Monday, October 12, 2009

Schwarzenegger signs Harvey Milk Day and gay marriage recognition bills

Arnold has had a busy day:

Harvey Milk Day, a state day to honor the slain San Francisco gay rights advocate, is now official in California thanks to a somewhat unexpected signature Monday from Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has vetoed such legislation in the past.

The bill was one of two key gay rights bills authored by State Senator Mark Leno of San Francisco, who says he's "pleasantly surprised" that the governor put his pen to both; the other bill makes gay marriages performed in other states legal in California.

Leno, reached Monday, said he believed Schwarzenegger finally signed the bill this session to establish a day for the late San Francisco supervisor because "Harvey Milk Day is an idea whose time has come.''

In the past, Schwarzenegger "could suggest that Harvey was a local personality,'' he said.

But that was before Milk's life and accomplishments were recognized in a shower of honors last year: there was the success of the Oscar-winning film, "Milk,'' the biopic starring Sean Penn, who also pushed for the measure; the President's Medal of Freedom, and an induction into the Goveror's own California Hall of Fame.

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