Naval Ship Named After Gay Rights Leader Harvey Milk

20131127-175739.jpgNavy Secretary Ray Mabus and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi are among the dignitaries expected to attend next week’s historic ship naming ceremony in honor of Harvey Milk.

The Harvey Milk Foundation announced Wednesday that the ceremony will take place Tuesday at Treasure Island in the San Francisco Bay Area.

U.S. Naval Institute News reported earlier this month that Mabus will name a fleet oiler the USNS Harvey Milk.

Milk, who served aboard a submarine rescue ship during the Korean War, was the first openly gay elected official of a major U.S. city. He won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977 on a pledge to back gay and lesbian rights. He was murdered by a disgruntled former supervisor the following year.

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“Uncle Harvey knew that our individual actions of open authenticity would be the key to changing the lives of LGBT people everywhere,” Stuart Milk, Milk’s nephew and co-founder of the Harvey Milk Foundation, said in a press release. “And it was his belief in the power of that visibility which gave him the courage to face those bullets that he both anticipated and would ultimately take his life. As a proud Navy veteran, Uncle Harvey was committed to public service, aided by courage, persistence, and the belief that our shared journey is enriched, and not weakened, by our diversity.”

Also expected to attend the ceremony are Mayors Edwin M. Lee of San Francisco and Kevin Faulconer of San Diego. The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus will perform at the ceremony. The chorus also performed at the San Francisco unveiling of the Milk stamp in 2014.

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