Rick Amato

A new law requiring California public schools to, among other things, allow students to 'choose their own gender' when deciding whether to use the boys or girls restroom and locker room is a glaring example of the cultural assault taking place in America. At stake are the minds, values and ideals of the children who parents send off to school each morning. The law went into effect on Jan. 11.

SB 777 as it is known, claims to be about creating safe schools, and prohibiting discrimination against students based upon gender. Instead it is another example of how the influence which special interest groups hold over our lawmakers results in poor legislation that is out of touch and unrepresentative of the values of the American people. The law alters the definition of the word "sex" as being biological in nature and replaces it with the word "gender" in California's Education Code. It further defines "gender" as "sex" based upon a person's gender identity or gender-related appearance and behavior, and not upon their natural sex at birth.

A supporter of the new legislation, Debbie Look of the California State PTA, told me, "We believe in the right to provide a safe school environment for all students. A 2001-2002 survey indicated that 7.5 percent of students reported being harassed based upon sexual orientation, which in turn leads to poor grades, skipped school days and worse."

But Jim Kelly — one of four Board members of the Grossmont Unified High School School District in San Diego who is currently suing the state of California over SB 777 — had this to say, "No one is arguing against anti-discrimination. There are current laws ... which protect students against the harmful effects of discrimination." But "what they have done here, however, is turn a disorder into a civil right. Gender identity issues are classified as a disorder by The American Psychiatric Association. This law makes it a civil right."

He added: "Furthermore the guidelines are vaguely written. Who enforces whether or not a 16-year-old teenage boy is permitted into the girls locker room? The teachers? The teachers I have spoken with want no part of this. How do we know when someone has selected their gender? Do they give us written notice, verbal notice, same day notice, what?"

State Assemblyman Joel Anderson, who co-chaired a referendum to overturn SB 777, went on to say, "Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger gave his word to all the state legislators that he would not sign this bill. Then one week later, when we were out of session and our guard was down, he signed it — the exact same bill he vetoed last year."

When pressed on why Mr. Schwarzenegger said one thing but did another just days later, Mr. Anderson responded, "I am only speculating, but it is my belief the governor has aspirations to be elected to the U.S. Senate and is courting support among certain special interest groups."

The special interest group that sponsored SB 777 is Equality California. It describes itself as "California's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights and advocacy organization, leading efforts for civil rights at the state level through strategies, including sponsoring legislation and efforts to ensure passage, lobbying legislators and government officials."

There could be national ramifications that go beyond the state of California. Some interpret the law as forcing California textbooks to no longer be able to use words like "mother and father" and "husband and wife," because they suggest that heterosexuality is the norm." Since California is often the largest purchaser of textbooks, schools across the nation may be impacted because publishers are not likely to create separate textbooks for other states.

Where does it go from here? According to Mr. Anderson, "First of all, it is now the law in the state of California. "Secondly, this legislation was strategically written (without proper guidelines) so that it would be enforced in the courtrooms. The lawsuits are coming. In the meantime we are forming an initiative to overturn it, which is where we prefer to fight this battle".

It used to be parents sent their children off to school to learn about the three Rs. Now, in California at least, children are about to be taught about the three sexes.


Rick Amato

Rick Amato is a radio talk show host, Washington Times columnist, political commentator and a frequent guest on CNN. 'The Rick Amato Show' is heard on 1170 KCBQ in San Diego. Rick blogs at http://rickmato.townhall.com.

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