Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus on Tuesday named a ship in honor of Harvey Milk.

The ship naming ceremony took place at Treasure Island in the San Francisco Bay Area.

“[Milk] came out for justice, equality and freedom. … He offered hope for millions of Americans who were being ostracized and prosecuted just for who they loved,” Mabus told the crowd from a podium surrounded by six flags, one being a rainbow flag.

Milk, who served aboard a submarine rescue ship during the Korean War, was the first openly gay elected official of a major U.S. city. He won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977 on a pledge to back gay and lesbian rights. He was murdered by a disgruntled former supervisor the following year.

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, applauded the move.

“Today’s historic ceremony is so much more than naming a ship after the legendary Harvey Milk. It is further evidence of the profound progress on LGBTQ equality we continue to make as a nation,” Griffin said in a statement. “In his bold and unabashed advocacy, Milk inspired LGBTQ people for generations. And in her tireless career and service, Paula Neira has played a major role in lifting the ban on transgender service members. As we work to achieve our shared vision of equality for all LGBTQ people, we are grateful to the United States Navy and Secretary Ray Mabus for their continued leadership in ensuring all sailors have the dignity and respect they deserve.”