The Navy and LGBTs: Joined at the Ship

Barb Wire

While the rest of the world was focused on the terrorist attacks in France, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus was busy putting another politically correct stamp on the military. On July 14, outlets are now reporting, the political appointee (and one of the staunchest activists for special LGBT privileges) inked his name to a notice that he planned on naming a new ship in honor of the late gay icon and San Francisco politician Harvey Milk. The news should be astounding to anyone familiar with Milk and his less-than-honorable life story. Although he served briefly in the Navy, nothing he did merits the kind of tribute Mabus is giving him.

As FRC’s Peter Sprigg said when Milk was awarded a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom, “Milk is famous only for winning one election, being murdered — and having sex with men.” Now, the Navy seems intent on following in the administration’s ridiculous footsteps and bestowing a great honor on someone primarily on the basis of his sex life. While the LGBT community has long idolized Milk for his decision to live openly, his Navy career is hardly the stuff of legend. In fact, one of the defining biographies on the man (written by a self-described “gay journalist”) insists that Harvey “continued to engage in homosexual conduct while serving in the U.S. Navy” against the law. According to Peter, author Randy Shilts reports that Milk, who had his own apartment off base, would pick up hitchhiking sailors by offering them a bed to sleep in. What he didn’t tell them is that it was his bed. “The guests often would not know that Milk’s apartment had only one bed until they walked in the door.”

“Milk later exploited his time in the Navy during his political career,” Peter explains, “by lying about it, claiming falsely that he had received a dishonorable discharge for his homosexuality. Milk ‘knew the story would make good copy,’ according to Shilts. ‘Maybe people will read it, feel sorry for me and then vote for me,’ Milk told one campaign manager.”

A life marred by promotion of illegal drug use, sexual exploits, and lies doesn’t deserve one of the greatest military distinctions — especially not with so many genuine heroes to choose from. “Since Harvey Milk died from an assassin’s bullet,” Peter pointed out, “over a quarter million American men have died of AIDS, which they contracted because they had sex with other men. [It’s madness] that someone whose only claim to fame is that they promoted such deadly behavior should be honored…”

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If you’re as disturbed by Mabus’s plans as we are, bring this up to your House and Senate leaders while they’re home campaigning and hosting townhalls. Let them know that the Navy’s idea is an outrageous one when there are so many other deserving men and women, whose courage mattered — not in the bedroom — but on the battlefield.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Tony Perkins
Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law. (Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)

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