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US politician on board with USS Harvey Milk namesake

California activists request a navy ship be named after the civil rights icon
Harvey Milk, the first open gay politician in the US, may have a battleship named after him.

California congressman Bob Filner has urged the US Navy to name 'the next appropriate ship' after late gay politician Harvey Milk.

Gay rights group, the GLBT Historic Task Force of San Diego County, sent an official letter last week to Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus requesting a Navy vessel be named after Milk, reports LGBT Weekly.

'This action would be a fitting tribute to Mr Milk's support for equality, an ideal exemplified in the military's recent repeal of its former Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy,' said Democrat Filner.

Milk was the first openly gay man to serve in public office. In 1977, Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. He was assassinated a year later by a political rival.

Milk served as a diving instructor in the Navy during the Korean War. He was also stationed in San Diego before being honorably discharged.

Chair of the Task Force and San Diego Commissioner Nicole Murray Ramirez was a friend of Harvey Milk in the 1970s.

He said: 'We in San Diego are very proud that Harvey Milk was stationed in our city and fell in love with California here.

'I urge all Americans to write to the secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, and urge him to name a ship after Harvey Milk.'

Typically, naval aircraft carriers are named after US presidents and submarines are named in honor of states or cities. Exceptions include ships named after civil rights leaders Cesar Chavez, Medgar Evers and most recently Gabrielle Giffords.

The Task Force is leading a movement to make San Diego the first city in the US to name a street in honor of Milk and Murray Ramirez is also moving for the US Postal Service to create a Harvey Milk postage stamp.

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