Saturday, October 17, 2009

Arnold Schwarzenegger Signs Harvey Milk Bill

I didn’t even hear about this on the news this week. Earlier this week, on October 13 to be exact, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the Harvey Milk Bill into law. The bill designates May 22nd, the former San Francisco City Supervisor’s birthday, as Harvey Milk Day.

Harvey Milk, it may be recalled was one of the first openly gay persons to be elected to public office in America. We now have a few more, with the promise of more to come in the future, but Milk was one of the first, and tragically became the first openly gay office holder to be murdered, ostensibly because he was gay.

Harvey Milk became the first office holder, but obviously not the first person, to suffer from what Barack Obama has called the last legal discrimination policy in America. Milk was a victim of the ultimate in this kind of discrimination when he received 5 bullets fired into him by a former rival on the Board of Supervisors, a truly disturbed man named Dan White.

Dan White, a double murderer (he also killed San Francisco’s mayor, George Moscone), was sentenced to 7 years and 8 months behind bars for this offense, having been found guilty of voluntary manslaughter by a mostly anti-gay conservative jury. White’s defense lawyer mounted what is still considered to be one of the most outrageous criminal defenses in human history, a defense that completely dismissed White's heinous crime – arguably because one of his victims was gay, and probably needed killing.

It was called the “Twinkie Defense.” The jury, which probably would have bought any old argument, was told that Dan White was not really responsible for the killing of those two men because he was chronically depressed, the evidence of which was that he ate copious amounts of junk food.

It was a black day in California history with gays rioting and attacking police, and vice versa. A day made blacker when Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the Harvey Milk Bill when it arrived at his desk last year. It took a year, President Obama’s posthumous award of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Milk, and an Academy Award-winning film on the life of Harvey Milk, to change Schwarzenegger’s mind.

The bill was opposed by The Campaign for Children and Families, calling it "the strongest impetus yet for loving parents to remove their children from anti-family public schools."

Wow. There is yet another great reason for teaching in public schools in California.

Parents like that self-select and remove their children from publicly funded schools.

How great is that?

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