A bill to establish a statewide day honoring slain former San Francisco city supervisor and gay civil rights leader Harvey Milk is headed to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s desk.
Milk, the former Castro District supervisor and the first openly gay elected official of any large city in the country, was assassinated in 1978 along with Mayor George Moscone by former Supervisor Dan White. His life was documented in the 2008 Academy Award-winning film “Milk.”
The legislation would designate Milk’s May 22 birthday as a “day of special significance.”
It would have no financial cost to the state and state workers and teachers would not receive the day off, according to state Sen. Mark Leno, who authored the bill.
The bill passed the Senate on Tuesday and is now on its way to the governor’s desk, according to Leno’s office.
Schwarzenegger, however, vetoed a similar bill last year, saying that Milk’s contributions “should continue to be recognized at the local level by those who were most impacted by his contributions.”
Schwarzenegger has not taken a position on the new bill, governor’s office spokeswoman Andrea McCarthy said today.
McCarthy said the governor’s office has received more than 100,000 calls, letters and e-mails regarding the bill.
“The majority are actually opposed to the bill,” McCarthy said.
“But when it comes to Twitter posts, they tend to support the bill,” she added, acknowledging more support for the legislation among new media users than traditional letter-writers.
Equality California, the bill’s sponsor, released a statement today saying nearly 40,000 petitions from residents “in every part of the state” had been delivered to the governor, urging passage.
McCarthy said the bill has actually not yet reached the governor’s desk, but once it does, he will have 30 days to sign or veto it.
Schwarzenegger and his wife, first lady Maria Shriver recently announced Milk would be an inductee into the California Hall of Fame, and earlier this year, President Obama awarded Milk the Presidential Medal of Freedom.