Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger surprisingly flip-flopped on his previous opposition and signed the state Senate bill establishing May 22 as "Harvey Milk Day," much to the chagrin of the Orange County Board of Education.
Ken Williams, who was president of the board when it voted unanimously to damn the legislation honoring the California gay icon, called it "social engineering" to encourage students to learn about Milk's career. Williams later handed the president's gavel to Alexandria Coronado, who was more blunt in her opposition to Harvey Mild Day: "If you want that lifestyle, don't make my tax dollars pay for it, and don't make me teach it to my children."
Coronado was no less fiery after the Orange County Register reached her for comment on Schwarzenegger signing the bill: "I don't understand how Harvey Milk could have a day before people like Ronald Reagan and Pat Brown who did so much more for California. Why this is a civil rights issue? I don't know when a homosexual had to sit on the back of a bus like Rosa Parks, or was forced by law to attend a different school like the Mendez family in Westminster."
Of course, such rhetoric is to be expected from flag-waving Bible thumpers who have infiltrated, overrun and infected school boards all across Orange County. Why Schwarzenegger is getting crap from gays for endorsing Harvey Milk Day--on the same day he signed another Senate bill which requires California to recognize same-sex couples' marriages performed in other states--is more surprising.
Well, at least it is until you consider how pissed off people remain over the lack of marriage equality in the Golden State.
"We'd be more happy about this if we didn't see it as a means to appease the gay community because of the fall-out of Prop 8," openly gay celebrity stalker Perez Hilton writes on his blog, adding, "there is a lot of bad blood between the gay community and the California government and Arnold is looking to mend fences."
Noting that a spokesperson for the governor--who vetoed a previous incarnation of the Milk bill--said, "He really saw this signing as a way to honor the gay community in California. . . . Milk has become much more of a symbol of the gay community," Hilton writes, "It is a well respected and overdue honor for Harvey" but, "Just don't think it will make us forget anything else, Arnold!"
At last count, Carla Marinucci's Schwarzenegger signing post on the San Francisco Chronicle's political blog The Spin Cycle had more than 1,100 responses. Among them:
* "I just don't understand the need for this, and I'm gay."
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* "Finally, a piece of good news from this good for nothing Gov. - had a chance to lead TWICE on marriage equality in our State ... and wimped out. For today though, we celebrate for Harvey!!"
* "Of course it took a Holywood movie to convince Arnold."
* "Well, it's ABOUT TIME!!!!!!!!!!!! Gray Davis would've signed those bills ages ago...Bless his heart :-)"
Zach Behrens blogs on LAist that over the same weekend Schwarzenegger signed the Milk and marriage equality bills, the governor vetoed Assembly bills that were near and dear to the hearts of transgender people. One would have aided transgenders in revising their birth certificates to indicate their new genders, while the other would have provided protections for transgender people--as well as gays, lesbians and bisexuals--locked up in state prisons.