Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

California Senate Approves “Harvey Milk Day,” May 22


By a bipartisan vote of 24-14, the California Senate has approved May 22 as Harvey Milk Day, according to Advocate.Com.  Milk, the first openly gay elected official in the United States, was slain on November 27, 1978 by jealous San Francisco City Supervisor, Dan White, along with Mayor George Moscone. Milk’s murder rocked the gay rights world, and secured a martyr’s respect for the affable politician whose advice to all LGBT activists was “You gotta give ’em hope!”  Milk would have been 79 this coming May 22, the choice of his birthday a deliberate effort to preserve his story and legacy for generations to come.

Harvey Milk Day will be a “Day of Significance” throughout the Golden State.  The designation differs from a state holiday in that state employees will not be given the day off, and state offices will not close.  Nonetheless, the action of the state Senate is unprecedented in recognizing the importance of Milk’s contribution to the struggle for human rights in general, and for LGBT rights in particular.  In view of the controversy surrounding same-sex marriage and Proposition 8, this first annual commemoration becomes even more timely.

Among those testifying in favor of the Harvey Milk Bill was Dustin Lance Black, who received an Academy Award for his screenplay of the film Milk, starring Sean Penn in the title role.  Black expressed his debt to Harvey Milk who kindled hope in him as a Mormon boy in Texas who was isolated and hedged in by anti-gay sentiment.  The sole Republican to join the Senate’s 23 Democrats to vote for the creation of Harvey Milk Day, Senator Abel Maldonado, R-Santa Maria, credited Black’s testimony before the Senate Education Committee with causing him to flip his vote from “no” to “yes.” “I rarely get swayed by testimony,” Maldonado said.

May 15, 2009 - Posted by | Bisexual persons, gay men, Lesbian women, Marriage Equality, transgender persons | , , , , , , , ,

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