The teaching of gay history could become compulsory in California schools if a new bill becomes law.

The bill, SB 48, was passed by the Senate today by 23 to 14 votes. Its full name is The FAIR (Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful) Education Act.

To pass, it must now win full state Assembly approval and be signed into law by governor Jerry Brown.

It would require schools to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people are recognised in text books and ban “discriminatory” materials.

California law already requires schools to highlight the contributions of women, African-Americans, Mexican Americans and entrepreneurs, among others.

The bill’s sponsor, Democrat Senator Mark Leno, said: “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 US history.

“This selective censorship sends the wrong message to all young people, and especially to those who do not identify as straight.

“We can’t tell our youth that it’s OK to be yourself and expect them to treat their peers with dignity and respect while we deny them accurate information about the historical contributions of Americans who happened to be LGBT.”