Activists in California celebrated
Harvey Milk Day knocking on doors to build support for gay marriage.
Saturday was the inaugural day honoring
the slain gay rights leader.
Osbourne and daughter Kelly opened their Hidden Hills home to host a
fundraiser sponsored by the state's largest gay rights advocate,
On Friday, speaking
to a crowd at San Francisco's LGBT Community Center in the Castro
District, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said Harvey Milk
helped open doors for the gay community.
“We'll come right back to Harvey Milk
when he said his victory signaled a green light to all who were
disenfranchised,” Pelosi said. “A green light to move forward
and that the doors are open to everyone.”
California lawmakers have designated
May 22 – Milk's birthday – as Harvey Milk Day. Milk would have
turned 80 this year.
On Saturday, activists returned to the
roots of Milk's legacy by canvassing neighborhoods where voters had
helped approve Proposition 8, the 2008 initiative that trumped a
California Supreme Court ruling in favor of gay marriage. Groups
opposed to the gay marriage ban say they'll attempt to roll it back
Milk scribe Dustin Lance Black
explained to gay website gay.com why the event was important: “You
see Harvey doing that in the documentary The Times of Harvey Milk.
In the Bay Area he used to go into neighborhoods that were not
favorable to equality, and [in the film] you can watch the faces of
the people who are meeting gay and lesbian people for the first time.
I think a lot of them were horrified, but it creates change. We're
hoping to have that same reaction.”
In Los Angeles, volunteers gathered at
the East Los Angeles Service Center, where they heard from Black and
several local politicians, including Los Angeles City Councilman Jose
Huizar and state Assemblyman Hector De La Torre, a Democrat from
They fanned out across the city to
knock on doors in East Los Angeles, Maywood, Commerce, Huntington
Park, South Gate and Montebello, the Los Angeles Times
“We become human when we tell our
stories,” Marc Solomon, marriage director of Equality California,
told the paper.
“Harvey Milk was an activist, a
fighter and believed so strongly in personal stories as a way to make
progress happen,” he added. “So it's very befitting to do that.”
At least 25 cities throughout the
nation joined in celebrating the memory of Harvey Milk.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
reluctantly signed into law state Senator Mark Leno's Harvey Milk Day
bill last October. Schwarzenegger rejected a similar measure the
previous year. In vetoing the first bill, Schwarzenegger said Milk's
accomplishments should be celebrated at the local level.
Milk's 1977 election to the San
Francisco Board of Supervisors made him the first openly gay elected
official from a major U.S. city. The next year, Dan White, a
disgruntled former supervisor, gunned down Milk and San Francisco
Mayor George Moscone inside City Hall. During Milk's short tenure,
the camera shop owner turned politician dramatically increased the
visibility of the burgeoning gay rights movement.