The U.S. Navy has named the ship after a gay rights activist, Harvey Milk. In the 1950s, due to his sexuality, Milk was forced to quit his job.
The ship Harvey Milk sailed off the coast of San Diego. The procession was attended by the Secretary of the Navy, Carlos del Toro, and Harvey Milk’s nephew, Stewart.
Harvey Milk is one of six ships named after U.S. civil rights activists. Among them are former chief judge Earl Warren and slain presidential candidate Robert Kennedy.
Harvey Milk was a lifeguard and lieutenant on a lifeboat, but in 1955, after a two-week interrogation about his sexuality, he was forced to quit his job. He later became one of the first openly gay politicians in the United States to be elected to the San Francisco Supervisory Board in 1977. In 1978, he was shot dead by Dan White, a former city overseer. They often had controversies over various issues.
At Harvey Milk’s launch ceremony, Del Toro said it was wrong for Milk to be forced to “hide a very important part of his life” while in the Navy.
“For a very long time, sailors like Lieutenant Milk were forced to stay in the shadows. Worse even, they were expelled from the Navy. This injustice is part of the history of our navy, but it is also remarkable that all those who continue to fight this injustice.” Said Del Toro.