Christians Rally to Change Gay History Law

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Conservative Christians in California want to change a new state law requiring public schools to teach gay rights history to children.

Senate Bill 48 was approved by the California legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in July. It requires schools to include gay rights milestones during history lessons.

Volunteers are collecting signatures for a ballot referendum to repeal the law. They say the mandate would inappropriately expose young children to sex and infringe on parental rights.

Opponents need to gather more than 504,760 signatures by October 12 in order to get the referendum on the June 2012 ballot.

However, they lack two important things -- organizational experience and funding.

Political analysts say a citizens' initiative without professional petition circulators hasn't made it to a state ballot in almost three decades.

"If someone wrote a million-dollar check, we would be guaranteed to get this on the ballot," Pacific Justice Institute President Brad Dacus said. The legal aid firm wrote the proposed measure and is co-sponsoring the signature-gathering effort.

"That's not the case at this point. We are counting on people in churches and communities and families making the extra effort to get it done," he added.

"On an issue like this one, sometimes an abundance of passion, on both sides, can make up for a lack of money," said Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California.

"A well-organized and very emotionally committed grassroots base may be able to get this on the ballot even without significant funding," he explained.

The new law takes effect Jan.1 but state education officials say it is unlikely to be implemented fully until at least the 2015-16 school year.

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