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Openly gay state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, introduced a bill today that would require public school materials to include the historical contributions of gay people as a way to fight bullying.

Leno's Senate Bill 48 is similar to a proposal that was approved by the Legislature in 2006 but vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"Most textbooks don't include any historical information about the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) movement, which has great significance to both California and U.S. history," Leno said in a press release. Leno was recently named to prominent leadership as chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.

Leno added: "Our collective silence on this issue perpetuates negative stereotypes of LGBT people and leads to increased bullying of young people."

The bill's aim is to work information about historical figures and events into materials that are up for regular review and revision by state public school authorities.

Leno said the inclusion of information about gays would mirror the steps the state has required to include information about women and ethnic minorities in school materials.

The gay rights organization Equality California is a sponsor of the Leno proposal.

"Given the number of young people who tragically took their own lives after being bullied for being LGBT - or perceived as being LGBT - it is imperative that we do more to ensure that all children feel fully welcomed, and this legislation is an important step toward that goal," said Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California.



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