News in Brief: SB 48 foe drops repeal efforts
compiled by Cynthia Laird
Anti-gay activist Richard Rios has dropped his attempts to repeal Senate Bill 48, also known as the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful Education Act. The state law, which took effect January 1, requires that students learn about the historical contributions of LGBT Americans.
In a phone interview this week, Rios said that the efforts are ending because Karen England, executive director of the Capitol Resource Institute and its affiliated Capitol Resource Family Impact, and others have also launched an anti-SB 48 initiative effort.
Rios said he'd stick with another proposal he submitted that would allow parents to opt their children out of school instruction in social science and family life that conflicts with their moral convictions. Parents can already opt their children out of health lessons.
Rios had submitted two proposals to the state attorney general's office directly targeting SB 48. One would have struck LGBTs from the groups whose historical contributions have to be taught to students. Another would have removed people with disabilities from that part of the law, along with LGBTs.
For one thing, Rios said, having England's proposal in the mix made for confusion. He also said he and his supporters wanted to focus their efforts on the opt-out initiative.
He said they started putting out petitions last weekend and will launch a more aggressive effort today (Thursday, January 26).
Whether it involves LGBTs or not, if something contradicts a parent or guardian's belief system, they should have "the right to choose whether or not that's a part of their children's education," Rios said. State officials issued the initiative summary January 13. The anti-gay activists need 504,760 valid signatures to get their proposal on the ballot.
Rios said they're just starting to raise money. He said the funding sources they've had "were primarily for SB 48" and they're "in the process of trying to find out which funders are still interested."
He estimated they'd need about $2 million if they do paid signature gathering as well as volunteers.
The Committee for Parental Rights and Education has only two formal members, Rios, the chair, and Regina Risolio. Both also are members of the Christian Coalition of California.
In an email, Risolio indicated that to her, the initiative is very much about LGBT issues.
"Why do parents not have a say about what their children are being taught when it comes to anything sexual?" she said. "To make everyone happy there needs to be the availability for those that have specific beliefs to make the choice to opt their children out. That is what is called freedom."
The secretary of state's office estimates that the England-backed proposal would be approved for circulation around mid-February. Another anti-SB 48 initiative, submitted by Lou Sheldon, chair of the Traditional Values Coalition, could be approved by Thursday.
Tax seminars for LGBTs
Tax season is near and that could mean more work for same-sex couples. In 2010 the Internal Revenue Service changed its approach to how it treats community property of California state-registered domestic partners, which also affects same-sex married couples. There are two workshops coming up to review the changes from 2010 as well as an update on how both tax preparation and estate planning has evolved over the past year in light of these changes.
The workshops take place Wednesday, February 1 in San Francisco at the LGBT Community Center, 1800 Market Street and Tuesday, February 7 in Oakland at Bananas, 5232 Claremont Avenue. Both run from 6 to 8 p.m.
They will be facilitated by attorney Alma Soongi Beck of the Beck Law Group and CPA Chris Kollaja of AL Nella and Company. Our Family Coalition and the Gay Asian Pacific Alliance are co-sponsors.
Due to the high demand and limited space, pre-registration is required and can be done for the SF workshop by visiting http://www.eventbrite.com/event/2682193513 and for Oakland by visiting http://www.eventbrite.com/event/2682193513. There is a nominal $5 donation requested, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.
Additionally, Lambda Legal Education and Defense Fund is sponsoring a tax seminar in San Francisco today (Thursday, January 26) at 6 p.m. at the offices of Covington and Burling, 1 Front Street, 35th floor, in San Francisco. Panelists will include attorney and author Frederick Hertz, attorney Deb Kinney of DLK Law Group, and enrolled agent Karen Stogdill.
RSVP is required and can be made by visiting www.lambdalegal.org/take-action/tax-season/protect-yourself.
Sober space seeks board members
The Castro Country Club, a sober space in San Francisco's gay neighborhood, is seeking interested people to join its advisory board. The club is currently in the midst of several changes related to the sale of its building and its efforts to keep it.
Voting on advisory board candidates will take place at a community meeting that will be held Sunday, February 5 at 1 p.m. at Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, 100 Diamond Street.
Those who are interested in joining the advisory board should send a statement explaining why they would like to serve. All statements received by January 31 will be posted at the club and on its Facebook page. Candidates should also possess the following criteria: be a member of the Castro Country Club community; have fundraising experience (either community, corporate, or foundation) or advocacy experience or nonprofit experience or board experience of some kind; make a two-year commitment to serve and have a desire to do so.
Current advisory board members are: Crispin Hollings, chair; Christopher Altman, Mike Marshall, Rebecca Prozan, and Mike Shriver.
Statements and the information can be submitted via email to Mike S, the advisory board secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org or dropped off at the club, located at 4058 18th Street.
Hayward LGBT center Vegas night
The Lighthouse Community Center will hold its annual fundraiser, Viva Las Vegas, on Saturday, February 4 from 6 to 10:30 p.m. at the Hayward City Hall rotunda, 777 B Street, in downtown Hayward.
The Vegas-style evening will feature gaming, entertainment, food, and beverages. Special entertainment includes a performance by the Oakland East Bay Gay Men's Chorus ensemble, Cher impersonator Sasha, and a dance performance by the Golden Follies.
Board President Robert Whitehead and Vice President Kari McAllister said that the event has become a great way for the center to thank its supporters as well as bring together people from all walks of the community to help raise much-needed funds.
Doors open at 6. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door. Price of the ticket includes $100 in gaming tokens.
Seth Hemmelgarn contributed to this report.