Gay Legislators Take Hard Line on Bullying

By Matt Baume
|  Monday, Apr 18, 2011  |  Updated 2:59 PM PDT
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Gay Legislators Take Hard Line on Bullying

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Mark Leno stands with Sean Penn.

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What did it take to get two former rivals to find common ground? An issue on which both can agree: stopping anti-LGBT harassment.

Tom Ammiano and Mark Leno, known for years for their rivalry, are working together on the passage of bills that would make schools safer for queer youth, according to the Bay Citizen.

Ammiano's law would beef up requirements for schools to address bullying. Schools would have to institute stronger anti-harassment policies, monitor incidents of bullying, and issue reports on the safety of their students.

Leno's law would prevent schools from demeaning LGBT people in curricula. It would also ensure that schools end any exclusion of gay figures from history lessons. Such measures have had a proven effect in reducing harassment for all students, gay and straight.

Both bills have a good chance of being signed into law.

It comes after more than a decade of fighting between the two gay politicians. Leno was known to be more conservative -- by San Francisco standards, which is still pretty liberal. But in recent years, both have mellowed, and now they've found agreement in Sacremento.

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