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Harvey Milk to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom


Harvey Milk's nephew Stuart Milk, will accept the Presidential Medal of Freedom at a White House ceremony on August 12, according to the Victory Fund.

Said Stuart: "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. 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."

Billie Jean King will receive the medal on the same day. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nation's highest civilian honor, recognizing individuals responsible for "an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.

Said Obama: "These outstanding men and women represent an incredible diversity of backgrounds.  Their tremendous accomplishments span fields from science to sports, from fine arts to foreign affairs.  Yet they share one overarching trait: Each has been an agent of change.  Each saw an imperfect world and set about improving it, often overcoming great obstacles along the way. Their relentless devotion to breaking down barriers and lifting up their fellow citizens sets a standard to which we all should strive.  It is my great honor to award them the Medal of Freedom."

Additional recipients this year are Ted Kennedy, Nancy Goodman Brinker, Pedro Jose Greer, Jr., Jack Kemp, Rev. Joseph Lowery, Joe Medicine Crow, Sandra Day O'Connor, Sidney Poitier, Chita Rivera, Mary Robinson, Janet Davidson Rowley,Desmond Tutu, and Muhammad Yunus.

More about the recipients here.

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  1. Hmmm, bully pulpit to stop dismissals under DADT, which is a tangible benefit, or a nice couple of token gays getting medals...

    Obama needs to remember that symbolic gestures don't make us equal with everyone else and get up off his ass and do something.

    Posted by: DR | Jul 30, 2009 3:59:30 PM

  2. Please consider that Obama's domestic agenda got completely derailed last week when he made an offhand two-word comment related to race in the Gates case. He's pursuing big issues at the moment, the kind that affect all Americans. So again, he's taking baby steps on LGBT issues because he knows it will stir up a shitstorm among conservatives and they'll use it against him successfully.

    The GOP is already spreading tons of lies about the health care bill. Think what kind of lies they'll spread about us? Some of our demands are going to have to wait. Sorry.

    Posted by: Paul R | Jul 30, 2009 4:14:22 PM

  3. IF more people knew more about our history AND were paying more attention to whom the Obama administration has been speaking about in the last three months, they would immediately see that this posthumous medal to Milk is TRANSPARENT pandering because it should be going to the person who, despite Milk's accomplishments, deserves it 100 times more...whom Obama has already personally acknowledged twice, and his Office of Personnel Management gave an award to in May: FRANK KAMENY ... who was picketing the White House for gay rights when Milk was still upset that the guy living in it wasn't Barry Goldwater.

    Kameny created the then-questionable-even-to-gays expression "Gay Is Good" and cofounded the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, and DC's Mattachine Society and Gay Activists Alliance, ran for Congress as a gay man, cofounded the unprecedented National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, helped force the American Psychiatric Association to declare gays weren't mentally ill...before publicly closeted Milk first decided to get into politics over something that had NOTHING to do with gay rights...he simply was pissed that he was asked to pay a business tax early.

    Yes, Milk changed and made many contributions, but his resume of accomplishments are dwarfed by Kameny's, and even THE PRESIDENT KNOWS IT. He said to LGBTs at the White House Stonewall event on June 29th:

    "It's the story of progress sought by those who started off with little influence or power; by men and women who brought about change through quiet, personal acts of compassion and courage and sometimes defiance wherever and whenever they could.

    That's the story of a civil rights pioneer who's here today, Frank Kameny, who was fired from his job as an astronomer for the federal government simply because he was gay. And in 1965, he led a protest outside the White House, which was at the time both an act of conscience but also an act of extraordinary courage. And so we are proud of you, Frank, and we are grateful to you for your leadership."

    And despite the fact that he far better fits Obama's description re the medal of being a pioneering "agent of change" and "breaking down barriers and lifting up their fellow citizens"...poor Frank didn't get killed, have an Oscar-winning movie made about him, and lives in a world in which most gays are too lazy to know any better, didn't even recognize him when Obama handed him the pen he used to sign the Crumbs memo.... so he can't be so easily exploited when Obama has to try to tranquilize The Gays because the most he's done since taking office is work against our rights rather than for them.

    This is the equivalent of trying to be more popular by wearing designer jeans labeled "Calvin" er "Harvey Milk."

    AND it's no more admirable than had Lincoln given an award to Frederick Douglas or Harriet Tubman for fighting slavery while still enforcing slavery.

    Milk and King are getting "Massa's Medal of NONfreedom."

    I hope Dustin Lance Black is writing Stuart Milk's acceptance speech...assuming he's allowed to speak.

    Posted by: Michael @ | Jul 30, 2009 5:00:55 PM

  4. All of you are so mad at President Obama for awarding Milk the PMoF you don't stop to think he would have never been chosen if Bush was still in office. And Sarah Palin would have given the award to the killer of the abortion doctor.

    Posted by: Jan Byrd | Aug 3, 2009 11:46:08 PM

  5. For those who want everything now, the Presidential Medal award is
    an irritation. But to those who know total equality does in
    fact take time and commitment, these honors are significant
    milestones to confirm we are on the right course. "Are we there
    yet?" is the whining of children. Gratitude, yes, even as I
    continue to press hard for true equality. "I ain't got no satisfaction,but I try and I try" and we try.

    Posted by: inocentmi | Aug 4, 2009 12:46:45 AM

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