Harvey Milk, Jack Kemp to Get Posthumous Medals of Freedom

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President Barack Obama this week will award the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously to Harvey Milk, one of the nation’s first openly homosexual politicians, and to the late Jack Kemp, a leading proponent of supply side economics.

They are among 16 people to be honored at a White House ceremony on Wednesday.

Harvey Milk, an openly gay man elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, was shot and killed in November 1978 along with San Francisco Mayor George Moscone by Dan White, a former supervisor who had recently resigned and wanted his job back.

Just last week, the California Assembly approved a bill designating May 22 as "Harvey Milk Day.” Conservatives complain that the bill will require all public schools to "conduct suitable commemorative exercises."

Others receiving the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom on Wednesday include Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman on the nation’s highest court, and Desmond Tutu, an Anglican Archbishop who helped fight apartheid in South Africa. (See full list below)

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