California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a proposed Harvey Milk Day in California last year, but the slain gay rights activist is apparently worthy of induction into the California Museum's Hall of Fame.
The governor and first lady Maria Shriver announced Tuesday that Milk will be among 13 honorees inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009. Milk joins inductees including comedian Carol Burnett, filmmaker George Lucas, and philanthropist Joan Kroc.
But the governor still hasn't budged on approving a day dedicated to Milk -- instead saying that the politician had the most impact in San Francisco and therefore commemorations should take place there. On the heels of Milk being awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Obama, backers of a Harvey Milk Day are hoping to sway Schwarzenegger's opinion.
"Today's announcement by First Lady Maria Shriver recognizes the important leadership role Harvey Milk played in our state and nation and further illustrates the historic and international nature of his legacy," Sen. Mark Leno said in a statement. "I appreciate the First Lady's support and admiration for Harvey's work to further equal civil rights for all people. He gave his life for what he believed in, and in doing so gave hope to generations of LGBT Californians who continue to struggle for full equality. This honor, as well as the Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded to Harvey by President Obama, should only underscore to the Governor the need for Harvey Milk Day in California, and I hope he will return our bill, SB 572, with his signature when it reaches his desk in the next few weeks."
Shriver noted each of the nominees commitment to making a mark on history in a statement. "Now more than ever, I see how the perseverance and passion of one person can have a lasting impact in the lives of people, not only in their community but across the world," said Shriver. "When talent and a relentless drive are matched, the efforts of a single individual can create a legacy of change, hope, and empowerment. Every individual inducted into the California Hall of Fame symbolize the biggest hearts, the greatest drive, and the deepest inspiration. It's an honor to induct these extraordinary individuals who have each made their own unique mark in history."