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Gay Icon Harvey Milk May Get San Francisco Airport Named After Him

Harvey Milk

Harvey Milk

Update: Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin weighs in, after the jump.

One of the first openly gay men elected in the United States may now be one of the first -- if not the first -- openly gay men in the world to have an airport named after him: Harvey Milk International Airport in San Francisco.

Equality California, the statewide gay rights group, tipped the public earlier today in an email to supporters, saying that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is most definitely considering naming SFO after Harvey Milk, the former San Francisco supervisor who was assassinated in 1978.

"Renaming the airport for Harvey Milk would be an international symbol of hope and freedom, and an enormous educational opportunity," says John O'Connor, Equality California executive director, in a press release.

He adds, "People from around the world -- including countries where being gay is still against the law -- will learn about Milk's great legacy. This is a chance to lead the world and affect positive change on a global scale."

Milk's nephew, Stuart Milk, said in a press release: "Having San Francisco name its international airport after my uncle is a wonderful and fitting tribute to Harvey and the spirit of inclusion that embodies the core values he taught and lived by: respect for human rights; equality; collaboration; understanding; and a world view."

Equality California says this would be the first airport in the world named after an openly gay person.

San Francisco Supervisor David Campos, who is openly gay, is pushing forward the plan, which will need to be approved by San Francisco voters in November. The Board of Supervisors will vote soon on whether or not to place the referendum on the ballot.

Update, Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin weighs in:

"Harvey Milk made it his life's mission to ensure that everyone - regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender, or socioeconomic status - was treated with the dignity and respect that all human beings deserve. Harvey Milk-San Francisco International Airport would serve as a powerful testament to the importance of Harvey's pioneering work and selfless dedication to advancing equality for all.

"Harvey Milk fought tirelessly to raise the visibility of LGBT people, and placing his name on San Francisco's airport would bring awareness of his work to the 40 million travelers from around the world who pass through SFO annually. Harvey Milk's legacy is what guides our work as we continue the fight for full equality, and HRC is proud to support this effort to honor his memory."

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.