From his home base in San Francisco, City Superintendent Milk (Sean Penn in an Oscar-worthy performance) spearheaded the movement that won equal rights for gays in the workplace and other civic arenas.
Throughout his career as political activist, Milk was targeted with death threats by conservatives and homophobes. He was assassinated in November, 1978.
Thirty years later, California's ban on gay marriage is like another assassination attempt--this time on the Bill of Rights' guarantee of equality for all.
Those who are moved by Milk to want to know more about the charismatic and dedicated man whose story and struggle inspired Van Sant to make his film, see Rob Epstein's superb 1994 Academy Award-winning documentary The Times of Harvey Milk.
For those who still question the guarantee of equal rights for gays, Daniel Karslake's brilliant For The Bible Tells Me So should be mandatory viewing. This documentary points out clearly and cogently that the Bible--so often referred to by religious gay bashers--presents no edicts against homosexuality.
Meanwhile, you can watch the Milktrailer and, by all means, see this outstanding film.
(PHOTO: Sean Penn and Victor Garber star in 'Milk." Courtesy Focus Features)