Friday, January 18, 2019

Were Harvey Milk still alive he might sue AFA for libel

Harvey Milk and Jack Galen McKinley
LGBT History Archive
The story on the blog of American Family Association reads: Calif. kids to celebrate child molester at school? The hate group is referring to Harvey Milk. All of Milk's boyfriends were younger than him. That is not a crime nor something that gay men have a monopoly on. (Older men in South Beach seem to have a disproportionate number of nieces.)

Allegations of child abuse stem from Milk's romantic relationship with Jack Galen McKinley. When the relationship started, McKinley was 16 (according to Randy Shilts) which just happens to be the age of consent in Mississippi where AFA is based. The age of consent in New York is (and was at the time) 17. However, until 2017 a 14-year-old could enter into marriage.

In any event, one underage tryst does not make Milk a child molester and there are many unanswered questions. Ironically, Milk recruited McKinley to work on Barry Goldwater's 1964 presidential campaign. When Milk first met McKinley, he was living on the streets and supported himself by hustling.

AFA's objective is clear. For many years they have portrayed gay men as predators. It is one of the reason that the Southern Poverty Law Center designates American Family Association an anti-LGBT hate group.

AFA goes on:
An elementary school in California has caused a stir among parents because it wants to highlight homosexual Harvey Milk as a champion of civil rights to be studied and admired for his honesty – starting by third graders.
It is probably the same small number of Christian zealots who were upset by California's FAIR Education Act. The measure became effective on January 1, 2012. It amends California Education Code to include the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful reference to contributions by people with disabilities and members of the LGBT community in history and social studies curriculum.

The fact that Milk once had a possibly underage boyfriend is less relevant to these religious fanatics than the fact that Milk was gay. They would prefer that children not know that gay people exist and made important contributions. Milk was the first non-incumbent openly gay man in the United States to win an election for public office and the first openly gay man to win election to public office in California.

That makes Milk a minority pioneer and that makes Harvey Milk important. This is the handiwork of Greg Burt, one of the five-watt bulbs at California Family Council. According to Burt:
Some parents and community leaders are alarmed the school district would use Milk, well known for his pederasty, as a role model, especially after several of its teachers were recently fired and arrested for sexual contact with students. They are also upset with sexualized topics, like homosexuality, being introduced to impressionable young children with little concern for how these lessons will contradict the values children learn at home.
Teaching kids about Harvey Milk's accomplishment and contributions is not a “sexualized topic.” If these people want to teach their kids that sexual orientation is a choice — if they want children to be ignorant fools who are slavishly devoted to ancient texts — that is a problem of their own making. Moreover, Harvey Milk is not “well known for his pederasty.” That is just the excuse for homophobic bigotry.
“What kind of message are school officials trying to send student, parents, and teachers by making Harvey Milk a hero to third graders?” asked California Family Council President Jonathan Keller. “Harvey Milk’s past behavior with teens would disqualify him from being a teacher with in the Elk Grove School District, so why would the district consider textbooks that encourage 8-year-old kids to admire him?”
Since Mr. Keller asked the rhetorical question, the answer is that it teaches LGBT kids that they are not limited due to their sexuality (or superstitions associated with their sexuality). It teaches the peers of LGBT children not to judge people based on their sexuality. If religious maniacs would stop teaching their kids that LGBT people are evil then this would be less necessary.

I will remind Jonathan Keller and Greg Burt that nearly 70% of our citizens support same-sex marriage including most protestants and Catholics. These two need new watches and calendars. The days when they could malign people simply for being gay are over. In my home state of Florida, Dade County reversed Anita Bryant's homophobic activism. Bryant, by the way, has one divorce and two bankruptcies.

For the year ended September 30, 2017 Capital Family Council had revenues of $322 thousand, about a third less than the prior year.

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