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Ouija board used to decide on Harvey Milk naming of Navy ship

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Great honor: Harvey Milk served as a naval officer stationed in San Diego in the 1950s. Though he was a critic of the Vietnam War

A city supervisor attempted to summon the spirit of Harvey Milk using a Ouija board Tuesday after uncertainty escalated over whether to support the naming of a Navy ship after the famous gay-rights advocate.

Ultimately, the Board of Supervisors voted 9-2 in favor of a resolution putting The City on record in supporting the christening of a ship USS Harvey Milk, an effort San Diego Democratic Rep. Bob Filner has spearheaded. Milk was a naval officer stationed in San Diego in the early 1950s.

There was division among supervisors here over whether it was a fitting honor. Milk is one of the world’s most iconic gay-rights advocates and among the first openly gay elected officeholders. He was elected a San Francisco supervisor in 1977 and assassinated a year later. Milk also was an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War.

Supervisor Scott Wiener, who introduced the resolution, called it a “great honor” and said Milk was proud of his military service.

“Harvey Milk’s family supports doing this,” Wiener said.

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Supervisor Christina Olague, who opposed the resolution along with Supervisor Jane Kim, said there were more “appropriate ways to honor somebody who in their last days of their life was opposed to war. I also have been my whole life against the military industrial complex.”

It was Supervisor John Avalos who invoked the spirit world. Avalos said, like most, he was trying to figure out what Milk would have wanted.

“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,” Avalos said. “We asked Harvey and Harvey gave us these letters: ‘Good riddance, don’t ask, don’t tell.’ So I can honestly say that’s one aspect of this resolution that is really valid.”


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