The life of Harvey Milk may have inspired several Bay Area politicians, millions of Americans and the Oscar-winning performance by actor Sean Penn, but a day dedicated to the life of the first openly gay man elected to public office in California is too much for the Orange County Board of Education to bear.
The board voted unanimously on Sept. 17 to oppose state Senate Bill 572, which would declare "Harvey Milk Day" on May 22.
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"The effect of SB 572 upon children as young as kindergarten could be extreme," says Randy Thomasson, that group's president. "There's no definition and no limit to the 'suitable commemorative exercises' that children would perform in honor of Harvey Milk. This could include gay-pride parades on campus, cross-dressing exercises, and mock gay weddings. There's nothing prohibiting this and no parental permission either. This instruction, whether taught directly or indirectly, is not what parents want or children need."
Thomasson claims schoolchildren would be exposed to Milk's "very controversial values."
"Based on the historical record of Milk's sordid life, this could include teaching elementary and secondary schoolchildren that adult-child homosexual 'sex' is okay, having multiple sexual relationships at the same time is okay, and telling a very public lie is good if it 'gets you ahead.'"