Sen. Mark Leno is seen here with Sean Penn as he announces legislation to create a Harvey Milk Day in California on March 3, 2009.
The state Senate has passed a bill that would further influence how public school students learn about history and social science -- through study of the contributions made by gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
Moving beyond textbook alterations, the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful Education Act, written by Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), passed 23-14. It also adds sexual orientation and gender identity to California's anti-discrimination protections.
The hope around FAIR is that educating students about diverse people and lifestyles will lower the likelihood of bullying, both now and later in life.
And with gay marriage awaiting its next court date, the FAIR bill is getting the lion's share of cultural attention in Sacramento.
"It is, in fact, legislating morality," Craig DeLuz, a parent and Sacramento school board member, told the LA Times. "It is requiring taxpayers to foot the bill to promote a lifestyle to which they may or may not be morally opposed."
On the other hand...
"Most textbooks don't include any information about LGBT historical figures or the LGBT civil rights movement, which has great significance to both California and U.S. history," Leno said in a release.
California, the nation's most populous state, buys a great many textbooks, so altering those books to meet only one state's order may not make publishing sense -- this alteration could spread to other states, too.
With a Democratic governor, proponents hope this is their year to turn the page and get the progress they feel is long overdue.