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SF airport opens gates in new $2.4B Harvey Milk Terminal

By Clyde Hughes

July 23 (UPI) -- San Francisco International Airport on Tuesday opened gates at its new $2.4 billion terminal and named it after slain gay rights advocate and former city supervisor Harvey Milk.

Airport officials opened nine of the terminal's new gates, which are used by Southwest Airlines and JetBlue.

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When the entire terminal is finished in 2023, the Harvey Milk Terminal will have 25 gates.

"Its design innovations are driven by analytics, technology, sustainability and the passenger experience," the airport said. "These elements combined, some seen and unseen, are what makes Harvey Milk Terminal 1 unlike any other."

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Visitors to the new terminal are greeted by a 380-foot display wall of art, photos, notes and other mementos from Milk's life. In 1977, he became the first openly gay Californian to be elected to public office.

"This is really the first airport terminal in the world to be named in honor of an LGBT leader, so that's really significant," airport spokesman Doug Yakel told KGO-TV. "You've got a facility that's brand new that will really allow millions of people from around the world to learn about Harvey Milk's story, learn about his life and his legacy."

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Milk was assassinated in 1978 by former supervisor Dan White, who claimed at trial the shooting was the result of a sugar imbalance from eating too much junk food -- a strategy that became known as the "Twinkie defense." San Francisco Mayor George Moscone was also killed in the attack. Milk was portrayed by actor Sean Penn in a 2008 biopic.

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