California Governor Arnold
Schwarzenegger has vetoed a proposed Harvey Milk Day. The measure
would have set aside the birthday of the slain gay
activist/politician in his memory and encourage public schools to
commemorate and educate about the history of California's first
openly gay politician.
Schwarzenegger's veto came on the last
day possible to kill the legislation introduced by openly gay
Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and passed by lawmakers.
In his veto message issued Tuesday, the
governor explained his reasons for vetoing the measure.
“I respect the author's intent to
designate May 22nd as 'Harvey Milk Day' and a day of
special significance for California public schools and educational
institutions to honor Harvey Milk as an important community leader
and public official in the city and county of San Francisco.
However, I believe his contributions should continue to be recognized
at the local level by those who were most impacted by his
Gay activist Milk won a long-fought
election to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. But it
was a short-lived victory. The next year Dan White, another
supervisor, assassinated Milk along with Mayor George Moscone at San
Francisco City Hall.
Milk was also a prominent gay activist,
who fought against anti-gay initiatives and dubbed himself the “Mayor
of Castro Street.”
Conservative groups had condemned the
legislative effort to give Milk his own day.
“It's crazy,” Karen England,
executive director of Capitol Resource Institute, told news10,
the Sacramento ABC affiliate. “It's a day that celebrates the
history of a gay individual for being gay. That's his claim to
Milk's life and legacy is being
dramatized in a new film to be released in November. Early
speculation about director Gus Van Sant's biopic, where Milk is
played by Sean Penn, is that it has Oscar potential.