News

Gay rights activist Harvey Milk honored with stamp

Gay rights activist Harvey Milk honored with stamp

HONORED:Representative John Lewis (Ga), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, President of the Harvey Milk Foundation Stuart Milk, Deputy Postmaster General Ronald Stroman, and U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power (L to R) gesture as the Harvey Milk stamp is unveiled. Photo: Reuters

By Jeff Mason

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. officials honored slain gay rights activist Harvey Milk on Thursday with the unveiling of a new postage stamp, and called for more work to advance the cause for which he gave his life.

Milk, one of the first openly gay politicians in the United States, was assassinated in 1978, a year after winning election to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power noted at the White House event that there still were seven countries where it was legal to execute people for being homosexual.

She added her voice to a White House push for legislation that would ban U.S. workplaces from discrimination based on sexual orientation. She mentioned Michael Sam, who recently became the first openly gay player to be selected in the National Football League Draft.

“We cannot lose sight of how we have yet to go. While we now do live in an age where the National Football League has for the first time drafted an openly gay man, we still live in an age where the NFL can fire him for being gay,” she said.

“Postage stamps will not change that, legislation will.”

The stamp has a black-and-white picture of a smiling Milk and his name in large, capital letters.

Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, reflected on attending Milk’s funeral after he and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone were gunned down.

“I thought, is this how it ends?” she said. “But it really was just the beginning of the impact that he … would have. So it’s pretty thrilling for us who knew and loved him and saw his courage first hand.”

She said being on a postage stamp was a privilege reserved for very few and said it was appropriate that Milk was one of them.

Members of Milk’s extended family attended the unveiling of the stamp, which took place in a building next to the White House.

“The United States has come a long way,” Erik Milk, 28, a grand nephew of the slain leader, told Reuters.

“Probably he never would have thought that anything like this, of this magnitude would have ever happened, but you know, all of his efforts paid off in the long run.”

Stuart Milk, president of the Harvey Milk Foundation, said the stamp would help advance the cause of gay rights abroad.

“We have to teach history so that we don’t repeat history, and so this is a great way of doing that,” he said in an interview.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by David Gregorio)

Recent Headlines

14 hours ago in Sports

The weekend sports schedule

penscaps16120076416963

Here’s a look at some of the sporting events taking place this weekend.

14 hours ago in Sports

The best sports shots this week

goffdraft870850982276

A look at some of the biggest plays and best moments in sports this week.

14 hours ago in National

Making headlines this week

kansasweatherAP

A look back at some of the biggest newsmakers this week and the headlines you may have missed.

17 hours ago in Sports

Reigning NL batting champ banned 80 games for doping

marlinsdeeREUTERS

Dee Gordon of the Miami Marlins was suspended 80 games without pay after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance, Major League Baseball said.

21 hours ago in National

Teen pregnancies hit historic low

sexed296416402183

The annual survey shows the continuation of a downward trend that began in 2006 and continued through 2014, the latest year of complete data, when nearly 250,000 babies were born to girls and women aged 15 to 19.