For Immediate Release
President Obama to Bestow Presidential Medal of Freedom on Harvey Milk
Equality California Urges Governor to Sign Harvey Milk Day Bill Into Law
SAN FRANCISCO - Today President Obama announced that he will honor assassinated civil rights leader Harvey Milk with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor recognizing significant contributions to the nation and the world. The President will also honor Senator Edward Kennedy and tennis legend Billie Jean King, an open lesbian and longtime champion for the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, with the Medal of Freedom on August 12.
"President Obama understands that Harvey Milk's legacy reaches far beyond San Francisco, and that his story is an inspiration to everyone who believes in equality and fairness," said Geoff Kors, Equality California (EQCA) executive director. "Harvey Milk risked everything to change the course of history and to secure many of the civil rights and protections we enjoy today. In light of Harvey Milk receiving this incredible honor, we urge Governor Schwarzenegger to sign the Harvey Milk bill into law as a tribute to Harvey Milk's courageous work to end discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community."
Last year, EQCA sponsored the first bill in the country to officially honor Milk, the nation's first openly gay man elected to major political office, but the Governor vetoed it. Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) introduced the Harvey Milk Day bill, sponsored by EQCA, again this year. The legislation would require the governor to annually proclaim May 22 as Harvey Milk Day, designating it as a "day of special significance," to recognize Milk's work to secure equal protections.
Equality California is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots-based, statewide advocacy organization whose mission is to achieve equality and civil rights for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Californians.