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State leg backs May 22 as "Harvey Milk Day"

August 5, 2008 |  3:35 pm

The California Senate split along party lines Tuesday in narrowly approving legislation that would require the governor to proclaim May 22 of each year as Harvey Milk Day, in honor of the slain gay rights activist and member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica) said the bill by Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) was appropriate to honor a man who, in 1977, became the first openly gay elected official of any large city in the United States and later made the cover of Time Magazine.

"His legacy as a civil rights leader is still felt today," she said.

Not one Republican voted for the bill, which also says the day shall have special significance in public school and other educational institutions and "encourages those entities to conduct suitable commemorative exercises on that date."

Sen. Dave Cox (R-Fair Oaks) said his vote against the measure had nothing to do with who was involved. "In school, we ought to concentrate on writing, reading and arithmetic," he said, adding that the schools don’t need other requirements placed on them by the Legislature.

The bill must return to the Assembly for concurrence on some minor amendments before it goes to the governor.

--Patrick McGreevy