CA Legislators Beholden to Leftist Special Interest Groups Refuse Reasonable Safeguards On Early Erotic Child Development (SB 673)

SB 673 Testimony

Sacramento, CA—When you strip away all of the drama, the recent battle over Senate Bill 673 essentially boiled down to one fundamental issue:  State vs. parents.  More specifically, does the state collective have the primary authority to raise and train children as it sees fit, or do parents?  Even more precisely, does California have the primary authority to teach elementary school children, between the ages of four and twelve (TK-6th grade), comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) while making it difficult for parents to ascertain what is being taught?  And can the state make it challenging for parents to excuse their kids from early erotic education?  Put slightly differently, how far will the state go to force its radical and transformative new sexual orthodoxy on our families?

Precisely just how far leftist legislators are willing to go was on transparent display on January 15, 2020 during the Senate Education Committee hearing (read “kangaroo court”) on SB 673.  This legislation arose because parents across the Golden State were having great difficulty reviewing CSE materials their seventh-grade and high school students were being exposed to under the 2015 California Healthy Youth Act (CHYA).  In many cases, school districts concealed or hid the curricula, made access extremely difficult, or flat out refused to allow parents to review it.  It soon became evident why access was limited.  Districts did not want parents to see the extreme and graphic materials because they did not want students to opt-out of the sexuality program, which they view as a positive good for all students.  But, despite widespread district efforts to conceal CSE curriculum, the truth started leaking out.  Information is power and informed and concerned parents began to organize in opposition to CSE all across the state in 2018.  As CSE was recently expanded in the California Department of Education elementary “health” framework and curricula, the collective roar of a million “mama bears” only grew louder.

CHYA allows, but does not require, that CSE is taught in elementary school.  Regarding age and developmental appropriateness, the majority of parents who have reviewed the extreme and graphic CSE materials recognize that five-year-old children are not “little adults,” and understand that CSE is “too much, too soon,” especially for younger children.

Sponsored by Senator Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga) and written by citizen-parent Denise Pursche, SB 673 was a very reasonable, moderate, and commonsense bill.  It simply required transparency, accountability, and meaningful active parental choice if a school district decided to teach CSE from TK-6th grade.  First, it required that all CSE materials be posted on the internet, in languages immigrants in the area schools can understand.  Second, it required that parents actively opt-in their four- to twelve-year-old children, to make sure kids do not accidentally participate in CSE classes by failing to opt-out.  Third, it required that CSE materials are medically-accurate and age-appropriate.  Objectively, no sane person who understands child development and respects parents’ rights should have voted against it.  A no brainer, right?  Not so fast!

Joining Senator Morrell in providing testimony in support were constitutional attorney Dean Broyles of the National Center for Law & Policy and Dr. Ahmed Soboh, Chairman of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, an umbrella organization for 70 mosques and Islamic Centers representing over 500,000 community members. In fact, it is estimated that the diverse coalition in support of SB 673 collectively represents at least 10.8 million people, including: the California Catholic Conference, the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, branches of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, a chapter of the NAACP, dozens of Korean Christian churches, nondenominational churches, faith-based organizations and others, as well as tens of thousands of people who submitted letters and made calls to their representatives and committee members.

Yet, after a contentious debate, the Senate Education Committee voted along party lines (5-2) to kill the bill.  Why?  Many of the leftist committee members appeared to be sympathetic to parental rights and the need for transparency, but they still voted against it.  Democratic Senators and opposition witnesses claimed to be concerned that the opt-in would create “barriers” to young children accessing CSE.

Ideas have consequences.  Bad ideas have victims.  National CSE pushing SIECUS, for example, believes that children have “inalienable sexual rights,” apart from the guidance of their parents and faith community.  Elitist purveyors of CSE for very young children see these programs as a positive social good and that they are the experts on children, not parents.  Therefore, they are more than willing to circumvent parents and conceal their dark curricula in order to achieve the “greater good” of indoctrinating our children in the name of “health.”  But the primary reason they killed SB 673 was probably that there would be hell to pay with powerful special interest groups if they had not done so.  Who are these extremist organizations pushing early erotic education in California?  Well, it’s the usual suspects: Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, Equality California, NARAL, the California PTA, and the California Teachers Association, to mention a few.

But one of the more note-worthy things about the hearing was that the primary opposition “research” heavily relied upon by the ACLU and regurgitated in approximately 80% of the opposition letters evaporated during the hearing.  How?  I actually read the research cited.  Thus I was able to point out in testimony that “the research cited…[in] most of the opposition letters does not support their allegations that opt-out is preferred by parents, nor that very early sexuality education is in the best interest of children.  The RAND study strongly supports parental informed consent, here transparency and opt-in, and the CDE and AAP articles support CSE starting in fifth grade, not kindergarten or first grade. The opposition research actually supports SB 673.”  In response to questioning by Senator Ling Ling Chang, I further explained that the RAND study did not support the ACLU’s contention that parents’ wishes are more in line with an opt-out, as opposed to the opt-in proposed by SB 673.  This is because RAND did not even research whether parents preferred opt-out for early elementary sex education classes, but this was actually a limited study speculating on parental intent based only upon opt-in vs. opt-out rates for a drug prevention program at two California middle schools.  In fact, the parents were never actually surveyed about their wishes about how to object to student participation in the RAND study.  Notably, after this testimony, no one cited the ACLU’s misleading “research” during the hearing or made any attempt to rely on it.

In spite of the fact that their opposition research was debunked, the Democrats on the Senate Education Committee proceeded to embarrass themselves by maintaining a stubborn opposition to SB 673.  In so doing, they proved themselves to be, at best, ignorant of the California Healthy Youth Act (CHYA) and the resulting CSE curricula or, at worst, intentionally deceptive.  Regarding CHYA, Senator Richard Pan (D-Elk Grove) attempted to rebuke a portion of my testimony as misleading, stating that CHYA only deals with sex education, but that it does not require the teaching of “sexuality” education.  Senator Connie Leyva (D-Chino) quickly chimed in with her agreement with Pan’s blundering and specious statement.  But both Senator Pan and Senator Levya were wrong.  The truth is that CHYA does mandate sexuality education, specifically using the term “sexuality” seven times in the statute.  So, why would Pan and Leyva be so quick to mislead or deceive here?  Probably because “sexuality” includes a broad range of issues controversial and sensitive issues that may not be age-appropriate including, but not limited to, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, eroticism, pleasure, etc.  Apparently, these “public servants” on the Education Committee were trying to conceal the fact that CHYA and the unquestionably graphic and extreme “sexuality” curricula developed under the law actually do require that our children marinate in the moral cesspool of extreme “sexuality” education.  Sadly, a lack of basic integrity, candor, and transparency appears to be a dangerous problem for many California state officials involved in education.

Approximately 100 bold and courageous citizens, including parents, grandparents, pastors, and others, stood up and one by one and passionately explained why they supported SB 673.  As the spoke, they were representing the thoughts and feelings of thousands, if not millions, of California citizens.  In fact, Senator Morrell received approximately 50,000 letters in support of the bill and an online change.org petition was signed by more than 47,000 citizens.  The opposition was much smaller.  Only approximately 15 people stood up to speak in “me too” opposition to the bill, including Equality California, the ACLU, Plannned Parenthood, and surprisingly the PTA!

In her closing remarks Senator Connie Levya took to arrogantly lecturing citizens supporting SB 673.  Leyva quickly drew loud boos when she assumed parents had not read the CSE curricula and glibly announced that “there is nothing in [in CHYA CSE curricula] that is not age-appropriate.”  This was a particularly offensive Leyva lie, among many others, and the informed citizens present knew it and immediately called her out on it.  Her misrepresentations did not stop there. She proceeded to deceptively declare that the CSE curricula did not include “anal sex, sexting, cybersex, phone sex, sensation play, and kinky sex….”  But in reality, the CSE curricula are even more graphic and extreme than is revealed by Leyva’s short list.  CDE approved materials promote, or link to sites promoting, a hook-up culture, pleasure focus, sex as sport, and porn normativity, among other terrible things.  Tragically, the state is condoning the mass sexual grooming of public school students, putting them at increased risk for abuse by sexual predators and sex traffickers.

Continuing to receive loud opposition from the citizens in attendance to her lecture, Levya angrily shot back that the reason the audience had issues with CHYA and support SB 673 is “because people are afraid to talk to their children about sex.”  This naturally generated more angry boos from the crowd.  Ironically, the CHYA-ignorant Chairwoman was attacking and blaming well-informed parents and grandparents for being ignorant.  This will likely cost her a lot of votes.

In stark contrast, Senator Scott Wilk’s (R-Santa Clarita) moral clarity on the Democrat’s stubborn unwillingness to support SB 673 was quite illuminating.

He warned, “You [parents] need to stay engaged!  If you’re not sure what is going on in this building, we are having our own private version of Animal Farm.  Policymakers in this building want to raise your children….You have to stay engaged or you’re going to lose the ability to raise your own children.”

Indeed!  While on one hand the “People’s Republic of California” favors the state, the U.S. Constitution, which remains the supreme law of the land, and the U.S. Supreme Court fortunately clearly favor parents here.  For nearly 100 years, SCOTUS has repeatedly ruled that parents have the fundamental right to direct the care and raising of their children.

“The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excludes any general power of the State to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.”  Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510 (1925).

However, the one-uber-liberal 9th Circuit ruled in 2005 that the right of parents to shield their children from sexually-explicit materials essentially ends at the school house door (Fields v. Palmdale).  The good news, however, is that well-respected constitutional attorneys believe the 9th Circuit’s case subverting parental rights was wrongly decided and that this collectivist and anti-family precedent will ultimately be overturned, either by an increasingly conservative 9th Circuit or a decidedly conservative U.S. Supreme Court.

Wake up California!   We the people must demand that our public servants actually start serving the public and not extreme special interest groups bent on sexually corrupting and harming our kids.  Our children are not primarily creatures of the state of California—to forcibly indoctrinate into its radical leftist mold.  Constitutional rights, including parental rights, do not end at the schoolhouse door.  The state does not have the authority to coercively impose a new sexual orthodoxy on our children and families, especially one that deconstructs truth and undermines the free exercise of religion and the freedom of speech.  Parents, especially those raising young children, deserve transparency and meaningful choices.  Yet, in most districts parents have been misled about CHYA and the CSE curricula has been concealed from families.  The status quo is unacceptable.  Informed consent is an ethical issue and is a civil rights issue, one that the majority of our public servants in California appear insistent on ignoring, to our collective peril.  California school districts that continue to ignore parents and trample on Constitutional rights should prepare themselves to be sued.

For further information about the Senate Education Committee SB 673 hearing and CHYA, please watch:

Pre-hearing Press Conference

Post Hearing Rally

Hippies Turn against Free Speech

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Do you remember the good old days, when liberals believed in the freedom of speech? The University of California Berkeley is arguably the birthplace of the free speech movement. Indeed, beginning in 1960’s UC Berkeley was one of the epicenters of powerful counter cultural movements that spawned the hippies and a radical commitment to question, protest and overthrow existing authority structures with a robust commitment to the freedom of speech. The ACLU and other free speech advocates often took to quoting Voltaire: “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”  Now, Berkeley has ironically become one of the centers of free speech suppression.

What a difference a few decades make! Now that some of the very same individuals who were leading protests in the 60’s and 70’s have matriculated, and have grown up to teach and lead institutions of higher education, many have decidedly turned against the First Amendment’s promise of the freedom of expression. Now that the liberal elites control these institutions, they seek to abuse their power by aggressively turning against all free thought and speech that would dare question now-entrenched leftist orthodoxies or undermine their ability to seamlessly indoctrinate the next generation with collectivist leftist group-think. There are now two classes of speech on most American college campuses: politically correct liberal speech, which is allowed, and politically incorrect conservative speech, which is not.

The clear message to everyone paying attention is that academic elites will only permit ideas and speech with which they agree, but will target for eradication ideas and speech with which they personally disagree. The dominant target for thought and speech suppression on college campuses today is all things conservative, especially ideas informed by the Judeo-Christian worldview. Completion of their radical decades-long revolution apparently means they now must actively suppress, punish, and silence thoughts and words that do not perfectly align with the now institutionally entrenched leftist worldview.  But if the freedom of speech means anything, it certainly does not mean that some speech is more “free” than others or that the state can support speech it likes and obliterate speech it doesn’t.

This decidedly dark Orwellian trend was highlighted recently when Milo Yiannopoulos, a very controversial Trump supporter and an openly gay member of the right, was invited by the campus Republican Club to speak and UC Berkeley.  More than 100 “tolerant” faculty members referring to Milo’s presentations as “harassment, slander, defamation, and hate speech” signed a letter demanding that the University cancel the event. Protestors clad in black clothing and masks smashed windows, set fires, and pepper-sprayed a young female Trump supporter in the face, while carrying posters and signs claiming, quite ironically, that Milo is a “fascist.” Rather than protecting Milo and his speech, UC Berkeley officials and police folded like a cheap suit, allowing the protesters to prevail in their “heckler’s veto” by canceling Milo’s talk. Unfortunately, Berkeley is not alone. Ben Shapiro’s event at UCLA faced similar opposition recently. But, as Yale Law Professor Jose Cabranas pointed out in the Washington Post, “No one can doubt that we should strive for civility. But problems arise when we are told that “uncivil” speech has made a campus “unsafe” — and that university officials should make a campus safe again by punishing uncivil speakers.”

As George Orwell wrote, “If freedom means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” Yet, today in our universities, once the bastions of the freedom of thought and expression, the Freedom of Speech is being destroyed, sacrificed on the false altars of “trigger warnings,” “safe spaces,” “hate speech” and all other forms of mind-numbing snow-flakery. Academic freedom increasingly means liberty only for liberals. Conservatives need not apply or should at least remain silent.

This is no small matter. Our very freedom and the continuation of our republic are at stake. As a conservative constitutional attorney, I do not always agree with former Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren. However, I must wholeheartedly agree with Warren’s prediction about the republic-ending threat of political correctness when he wrote that either “teachers and students must always remain free to inquire, to study and evaluate,” or “our civilization will stagnate and die.” (Sweezy v. New Hampshire, 354 U.S. 234 (1957”)).  Benjamin Franklin agreed that the “freedom of speech is a principal pillar of government; when this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved, and tyranny is erected in its ruins.”

Yes, the freedom of speech includes religious speech. But in this hostile environment, many believers have stopped talking about God and sharing the gospel. Why? Fear of man—fear of retribution. Yet, as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. so elegantly wrote, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” George Washington warned, “If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”

Although liberals have lost their love of free speech, we must be different – if not for ourselves, for the sake of our children and grandchildren. Let us this day, as free Americans, commit to steadfastly oppose every authority, government, or other influence, that seeks to suppress, destroy, or silence the freedom of speech. Long live the freedom of speech!