Harvey Milk and George Moscone share a laugh during a San Francisco meeting. What kind of honor would Harvey Milk have approved -- would he be OK with naming a Navy ship after him? Nobody can know -- or can they?
What would Harvey Milk have done? Let's ask him. San Francisco politicians did -- even though he's dead.
A spirit -- as in of the spirit world -- entered the political conversation on Tuesday, when the San Francisco Board of Supervisors put itself on record as supporting naming a ship of the United States Navy after gay rights icon Harvey Milk.
Milk, one of the first openly gay people elected to office in the United States, was elected a San Francisco Supervisor in 1977. He and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated the following year.
Prior to his political career, Milk was an officer in the Navy, and was stationed in San Diego. San Diego Congressman Bob Filner is spearheading an effort to get a ship named after Milk.
Sup. Scott Wiener, who represents the Castro, says that Milk's family is behind the effort. Two of his colleagues opposed the effort on anti-military reasons. But at least one politician said that it's what Harvey would have wanted -- because he asked Harvey himself, via an Ouija board.
"We got out the Ouija board. We put our hands on the Ouija board and the letters ‘G-O-O-D-R-I-D-D-A-N-C-E-D-A-D-T’ came out," said Supervisor John Avalos, according to the San Francisco Examiner. "We asked Harvey and Harvey gave us these letters: 'Good riddance, don’t ask, don't tell.'"
The offhand remark received big play in the media, repeated in outlets from the Los Angeles Times to the Huffington Post.
Avalos was later forced to explain to reporters that it was a joke. He does not own a Ouija board, and was trying to poke fun at the idea of his colleagues eagerly prognosticating what Milk would have wanted, 34 years after his death.