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article imageGov. Schwarzenegger Honors Gay Activist Harvey Milk

By William Suphan     Oct 14, 2009 in Politics
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a bill creating Harvey Milk Day to honor the slain San Francisco city supervisor.
Harvey Milk was the first openly gay person to hold public office in California. He devoted his life to granting equal rights to all American citizens and was slain along with then Mayor George Moscone by city supervisor Dan White in 1978, who had just resigned from his position and then decided he wanted his old job back.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is honoring Milk by signing a new bill proclaiming May 22, Milk's birthday, as Harvey Milk Day, according to CNN. It will not be a state holiday, rather, a day of significance; so schools and state offices will remain open on that day.
The bill drew a large reaction both supporting and denigrating the bill. Spokeswoman Andrea McCarthy said that most of the emails were in opposition, while most of the comments on Twitter were in favor.
State Senator Mark Leno (D) considered Milk a unique historical figure who was "assassinated in his public office for being who he was."
Randy Thomasson, the president of, claims that the bill is vague and would lead to schools having gay pride parades and mock gay weddings, though the basis for this is lacking in the bill.
Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California said: "The reality is Harvey Milk is a hero to so many people and a great role model. It's very appropriate that the state he worked in and passed the first gay rights bill in the country should honor him."
This is the first time the state has officially honored a gay person.
President Obama has awarded Milk with a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom. The movie bearing Milk's name earned Sean Penn an Oscar for the lead role.
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