Schwarzenegger vetoes Harvey Milk Day
Schwarzenegger vetoes Harvey Milk Day
Courtesy of the Human Rights Campaign

On September 30, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed legislation that would have officially designated May 22 as Harvey Milk Day in the state of California, honoring the first openly Gay man to be elected to office in a major city in the United States.

"The Human Rights Campaign shares the disappointment of Equality California, as well as thousands of HRC members in California and other Californians," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "Harvey Milk is a hero who stood for simple equality and justice, and ultimately gave his life for these principles. It would have been fitting to officially recognize his birthday as a day of special significance in California. However, as everyone who admires Harvey Milk fully understands, we can pay this great man lasting tribute by working to make equality a reality for all Californians."

Harvey Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977, where he sponsored and worked to successfully pass an ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. He also worked to defeat the statewide Briggs Initiative, which would have banned Gay men and Lesbians from teaching in California schools.

Milk was assassinated on November 27, 1978 by Dan White, who also assassinated Mayor George Moscone. Thousands attended a spontaneous vigil held the night of Milk's funeral and heard a taped recording of Milk's famous statement that "If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door."

A film celebrating Milk's life and starring Sean Penn will be released this fall.