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Pelosi Invokes Milk’s Murder in Speech


House speaker Nancy Pelosi finds the conservative rhetoric surrounding health care reform similar to the violent debate over gay rights in San Francisco in the 1970s that resulted in the murders of Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone.

"I have concerns about some of the language that is being used because I saw this myself in the late '70s in San Francisco. ... It created a climate in which violence took place," Pelosi said, according to "I wish we would all curb our enthusiasm in some of the statements and understand that some of the ears that it is falling on are not as balanced as the person making the statements may assume."

While supporting the freedom of speech, Pelosi also made it clear that individuals who may incite violence must be held responsible.

"I think we all have to take action and responsibility for our words," she added. "We are a free country and this balance between freedom and safety is one that we have to carefully balance."

Pelosi, who knew Milk and Moscone, was serving as chairwoman of the Democratic Party in Northern California when the two men were shot in November 1978.

While Pelosi did not directly name Milk and Moscone, according to Politico, an aide for the House speaker later confirmed whom she was referring to during the press conference.

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