The highest honor given to civilians by the US government, the presidential medal of honor will be conferred to the late Harvey Milk as well as 15 others.
The diverse group of recipients have devoted their lives to public service, health, sports, entertainment and economics. Former supervisor Milk, along with tennis great and gender activist Billie Jean King, will be the first openly gay recipient of the medal.
Obama’s decision to honor Milk comes after the LGBT community’s ire was raised by presidental missteps on the Defense of Marriage Act and the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy. Money quote from gay CA state senator Tom Ammiano: “If Harvey was alive today, he would say, ‘Thanks for the honor – now repeal those bills.’ “