After leading the campaign to defeat California Proposition 6 (Brigg’s Initiative), in November 1978, which sought to ban gays and lesbians from teaching in public schools, Harvey Milk, Supervisor from District Five in the Castro of San Francisco, gave a moving speech stating “every gay person must come out. As difficult as it is, you must tell your immediate family. You must tell your relatives. You must tell your friends if indeed they are your friends. You must tell the people you work with. You must tell the people in the stores you shop in. Once they realize that we are indeed their children, that we are indeed everywhere, every myth, every lie, every innuendo will be destroyed once and for all.”
During the past 37 years (since the defeat of Proposition 6) we came out and we thrived amongst our friends, families, neighbors and co-workers; we are taking our place amongst the interwoven threads forming our country’s fabric. And we advocated for our rights. And we got a little help from our friends. In 2004, the newly elected Mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom directed city officials to begin issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. And for a brief time same sex couples were married in San Francisco. Something was coming, coming out. “Hope is never silent,” said Harvey.
Miraculously, in June 2015, Justice Anthony Kennedy writing the majority opinion for the Supreme Court, made same-sex marriage a right nationwide “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”
Harvey said “coming out is the most political thing you can do.”
Hope will never be silent.