For Immediate Release
Task Force Applauds White House Announcement That Harvey Milk and Billie Jean King Will Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom
WASHINGTON - The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force applauds the
inclusion of two extraordinary gay and lesbian leaders - the late
Harvey Milk and Billie Jean King - in the White House's list of recipients
of the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom. The award, the nation's
highest civilian honor, is bestowed upon individuals who make an
especially meritorious contribution to the security or national
interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other
significant public or private endeavors.
Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
"Today's White House announcement of Medal of Freedom awards to the
late Harvey Milk and to Billie Jean King honors two openly gay and
lesbian people for their outstanding contributions to the nation. We
applaud and cheer that Harvey Milk and Billie Jean King's dedication to
freedom and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people
and for women and girls is at last being recognized with our country's
highest civilian honor. Harvey Milk and Billie Jean King are
trailblazers whose courage, commitment and perseverance have brought
our country to a better place. How utterly appropriate that they will
receive an award named the 'Medal of Freedom.'
"We also applaud the inclusion of Sen. Edward Kennedy, who has been
a longtime advocate and leader in the U.S. Senate on a host of
legislative initiatives pertaining to HIV/AIDS and LGBT equality; and
of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Rev. Joseph Lowery, two faith
leaders who have been outspoken on and supportive of LGBT issues. Each
of these recipients has indeed made important contributions toward
equality and justice."
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force builds the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, building the organizational capacity of our movement and generating groundbreaking research through our Policy Institute.