what happens when we infiltrate government…

We start sponsoring critically necessary legislation. Even in small bits, adding them up reaches a critical point:

In California, a [n]ew bill requires gay history in textbooks to fight bullying

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 intends for this bill to address anti-gay bullying in the schools by breaking the silence on LGBT topics and creating opportunities for positive dialog. Expect the homophobes and the religious nutcases to start screaming, of course.

Elsewhere in the country, a Colorado lawmaker plans to introduce civil-unions bill.

A state lawmaker plans to introduce a bill next year that would make Colorado the fourth state to recognize civil unions.

Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver, said he believes the majority of Coloradans support civil unions and oppose gays being treated unfairly.

Steadman, who is gay, said he expects his proposal to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate, but he’s not sure what kind of reception the idea will get in the Republican-controlled House.

Colorado has a rocky history with gay marriage and civil unions (as outlined in the remainder of this article). Then again so does California and the infamous Proposition 8. And leaving aside the moment the question of whether civil unions are “second class,” I agree that they make a good stepping stone on the road to equality and shouldn’t be eschewed in that fight.

On a broader note, I think people elected at “lower” rungs of the government are more instrumental in getting local legislation passed that in turn affects how a region sees the issue. Collect enough such local officials with local legislation and opinion across the country starts changing rapidly. If you read up on the various civil union and gay marriage bills in different states across the country, almost all feature openly gay elected officials working on these bills, shepherding them through the various legislative processes, and the votes. It’s all about breaking the silence and talking. If the bare bones of that strategy sound familiar, it should: it’s the one the “Moral Majority” started, for their cause, in the mid to late 80’s.

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