California Lawmakers Reject John Wayne Day

John Wayne

Opponents of the proposed honor shot down the resolution because of racist statements by the late actor.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California lawmakers have defeated a resolution intended to honor John Wayne after opponents challenged what they say are racist statements by the late actor.

Republican State Assemblyman Matthew Harper of Huntington Beach sought to declare May 26, 2016, as John Wayne Day to mark the day the actor was born.

An Orange County airport is already named after him. The bill, ACR137, is the sort of resolution that lawmakers frequently pass.

But this one triggered a 20-minute debate Thursday before failing, 35-20, to what Harper called "the orthodoxy of political correctness."

Others lined up to denounce what Democratic Assemblyman Luis Alejo of Watsonville called Wayne's disturbing views on race.

Several Republicans say Wayne is remembered worldwide as an American hero. They argued that lawmakers have honored others despite controversies that eventually clouded their legacies.