After the American Family Association urged members to refuse to open any letter which used a Harvey Milk commemorative stamp, Atlantic’s The Wire tried to see if the AFA, along with Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council, would accept a $5 donation enclosed in such an envelope.
While The AFA said they declined the donation, the other two anti-gay groups both processed the donation.
AFA spokesman Bryan Fischer used the opportunity to compare Milk to serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer: “Speaking to The Wire, AFA’s Director of Issues Analysis Bryan Fischer said that the very existence of the Harvey Milk stamp was akin to ‘honoring Jeffrey Dahmer on a postage stamp designed to honor the culinary arts.’”
How much do anti-gay groups hate the new Harvey Milk stamps from the U.S. Postal Service? One organization refused to even open a mailed donation to their cause using one such stamp as postage. Staying true to their announcement that they would boycott all mail with the Milk stamps, the American Family Association told The Wire that the organization had mailed back our attempted $5 donation to their anti-gay group unopened. Speaking to The Wire, AFA's Director of Issues Analysis Bryan Fischer said that the very existence of the Harvey Milk stamp was akin to "honoring Jeffrey Dahmer on a postage stamp designed to honor the culinary arts." That's because Fischer and the AFA, citing a line from a biography of Milk, believe that Milk was a sexual predator. "He is not somebody that should ever be honored on a postage stamp," Fischer said.
In an email to The Wire, AFA Special Projects director Randy Sharp said that the group marked our $5 donation "'Return to Sender' and returned it to the post office the next day." We still haven't received the rejected donation at Wire HQ, but Sharp included photo evidence (above) of the unopened donation on its way to a somewhat-expected round trip. Since announcing their boycott in late May, Fischer told us that the organization has received "several dozen" pieces of mail with Harvey Milk stamps on them. Unlike our attempted donation, few of those letters came with a return address. "There has been a juvenile effort to tweak us on this," Fischer added. The unopened, orphaned letters are currently sitting in a box in the AFA's offices.
Two other anti-gay groups (who, to be perfectly clear, did not pledge to boycott the stamps) are indeed accepting mailed donations with the Milk stamp, based on our experiment: Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council both processed The Wire's mailed $5 donations to their organizations, based on the records of this writer's slightly lighter bank accounts. Focus on the Family declined to comment on the stamps and on their newest donors; we'll let you know if the Family Research Council returns our request for comment.