SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Illinois Senate has advanced a bill that would require public schools to teach children about homosexuals and transgenders in national and state history. The legislation is opposed by at least one family group in the state.
S.B. 3249 cleared the Senate 34-18 on Wednesday, and now moves to the House for consideration.
“In public schools only, the teaching of history shall include a study of the roles and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the history of this country and this state,” the bill reads.
It also states that “[t]extbooks authorized to be purchased … must include the roles and contributions of all people protected under the Illinois Human Rights Act.”
Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, who sponsored the legislation, told reporters that she believes the requirement would teach students to be more accepting of homosexuals and transgenders.
“By teaching students an inclusive curriculum, Illinois classrooms will promote acceptance and a more accurate portrayal of history,” she told the State Journal-Register. “LGBT students also will learn about people who had some similar qualities to them and became historical role models.”
However, the Illinois Family Institute says that while students should be taught to be respectful to others, public schools shouldn’t be normalizing certain lifestyles in children’s minds contrary to their family’s values.
“It is well known that the controversies of the transgender and homosexual movements are in direct contradiction to the clear Judeo-Christian beliefs of many in Illinois,” Ralph Rivera wrote to legislators. “Schools should teach that we should be respectful of each student and each person. This is what we all agree on. However, schools should not be used to advocate for lifestyles that are against the religious values of the students and parents.”
“The left’s motive is what it always is: It is to normalize homosexuality,” spokeswoman Laurie Higgins also told the Associated Press.
If passed, Illinois would be the second state to require schools to include homosexual history in their curriculum. California signed the Fair Education Act into law in 2012.
Some Christians believe that ongoing concerns in public schools serve as all the more reason for parents to homeschool.
“Throughout Israel’s history, God ordained that thousands upon thousands of Israelite parents teach their children at home in Israel. The only time that did not happen was when they had no choice and their children were taken from them,” wrote Matthew and Ellen Gerwitz in 2014 on the “IndoctriNation” film website.
“Education is just one tool in the hands of the Creator who ultimately decides the direction every life will take. Parents who voluntarily choose to allow Egypt or Babylon to educate their children when they still have the freedom to educate them according to God’s mandate are without excuse,” they said.