A week ago, the U.S. Postal Service unveiled a commemorative stamp in honor of Harvey Milk, the LGBT rights leader who was the first openly gay man to be elected to California public office. Days later, the anti-gay American Family Association encouraged its members to "refuse to accept mail at your home or business if it is postmarked with the Harvey Milk stamp." So The Wire wanted to know: does this mean that the American Family Association will refuse to accept any donations by mail bearing the stamp in question? What about other anti-gay groups?
To test this, The Wire decided to send a series of small donations to a handful of anti-gay groups, in envelopes using the Milk stamp for postage. In addition to the American Family Association, we mailed donation forms to Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council. Originally, we chose the donation amount of $18, or one dollar for each state in the union with marriage equality. But the author was talked down to the more sensible amount of $5.
Basically, this is a win-win situation for The Wire and for the anti-gay organizations: if they accept the donations (made in a trackable format, under the name of this author), each organization will be $5 richer (every donation counts!) and this writer will forever have to live with the fact that she donated to at least one group designated as a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center. If they refuse the donations, the demonstrate consistency and this writer's bank account will stay a little bit more full. Perfect.
"You're the fifth person to ask for these stamps!" said the friendly (yes, friendly) Postal Service worker who sold a sheet of the stamps to The Wire. Each stamp is emblazoned with the face of Milk, and a small rainbow down the side. They are "Forever" stamps, which means they'll be good to use even after the next inevitable postage increase. Forever, just like this author's possible fate on the publicly-accessible, 2014 990 tax forms of each of these non-profits.
In any case, here are the envelopes:
And the donation on one of the forms:
The AFA's displeasure at the selection of Milk for an honorary stamp runs deep: the organization spoke to Charisma News about why they're so opposed to the honor:
"It's no secret that Milk sought out and preyed upon impressionable minors, specifically young boys, to gratify his sexual fantasies. Regardless of anyone's beliefs about sexual practices between adults, for the state of California to sanction teaching children to honor a man who might very well have preyed upon them is a twisted definition of education by any standard."
Anyway, we will keep you updated on whether any of these organizations accept our donations.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.