Some of the names included in the list of 2009 recipients are the Lion of the U.S. Senate, Edward Kennedy (who was elected the year I was born!); tennis star & equality icon, Billie Jean King; SCLC President & civil rights legend, Rev. Joseph Lowery; international human rights (including GLBTQI rights) activist, Bishop Desmond Tutu; and openly-gay former member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Harvey Milk!
I know that there will be plenty of people who see this as simply “throwing the gays a bone” (no pun intended whatsoever), but, in my humble opinion, I think it says a lot that, in his first chance to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom, he has chosen so many gay (or gay-friendly) public figures. I also think that these folks are long, long overdue for such a prestigious honor!
The awards will be distributed at the White House on August 12.