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.
Although The Wire's experience buying Milk stamps in a New York City post office indicates that some regions of the country can't get enough of the commemorative stamps, Fischer shared an anecdote from one of his donors indicating that the AFA hopes the stamps will fail to catch on elsewhere:
One of our supporters went into a post office and was ordering stamps, and made it clear that he did not want the Harvey Milk stamps. One of the postal workers said to another postal worker..."we can't give these things away."
However! There's no need to fear, anti-gay Americans who accidentally ended up with a sheet of Milk stamps that need using up. 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.