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When Denise Pursche heard her fifth-grade twins’ school would teach them California’s new “Comprehensive Sexuality Education” (CSE) curriculum, she was concerned. As a Christian parent, she and her husband expected to disagree with some of the content, so she wanted to see the lessons herself.

But for weeks, school personnel stonewalled Denise’s request to review the lessons. They sent her on detours and provided vague lesson summaries instead.

Annoyed but persistent, she kept digging. Finally, after almost a month, the school relented. Once Denise finally saw the actual lessons, she understood why.

The new curriculum was graphic, obscene, and utterly inappropriate for 11-year olds. It was no wonder school personnel tried to hide it from parents.

Denise immediately decided to opt her kids out of the sex education classes. Still, she realized other parents had no idea what schools were showing in elementary schools. She knew she had to do something more.

She began by asking how to change the law. No school should keep parents in the dark regarding this graphic content.

After research, Denise contacted her own legislators, sending them her ideas for a change. Sadly, her ideas fell on deaf ears. Denise had no training as a lobbyist or degree in political science. What could she accomplish in Sacramento?

That’s when Denise reached out to California Family Council. She first connected with Greg Burt, CFC’s Director of Capitol Engagement, who leads efforts to engage and equip grassroots supporters.

Greg loved Denise’s idea and knew CFC could help. He started introducing her to legislators and other family advocates to help hone her vision into a bill a legislator could introduce.

After months of hard work and collaboration, CFC helped turn Denise’s dream into a reality: a new bill called SB 673.

The bill required schools to publish sex education curriculum online for easy parental access. Elementary schools must also secure parental permission before exposing a child to a comprehensive sex lesson. Currently, the law forces parents to use an “opt-out” process they must initiate. Most parents don’t use it, because most haven’t seen the curriculum for themselves.

After Denise’s own legislator refused to sponsor her bill, CFC connected her with one of our pro-family champion legislators at the Capitol. Last January, Senator Mike Morrell introduced SB 673 in the California legislature.

California Parent Denise Pursche speaks at the California state capitol on January 15, 2020, in support of SB 673, a bill that she proposed to mandate sex education transparency.

On January 15, 2020, CFC hosted a rally on the Capitol steps in support of the bill. Alongside Senator Morrell and CFC President Jonathan Keller, speakers included:

  • Dean Broyles with National Center for Law & Policy,
  • Rebecca Friedrichs with For Kids & County,
  • Pastor Jack Hibbs with Real Impact,
  • Tim Thompson with Our Watch Now,
  • Marlo Tucker with Concerned Women for America,
  • Sarah Kim with Traditional Values for the Next Generation,
  • America Figueroa with Alliance to Protect Children, and
  • Stephanie Yates with Informed Parents of California.

During the committee hearing, Senators heard powerful testimony from Denise and several expert witnesses. But after misleading opposition from the California State PTA and Equality California, a 5-2 party-line vote defeated SB 673. All Democrats voted no, while both Republicans voted yes.

<em>Denise Pursche testifies before the Senate Education Committee for SB 673 <em>

Despite this setback, the issue of sex education transparency and parental rights to supervise their children’s schooling continues. Hundreds of articles were published about SB 673, and parents across the state are rising up to protect their children.

“I believe the battleground for the soul of America starts right here in California,” Senator Morrell told parents. “Proverbs says that the duty of a parent is to leave an inheritance to our children’s children…that’s beyond money…Parents should have rights. The government bureaucracy has become too big, too powerful dictating to us what our kids should learn.”

Through your generous support, CFC is helping parents like Denise make a difference in California. There are already plans to reintroduce a similar bill to SB 673 in the coming session. We have a long battle ahead, but together with your partnership, our movement for Life, Family, and Liberty is growing every day!


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