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Signatures sought in Yuba-Sutter to repeal gay history law
Drivers in the heart of Marysville got political activism with their morning travels on Monday, as well as a bit of debate through placards.
To get people to sign an initiative for a ballot measure next year to revoke a new state law mandating the inclusion of gay peoples' contributions to history in school curriculums, proponents of the measure held signs touting the repeal of Senate Bill 48.
But they weren't the only ones; Jeffrey Girard of Olivehurst, who heads a local pro-gay rights group, Got Bless?, held his own sign alongside the anti-48 crowd, reading, "WE LOVE GAYS."
"I'm out here just to promote the idea that there are folks out here who love gay and lesbian folks," said Girard, who was discussing the issue with Sutter County Supervisor James Gallagher, who was holding a sign pushing for the ballot initiative next to Girard.
Girard added, "And that I hope people have information on what the bill is and what it would do."
The signature gathering is part of a statewide effort to collect about 505,000 registered voter signatures by Wednesday in order to qualify the measure for the state ballot next year.
The bill, by state Sen. Mark Leno, D- San Francisco, would also include contributions from lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people. Gov. Jerry Brown signed it into law on July 14.
Lou Binninger, a Yuba City resident helping in the effort, said organizers believe they have enough signatures, but are trying to get 20 to 25 percent more than they need to account for ones the state may disqualify.
"We want to get it on the ballot so people have a chance to say what they want," Binninger said. "We sense the public has a different point of view on this issue than the Legislature."
For the two hours the signature gatherers were out at 10th and E streets, they got fairly steady interest, with a person or two stopping at any one time to find out more and add their names. Wet weather may have dissuaded some, but Binninger said he'd heard of other people bringing petitions they had collected on their own.
Binninger said the contributions of gay people in history might be worth noting, but the emphasis should be on the contributions, not their sexuality.
"No one celebrated the heterosexual behavior of John Sutter," he said, referring to the mill owner where gold was discovered in California. "The whole sexual discussion should be out."
State Sen. Doug LaMalfa, who was at the signature gathering, said he wouldn't see the effort to repeal S.B. 48 as trivial even with the state's economy in woeful shape.
"This bill will save money because you won't have to change the curriculum," said LaMalfa, R-Richvale. "What are you going to kick out of the curriculum to include this?"
CONTACT reporter Ben van der Meer at 749-4786.