “This campaign was a struggle to protect the children of our State. While the failure to gather the necessary signatures may be a disappointment, giving up on the most vulnerable members of our society would be unforgivable.”

The coalition thanked each person, church and organization for the sacrificial efforts made in gathering signatures and contributing money to the campaign. The coalition and supporters of the CLASS Act included Calvary Chapel Chino Hills, Faith and Public Policy, Capitol Resource Institute, Advocates for Faith and Freedom, Pacific Justice Institute, National Center for Law and Policy, Traditional Values Coalition, Korean Gospel Broadcast Company, Organization for Justice and Equality, United Families International, Alliance Defense Fund, Family Research Council, and Concerned Women for America.