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Harvey Milk to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom


The Victory Fund has learned
President Barack Obama plans to 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 12 by Stuart Milk, the nephew
of the late San Francisco Supervisor and civil rights activist.

"We are thrilled President Obama is honoring Harvey Milk with the Medal of Freedom. He's
an American hero and trailblazer whose election more than 30 years ago
triggered a political awakening that inspires us still today. This
recognition sends an important message about how critical political
leadership will be in making all Americans equal in the eyes of the
law," said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund.

Stuart Milk echoed
Wolfe's praise, saying, "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

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.

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