First Openly U.S. Gay Rights Activist Harvey Milk Honoured in Stamp (PHOTOS)

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  • House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (L) talks with President of the Harvey Milk Foundation Stuart Milk (C), next to U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, after they unveiled the Harvey Milk Forever Stamp at its dedication ceremony at the White House in
    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (L) talks with President of the Harvey Milk Foundation Stuart Milk (C), next to U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, after they unveiled the Harvey Milk Forever Stamp at its dedication ceremony at the White House in Washington May 22, 2014. The ceremony marks the first day of issue for the stamp honoring Milk. REUTERS/Larry Downing REUTERS/Larry Downing
  • President of the Harvey Milk Foundation Stuart Milk (R) welcomes U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power (L) before they unveil the Harvey Milk Forever Stamp at its dedication ceremony at the White House in Washington May 22, 2014. The ceremony marks the
    President of the Harvey Milk Foundation Stuart Milk (R) welcomes U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power (L) before they unveil the Harvey Milk Forever Stamp at its dedication ceremony at the White House in Washington May 22, 2014. The ceremony marks the first day of issue for the stamp honoring Milk. REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS SOCIETY) REUTERS/Larry Downing
  • U.S. House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks before she helps unveiling the Harvey Milk Forever Stamp at its dedication ceremony at the White House in Washington May 22, 2014. The ceremony marks the first day of issue for the stamp ho
    U.S. House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks before she helps unveiling the Harvey Milk Forever Stamp at its dedication ceremony at the White House in Washington May 22, 2014. The ceremony marks the first day of issue for the stamp honoring Milk. REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS SOCIETY) REUTERS/Larry Downing
  • U.S. Representative John Lewis speaks before he helps unveiling the Harvey Milk Forever Stamp at its dedication ceremony at the White House in Washington May 22, 2014. The ceremony marks the first day of issue for the stamp honoring Milk.  REUTERS/Larry D
    U.S. Representative John Lewis speaks before he helps unveiling the Harvey Milk Forever Stamp at its dedication ceremony at the White House in Washington May 22, 2014. The ceremony marks the first day of issue for the stamp honoring Milk. REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS SOCIETY) REUTERS/Larry Downing
  • The Harvey Milk Forever Stamp is pictured in this undated photograph released on May 22, 2014. A dedication ceremony will be held in Washington on Wednesday to unveil the stamp in honor of Milk, who in 1977 made history when he won election to the San Fra
    The Harvey Milk Forever Stamp is pictured in this undated photograph released on May 22, 2014. A dedication ceremony will be held in Washington on Wednesday to unveil the stamp in honor of Milk, who in 1977 made history when he won election to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, making him one of the first openly gay elected officials in the United States. REUTERS/U.S. Postal Service/Handout via Reuters (UNITED STATES - Tags: (POLITICS SOCIETY) ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS REUTERS/U.S. Postal Service/Ha
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Harvey Milk, the U.S.'s first openly gay rights activist elected into office, has been given honours in a new U.S. postage stamp.

The stamp in his honour was unveiled at a White House ceremony attended by gay rights leaders and various U.S. public officials.

Milk, an elected official and a member of San Francisco's board of supervisors, was slain in office in 1978. Along with the city's mayor, he was gunned down by a political rival.

Albeit able to serve his constituents for only 11 months, his office was known for passing a stringent gay rights ordinance for the city, which included extended employment protections to gays and lesbians in San Francisco.

Mr Milk embodied the best of American ideals, Samantha Power, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, said during the unveiling ceremony.

"He was impatient with excuses. He was intolerant of injustice. He demanded dignity for himself and for all Americans," Power said. "In so doing, he helped to make America more fair, more just, and more equal. In short, Harvey Milk made America more American."

"The tiny ripples that began more than 40 years ago began a tidal wave that swept through the Supreme Court and the nation, liberating gay couples in states around the country," Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia), a veteran of the civil rights movement, said. "So, thank you, Harvey Milk." 

James Wigdel, a USPS spokesman, said stamps bearing Milk's black-and-white image "are selling briskly."

Early in the morning long before the unveiling ceremony began, Mr Wigdel said long lines started to form in front of a U.S. Post Office in San Francisco's Castro District.

May 22 is Harvey Milk Day throughout the state.

"He said his victory signaled a green light to all those who feel disenfranchised, a green light to move forward and that the doors are open to everyone," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), recalled Milk's words after he won a seat on the board of supervisors. 

"Thanks to Harvey, our society is better forever. Together, we'll finish the work Harvey started." 

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