Gay advocates in Massachusetts are cheering a just-signed anti-bullying bill they say covers gay youth, gay weekly Bay Windows reported.

Both chambers of the legislature approved the bill on April 29. Surrounded by schoolchildren, Governor Deval Patrick signed the bill into law on Monday.

While the bill does not specifically list gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender students for programs and protections, gay advocates insist they'll be included.

In a newsletter emailed on Tuesday, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), the gay rights group at the center of the gay marriage movement in New England, said they worked closely with lawmakers to ensure gay youth are covered.

“GLAD successfully negotiated and drafted a compromise requiring teachers to be trained on the needs of groups 'shown to be particularly at risk' for bullying,” the group wrote. “Studies have consistently shown a disproportionately high risk of bullying for LGBT kids, so we are confident teachers will have to be trained on this issue.”

The law is similar to a measure approved last month by the Illinois House. Under the law, schools will be required to fight bullying by adopting anti-bullying policies and provide professional training for all members of school staff.

Social conservatives have previous decried such measures. Officials in California's Alameda Unified School District drew heated protest after approving an anti-bullying effort that included teaching respect for gay men and lesbians. Opponents decried the curriculum as “formal instruction in concert with the gay agenda.”

Activists worked on passage of the measure for more than a decade.