SACRAMENTO — A bill to designate a day of honor for slain gay-rights activist Harvey Milk could be headed for another veto by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger once the California legislature sends it his way.
The bill to designate Milk’s birthday, May 22, as a day of “special significance,” was passed by both houses of the Democratic-controlled Legislature this week and immediately was the subject of opposition and an outpouring of phone calls, emails and faxes to the Republican governor.
If Schwarzenegger vetoes the proposal, it would mark the second time in as many years he will have done so.
Last year, Schwarzenegger said it was more appropriate for Milk to be honored in San Francisco, where the former supervisor earned fame as the first openly elected gay man in the country before being assassinated.
But Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, the author of both attempts to recognize Milk, said Friday he hopes the governor will reach a different conclusion this year.
Since the last veto, Milk’s life and legacy were the subject of an Oscar-winning major motion picture, President Barack Obama awarded Milk a posthumous Medal of Honor, the highest civilian honor; and Milk was even selected by the governor to be inducted into the California Hall of Fame.
The bill received the Assembly’s approval Thursday, and it returns to the Senate one last time before moving to the governor’s office some time next week.
A spokesman for the governor said Friday it was too soon to tell how the governor might lean.