US & Canada

Gay rights activist Harvey Milk honoured on US stamp

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Samantha Power (right) called for stronger laws to enhance gay rights

Gay rights activist Harvey Milk, who was shot dead in 1978, has been honoured on a new US postage stamp.

The black-and-white stamp bearing the smiling features of Milk was unveiled at the White House on Thursday.

Milk was one of the first openly gay politicians in the US and was killed a year after winning election to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Samantha Power, US ambassador to the United Nations, called for the further advance of gay rights, to honour Milk.

There were still seven countries where it was legal to execute people for being gay, she told those gathered at the unveiling of the stamp, which included relatives of Milk.

And she voiced her support for a White House push for legislation that would ban US workplaces from discrimination based on sexual orientation.

"While we now do live in an age where the National Football League has for the first time drafted an openly gay man [Michael Sam], we still live in an age where the NFL can fire him for being gay," she said.

"Postage stamps will not change that, legislation will."

Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the US House of Representatives, recalled how she attended Milk's funeral.

"I thought, is this how it ends?" she said. "But it really was just the beginning."

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