“I ask my gay sisters and brothers to make the commitment to fight…”-Harvey Milk

A gay rights demonstration at the Democratic National Convention in New York City in 1976

This week, tensions have been high as the state of North Carolina voted for Amendment 1, which defines marriage as solely a union between a man and a woman, stopping progress for homosexual couples in the state looking for equal rights.

A day after the amendment passed, President Obama announced that he endorses same-sex marriage, according to the New York Times. Obama said in an interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts, “At a certain point, I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”

If civil rights activist Harvey Milk were alive, he would most likely be celebrating, as he is known for his fight for gay rights in the 1970s.

Wrote David Aretha, author of No Compromise: The Story of Harvey Milk, “[Harvey] Milk, the outspoken voice of the gay community, was a lightening rod for bigotry. In 1977, he had been elected as a city supervisor in San Francisco, making him one of the first openly gay Americans elected to public office in a major U.S. city.”

As Aretha put it, Milk “fought for the have-nots and left-outs, especially gays and lesbians,” and in 2009, he was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama.

And today, the president has made history regarding the issue of gay rights. The New York Times reported, “A sitting United States president took sides in what many people consider the last civil rights movement, providing the most powerful evidence to date of how rapidly views are moving on an issue that was politically toxic just five years ago.”

It has also been reported that younger generations are slowly taking over the voting booths, and they are in favor of gay rights, for the most part. And so, more and more voters are flipping the script on something that has until recent years been looked at as a non-issue, something that was just never going to happen: giving homosexuals equal rights.

Harvey Milk once said, “We have to make up for hundreds of years of persecution. We have to give hope to that poor runaway kid from San Antonio…. They need hope!”

With younger generations taking the helm and the president’s endorsement, the LGTB community can maintain hope that one day they will receive the same rights that their heterosexual counterparts enjoy.

Adrianne Loggins
Associate Editor

For more information on Harvey Milk and his work, check out No Compromise: The Story of Harvey Milk by David Aretha (ISBN 9781599351292)

Published in: on May 11, 2012 at 11:32 am  Leave a Comment  
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