The U.S. Navy is reportedly planning to name a military ship after a gay rights icon, a move drawing the ire of at least one conservative family organization..
According to a July 14 notification obtained by USNI News, the ship would be named after the late gay rights activist and San Francisco politician Harvey Milk.
Signed by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, the notification revealed that he aimed to name a planned Military Sealift Command fleet oiler USNS Harvey Milk. The secretary’s office was deferring releasing additional information until the naming announcement, a Navy official told USNI News on Thursday.
USNI News reported:
“Milk came from a Navy family and commissioned in the service in 1951. He served as a diving officer in San Diego during the Korean War on the submarine rescue ship Kittiwake until 1955. Milk was honorably discharged from the service as a lieutenant junior grade.
Following his service, Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and was the first openly gay California politician to be elected to office. He was killed in office in 1978. When Milk was shot he was wearing his U.S. Navy diver’s belt buckle.”
California politicians have previously advocated for naming a ship after Milk, following the repeal of the“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” policy in 2011.
The American Family Association has denounced the move, calling Milk “a sexual predator who preyed upon teen boys.”
On its website, the AFA said:
According to The Mayor of Castro Street, Milk’s very favorable biography by Randy Shilts, in 1963, when Milk was 33, he took in “Jack” Galen McKinley, a 16-year-old runaway in New York City “who was looking for some kind of father figure,” to live with him as a lover.
While Jack was still a minor, Milk moved him to San Francisco. However, when Jack matured beyond Milk’s taste for young guys, Milk dropped him.
Jack McKinney was highly disturbed and frequently suicidal after being rejected by Milk. The Mayor of Castro Street records Milk’s shocking coldness when told of his former boy lover’s suicide threat. “Tell him not to make a mess,” Milk said. Eventually Jack died in a fall from the eighth floor of a building, in an apparent suicide.
Mabus said the ships in the John Lewis-class — named for Democrat Rep. John Lewis of Georgia — would be named after civil rights leaders including former Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, former Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, women’s right activist Lucy Stone and abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth.
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