President Barack Obama is scheduled to posthumously award America’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, to Harvey Milk, one of the country’s first openly gay elected officials. The award will be accepted at a White House ceremony August 12th by Stuart Milk, the nephew of the late San Francisco Supervisor and civil rights activist.
"The President’s action today touches the core of our very human hearts and my uncle would be so proud of this high honor. His election was, for him, a beginning-a chance to make real change. That change is happening, but we still have so far to go," said Stuard Milk in a prepared statement. "I hope this recognition inspires LGBT Americans everywhere to heed Harvey’s call to run for office, to serve openly, to live proudly with authenticity and to demand the equality that we all deserve."
American tennis great Billy Jean King, who is openly lesbian, and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, who has championed LGBT equality throughout his political career, also will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the August 12 ceremony. Kennedy was honored by the Victory Fund in 2004 with its Oates-Shrum Leadership Award in recognition of his tireless work on behalf of LGBT Americans.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award created to honor especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, or world peace, or cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.
Copyright © 2009 Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and Leadership Institute