This just came over the news...

On October 12th, 2009, Governor Schwarzenegger signed into law two historic LGBT rights bills sponsored by Equality California (EQCA) and introduced by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco). The laws were SB 572 – Harvey Milk Day and SB 54 (Marriage Recognition and Family Protection Act.

Governor Schwarzenegger originally vetoed Harvey Milk day when it came to his desk the first time around and gave the reason that not many people outside of San Francisco knew about Harvey Milk. Since the veto, a movie about Harvey Milk was released and won two Oscars: one for Best Actor and another for Best Screenplay. Harvey Milk was also posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom award by President Obama last August. It looks like these two major events, in addition to the thousands of phone calls and emails voters gave in support of the bill, have given Governor Schwarzenegger a change of heart. This will be the first time in the nation's history that a state will officially recognize and celebrate the contributions of an openly LGBT person with an annual "day of special significance."

"Californians will now learn about Harvey's amazing contributions to the advancement of civil rights for decades to come," Kors said. "He is a role model to millions, and this legislation will help ensure his legacy lives on forever."

The Marriage Recognition and Family Protection Act was also signed by Governor Schwarzenegger, and clarifies the status of same-sex couples married out of state. Same-sex couples that married out of state prior to the passing of Proposition 8 are now legally considered married in California regardless of whether or not they were remarried in California. In addition, same-sex couples married outside of California after November 5, 2008, must now be given all of the rights, protections and responsibilities of married spouses under California law, with the sole exception of the designation of "marriage."

"We are grateful that the Governor has signed this critical bill, which provides much needed protections for same-sex couples who have legally married out of state, or will in the future, and who deserve to be treated like any other married couple," Kors said. "This bill will allow same-sex couples to get married in other states and countries and ensure they are treated equally under the law when they return to California. Ultimately, however, restoring the freedom to marry is the only way to ensure that all Californians receive the dignity and respect that comes with marriage."

"When California offered marriage licenses to same-sex couples in 2008, spouses who were already married in another state or country were prohibited from re-marrying in California," said Senator Leno. "Now those couples and their families are in limbo because their rights and protections under law are not clear. This new law will ensure that same-sex couples are protected by existing California law that recognizes all marriages equally, regardless of where they are performed."

The signing of these laws occurred on Monday, the first business day after the National Equality March in Washington DC where hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets and demanded equal rights in front of the White House and the Capital. President Obama also spoke at the HRC dinner last weekend and stated that people in the LGBT community should be treated as equals. The tide has definitely shifted. Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed same-sex marriage and Harvey Milk Day in the past, but just signed bills supporting both of these issues even with strong voices opposing them. The religious right referred to Harvey Milk Day as “Harvey Milk Gay Day” and “ Pedophile Day”, among others. One website,, even goes as far to say that Harvey Milk Day would lead to schools holding gay pride parades, cross-dressing contests and mock gay weddings. After encouraging voters to express their opinions on the bills, Governor Schwarzenegger chose to support LGBT equality this time around.

"We are grateful to the Governor for signing these critical and groundbreaking measures into law and rising above partisan politics to improve the lives of LGBT Californians," said EQCA Executive Director Geoff Kors.

For a full list of LGBT legislation sponsored by EQCA, visity their website here.

How 'bout that?