Calif. Bill Honoring Harvey Milk Prompts Backlash

Opponents fear day of 'special significance' will promote gay agenda
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 5, 2009 5:50 AM CDT
An activist holds a picture of slain politician Harvey Milk as people watch court proceedings on a giant screen during a demonstration on the issue of Proposition 8 in San Francisco earlier this year.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
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(Newser) – A bill saluting California's first openly gay elected official has reignited the debate over gay rights in the state, the New York Times reports. The measure, passed by the state legislature this week, calls for a day of recognition for Harvey Milk, a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors who was gunned down in 1977. The bill doesn't impose any specific requirements on schools or state agencies, but opponents fear it will mean more discussion of gay issues in schools.

The bill "could allow for gay pride parades on campus or mock gay weddings or cross-dressing," says the chief of one advocacy group. "There are days of special significance for John Muir, for the California poppy,"  the bill's author, a Democratic state senator, counters. "Why would we not have such a day for this unique California hero?" A similar bill was vetoed by Gov. Schwarzenegger this year but the bill's backers hope Milk's higher profile in the wake of last year's Oscar-winning biopic will get it passed this time.
(Read more Harvey Milk stories.)