Thursday, July 30, 2009

Presidential Medal of Honor Recipients for 2009

The White House announced today the names of the 16 individuals being awarded the highest honor that can be bestowed by a U.S. President upon a civilian, The Presidential Medal of Freedom, the first time President Obama has bestowed the award.

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.

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