Gay Friday: Happy Birthday, Harvey Milk

If he had not been assassinated in 1979, Harvey Milk would have celebrated his 79th birthday today. I would like to imagine that Milk, who was America's first openly gay elected official and served as San Francisco supervisor, would have gone on to even greater things. His voice was terribly missed at the beginning of the AIDS crisis in the 80s. Milk would have made a great senator. 

Milk was on my mind last night during the MondoHomo kick-off at Eyedrum Gallery in Atlanta. There was a big crowd (150 or more), and I read all gay/political work. Last night was the anniversary of the White Night Riots in San Francisco, which happened after Milk's assassin, Dan White, was convicted of manslaughter and given the lightest sentence possible – five years. The California Supreme Court was supposed to make a ruling on Proposition 8 yesterday, but they've put it off until May 26, and I can only imagine that this was done as not to coincide with the anniversary of the riots and Milk's birthday.

New Hampshire has taken a step backwards in the gay marriage issue, with the House rejecting a revised bill demanded by the governor that would have excluded churches from having to perform gay marriage ceremonies. A new vote is expected in June. Personally, I don't see anything wrong with excluding churches. Since organized religion is the main opponent of gay marriage, we should cut churches out of the movement completely. I think that would be a giant step forward in getting gay marriage approved nationwide. In the meantime, Illinois is posed to approved civil unions for the state next week.

Here in Georgia, the DeKalb School System refused to acknowledge bullying was the cause of 11-year-old Jaheem Herrera's suicide. An internal investigation said there was no evidence of bullying, and teachers signed statements saying they had never witnessed or heard anything. A gigantic pack of liars and bigots trying to cover their own asses. It sickens me. 


The NH bill already says church and other religious houses don't have to perform them. The Gov is just dragging his feet and trying to make religious statements etc etc
Collin Kelley said…
California Supreme Court has announced it will rule on Prop 8 next Tuesday. I've updated the post.
jessica handler said…
He would have been 79? Oh, to see Harvey Milk as an old man. Congrats on the big turnout at Eyedrum.
Collin Kelley said…
Yep, he was born in 1930. I'm sure he would still be a feisty activist.
christine said…
He looks like my grandfather did as a young man in this photo. Sensitive eyes.

I wish I could have heard your reading. The passion from the night comes through in your words here.
Lisa Allender said…
Hi Coll. Glad "eyedrum" was packed for your wonderful words!
And I agree completely on the "exclude churches". Vows can already be exchanged in various churches. And,I thought the WHOLE POINT is to achieve absolute, legal equality--which means recognition as EQUAL PARTNERS--not merely in a "Civil Union", but in a LEGALLY RECOGNIZED MARRIAGE, if an LGBTQ couple wants that!
Anonymous said…
Its wrong to wish it but if the Cali Supreme Court upholds Prop 8 I think a little Stonewall rioting is in order.

It's like when I was a little girl - way back before the resurgence of feminism in the sixties and seventies. I was distressed and offended when told girls "couldn't" play football (and a whole host of other such proscriptions). It wasn't that I wanted to play football (dreffully unsporty, actually) nor sit in a bar with a lot of sloshed blokes, and so on and so on - but I objected to the fact that it wasn't permitted simply on the grounds of gender.

Can't see the point of marriage myself. Yes I know I've done it three times, but it was always the men who were keen on the idea, I promise. And since I didn't mind either way, and was planning permanence....

Also, no-one was stopping me.

Beats me why anyone, gay or straight, is so hung up on a piece of paper - but if they're so keen to get married, that's their business and it damn well ought to be their free choice.

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