A Christian hate group is urging its members not to accept mail bearing the new Harvey Milk stamp.
The American Family Association tells its followers not to use the Harvey Milk stamp and to return mail postmarked with the stamp to the sender.
A statement from the organization instructed evangelical Christians in what to do if they received a letter or parcel with a Harvey Milk stamp:
“1. Refuse to accept the Harvey Milk stamp if offered by your local post office. Instead, ask for a stamp of the United States flag.
“2. Refuse to accept mail at your home or business if it is postmarked with the Harvey Milk stamp. Simply write 'Return to Sender" on the envelope and tell your postman you won't accept it.”
The AFA is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for spreading malicious lies and propaganda about gays. In rejecting the stamp, AFA president Tim Wildmon made inflammatory charges about Milk, one of the first the first openly gay people elected to public office in the United States.
“Harvey Milk was a very disreputable man and used his charm and power to prey on young boys with emotional problems and drug addiction,” Wildmon said in a statement. “He is the last person we should be featuring on a stamp.”
Milk, who was elected in 1977, served less than a year on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors before a fellow supervisor assassinated him. According to his biographers, Milk was attracted to young men in their 20s and teens.
Milk’s fame and influence have grown since his assassination. President Obama awarded him the Medal of Freedom to Milk in 2009, and California holds an annual "Harvey Milk Day" on May 22.
The U.S. Postal Service chose May 22 to release a commemorative stamp featuring Milk's image.
Actor Sean Penn won an Oscar for his portrayal of the activist in the 2008 biopic Milk.