Harvey Milk Stars Say Gay-Rights Pioneer's Story 'Isn't Just A History Lesson'

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More than a week after California narrowly passed Proposition 8, which effectively bans gay marriage, protests have erupted all over the Golden State.

In many ways, the demonstrations mirror the efforts of '70s gay-rights pioneer Harvey Milk. As a new biopic gets ready to tell Milk's story with a newfound relevance, and the film's stars march alongside the Prop 8 protesters, art and life are imitating each other in a very unique way.

"Things [since the '70s] have changed, but with Prop 8, it shows that we are not all the way there," James Franco sighed over the weekend, offering his support for a movement that had scheduled protests in L.A. and New York on Wednesday evening (November 12). "And if Harvey Milk was alive today, there is no doubt he would be fighting Prop 8 as hard as he could. It just shows that this movie isn't just a history lesson. It's showing issues that are still very much alive today."

In "Milk," due in theaters November 26, Sean Penn portrays the country's first openly gay elected official. Co-starring Franco, Emile Hirsch, Diego Luna and "Dan in Real Life" actress Alison Pill, the film has garnered some of the best reviews of the year while telling the story of a man who became a San Francisco city supervisor and fought against Proposition 6 — which sought to fire gay teachers and those who supported them. Shortly after defeating the proposition in 1978, Milk was shot dead by fellow politician Dan White (played by Josh Brolin).

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