Tuesday, July 29, 2008

"Milk"-ing Intolerance

If nothing else, this demonstrates that there’s no vacation for gay bashing and other forms of discrimination.

As the PFAW post tells us…

Religious Right groups are voicing their opposition to efforts to honor gay rights activist Harvey Milk: "'What significant contribution did Harvey Milk bring to the state of California – other than encouraging gay people to come out of the closet?' asked Benjamin Lopez of the Traditional Values Coalition. 'This is yet another example of them trying to normalize and force acceptance of the gay lifestyle upon people,' he said…
God, this stuff is tiresome.

This Wikipedia article about Milk tells us that, aside from the fact that he was San Francisco’s first openly gay city supervisor (and a rather shameless self promoter, though he was admirably tongue-in-cheek about it), he was also a tireless community organizer, building a coalition from labor unions and neighborhood groups to replace the city-wide elections with district elections (as the Wikipedia article tells us). And he did so with the specter of death threats overshadowing him constantly.

As we also learn from the article, the effect of the change to district elections was to elect the most diverse board of supervisors the city had ever seen.

Also, as a result of the assassination of Milk and former San Francisco Mayor George Moscone by former supervisor Dan White (who infamously employed what came to be known as the “Twinkie defense,” committing these acts supposedly because he’d consumed too much junk food), the “diminished capacity” defense for capital crimes in California was eliminated (a legal footnote that deserves to be mentioned).

And as far as Milk’s legacy is concerned, the following paragraph barely scratches the surface…

Milk "profoundly influenced gay and lesbian politics, and was also a champion of human rights".[1] He was named in the "Heroes & Icons" section of Time magazine's Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century. Many institutions and organizations are named for Milk, including the Harvey Milk Recreational Arts Centre, Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy, the Harvey Milk Institute, the Eureka Valley/Harvey Milk Memorial Branch Library, and the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club in San Francisco.
Truth be told, though, I have to tell you that, after considering Milk’s life and his enduring imprint on our politics in this country, I have to reluctantly say that I don’t think he deserves a day for commemoration either.

Actually, I think he deserves an entire month (on behalf of himself and all gay, lesbian and LBGT individuals). And I’ll really be interested to find out more on this upcoming movie about him starring Sean Penn in the title role.

Oh, and speaking of San Francisco, how curious is this anyway?

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