It will not be a formal state holiday but will be observed by public schools as a day of “special significance” and teachers will be encouraged to conduct exercises recalling Milk’s life.
Arnold Schwarzenegger agrees to ‘Harvey Milk Day’ for California
Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Governor of California, has signed a bill creating a state day of recognition for the gay politician Harvey Milk.
By Nick Allen in Los Angeles
Published: 11:09PM BST 12 Oct 2009
It marked a u-turn for Schwarzenegger, the Republican governor, who had previously vetoed such a move.
Since he did so Milk has been posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and was the subject of a film for which Sean Penn won the Academy Award for best actor.
Schwarzenegger’s spokesman, Aaron McLear, said: “He has become much more of a symbol of the gay community than he was a year ago because of those things.
That made the difference from last year. He’s really come to symbolise the gay community in California.”
Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in a major US city, was assassinated in 1978.
“Harvey Milk Day” will now be celebrated in California on May 22, Milk’s birthday. He is only the second person, after conservationist John Muir, to have their own day in the state.