Harvey Milk

The late US gay rights activist Harvey Milk will be inducted into the California Museum’s Hall of Fame.

This was announced on Tuesday when the state’s Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver released the names of the 2009 inductees.

“I am excited about this year’s fantastic inductees and thank my wonderful wife Maria for creating a program that honours all their diverse achievements,” said Schwarzenegger in a statement.

Milk is among a group of inductees that include entertainer Carol Burnett, industrialist Henry J.Kaiser, film-maker George Lucas, author Danielle Steel and Air Force test pilot General Chuck Yeager.

“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 of the inductees.

Ironically in October last year Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill which would have made May 22 “Harvey Milk Day”, an official ‘day of special significance’ in California, to commemorate the groundbreaking gay leader.

Milk is noted as the first openly gay man to hold public office in the US, having been elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. He was assassinated in 1978, along with San Francisco’s mayor, by a disgruntled city official. A film about Milk’s life, starring Sean Penn, won two Oscars earlier this year.

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