Actor Sean Penn, fresh off his Academy Award-winning turn as Harvey Milk in Gus Van Sant's biopic, Milk, is in San Francisco today to introduce the Harvey Milk Day Bill. Equality California, the bill seeks to educate Californians about the former San Francisco City Supervisor, civil rights activist and American hero whose work helped bring LGBT people out of the closet and into civic life. The legislation calls on the Governor to proclaim May 22 as Harvey Milk Day, designating it as a “day of special significance.” According to Equality California:
The legislation was originally introduced last year by Sen. Leno but the Governor vetoed the measure on the grounds that Harvey Milk was unknown beyond San Francisco. Milk, who was the first openly gay elected official of a major American city, was responsible for passing San Francisco’s gay-rights ordinance and helping to defeat the Briggs Initiative, which would have banned gay and lesbian teachers from public schools. Milk, along with San Francisco Mayor George Moscone, was assassinated in November 1978, but his legacy continues. He was named one of the most influential people of the 20th Century by Time.