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Saturday, October 25, 2008


Whole Milk

I've long been interested in the story of assassinated gay politician and icon Harvey Milk, not least of all because a distant cousin of mine was the director of the seminal film about Milk, The Times of Harvey Milk. Now a new movie, entitled simply Milk, is on its way to theaters, starring the powerful and progressive Sean Penn in the title role.

If you're looking forward to the release, as I am, this very lengthy article in San Francisco Magazine makes for a fascinating read. It's the long, convoluted tale of the making of the movie, along with a second movie, The Mayor of Castro Street, which is also headed to theaters. As the article notes, when Milk was assassinated in 1978, it was shortly after the successful campaign, in which Milk played an important role, to defeat the Briggs Amendment, a California ballot initiative that would have banned gays and lesbians from teaching in California schools. 30 years later, the homophobes are back, no longer able to push such reactionary measures, and even having to concede that same-sex couples should have "equal rights" via "civil unions," but reduced to arguing that same-sex couples should be prevented from marrying because that would require "teaching gay marriage in the schools" [to young children]. The irony, of course, is that more young children have "learned about gay marriage" thanks to hearing ads on TV from supporters of Proposition 8 than have done so in the entire five month period since gay marriage became legal in California (or in the four and a half years since it's been legal in Massachusetts).

As a homemade "No on 8" sign down the street says: "Save marriage? From what?" The simple fact is that capitalism is probably the biggest threat to marriage in this country, with its close cousin imperialism that sends young men and women off to war a close second. Gays with a framed marriage certificate on their wall? They're strengthening marriage in this country, not threatening it.

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