Social conservatives are calling upon Christians in California to rally against a bill that – if passed – would pressure schools into honoring the late Harvey Milk, the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in a major city.
With Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger expected to either sign or veto S.B. 572, the "Harvey Milk Day" bill, by the end of Sunday, conservatives are specifically urging concerned Californians to call into the governor's office, noting that slain politician is far from the role model that some make him out to be.
"Milk engaged in adult-child homosexual sex and, according to his biographer, 'had a penchant for young waifs with substance abuse problems,'" noted Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families.
"He advocated for polygamous homosexual relationships. He justified lying as long as it got him ahead," the conservative leader added. "He supported homosexual 'marriages,' gay-pride parades, and the entire homosexual, bisexual, transsexual agenda that tramples parental rights and religious freedom.
"We need Christians in California to call, call, call him (Schwarzenegger) to say veto, veto, veto," he told The Christian Post.
Authored by Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), S.B. 572 would require the governor to annually proclaim May 22 as Harvey Milk Day, and would "encourage public schools and educational institutions to conduct suitable commemorative exercises on that date."
"This bill would put California on record as recognizing the social contributions that Harvey Milk made to our nation as a civil rights leader," stated Equality California. "It would also allow schools to conduct activities that would foster respect for all, and educate students about an important figure who is often omitted from history lessons."
Opponents of the bill, however, argue that the proposed "Harvey Milk Day" would not simply "allow schools to conduct activities that would foster respect for all" but rather pressure schools into presenting homosexuality in a positive light, gay marriage as a civil right, and those who say homosexual relations are wrong as discriminatory bigots.
"Under SB 572, schoolchildren could perform mock gay weddings, have cross-dressing contests, and have gay-pride parades right on campus. Why? Because 'Harvey Milk Gay Day' pressures schools to make children honor and support anything and everything that Milk believed in. The sky is the limit. And there's no parental consent in the bill," noted Thomasson.
Currently California has days of special significance including The Day of the Teacher, John Muir Day, and California Poppy Day, on which schools commemorate and direct attention to teachers and the teaching profession, recognize and respect the role of humankind in nature, and emphasize the value of natural resources and conservation of natural resources, respectively.
Days of special significance, unlike state holidays, don't result in the closure of schools and government offices but do affect as many as six million children from kindergarten on up.
The proposed date for "Harvey Milk Day," May 22, was the birth date of the San Francisco politician, who served 11 months as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors before he was shot dead by another city supervisor.
Despite his short career in politics, Milk became an icon in San Francisco and, to some, "a martyr for gay rights," though many argue that he was not shot because he was gay.
This past year, Milk was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama and was selected for the California Hall of Fame's 13-member "Class of 2009," which honors people who "embody California's innovative spirit and have made their mark on history."
Milk's life was also portrayed recently in the Academy Award-winning movie "Milk," which resulted in an Oscar for actor Sean Penn.
When he died in 1978, Milk was 48.