SACRAMENTO -- Tuesday the California State Legislature sent Senate Bill 572, authored by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for his signature. SB 572 would require the governor of California to annually proclaim May 22 as Harvey Milk Day to honor the first openly homosexual politician. The bill would also encourage schools to conduct "commemorative exercises" and programs that focus on Milk's contributions. The controversial measure was approved by the State Assembly and Senate on party-line votes, with Republicans opposing.
In response to the Legislature's approval of SB 572 the California Family Council issued the following statement:
California Family Council is not surprised that the Legislature's majority would once again approve a measure that encourages schools to sacrifice students' class time in order to assuage special-interest groups. "California legislators continue to place the demands of special interests before the interests of students," stated Everett Rice, CFC's Legislative Director. "While Harvey Milk has become an iconic figure in California's homosexual community, it is not sound education policy to supplant classroom or learning time with non-academic activities."
There are currently three "commemorative" days in California's calendar related to honoring teachers, John Muir, and the California Poppy flower. If signed into law, SB 572 would promote the controversial subject of sexual orientation in public school classrooms with children as young as five years of age.
The Legislature passed a similar bill last year, which was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger. In the governor's veto message, he stated that Milk's "contributions should continue to be recognized at the local level by those who were most impacted by his contributions."
"It is expected that thousands of individuals will again seek the governor's veto," said Ron Prentice, CFC's director. "Commemorating Harvey Milk in public schools, primarily because of his sexual orientation, will go against the values of the majority of California's parents."
Research has found that student achievement is directly equated with the amount of time a student is engaged in actual academic learning. Regardless of one's opinion about Milk or the homosexual lifestyle, SB 572 would continue to place pressure on schools to divert scarce resources and time away from academic pursuits and focus instead on controversial, non-academic topics.