President Barack Obama presents the Medal of Freedom—the nation's highest civilian award—to 16 highly accomplished individuals including openly gay tennis superstar Billie Jean King and iconic gay activist and politician Harvey Milk.
Remarking on King, who became one of the first openly gay sports figures when she came out in 1981, the President said: "With Billie Jean King pushing us, the road ahead will be smoother for women, the future will be brighter for LGBT Americans, and our nation's commitment to equality will be stronger for all."
Presenting the posthumous award to Milk, which was accepted by his nephew Stuart Milk, the President remarked: "Harvey Bernard Milk dedicated his life to shattering boundaries and challenging assumptions. As one of the first openly gay elected officials in this country, he changed the landscape of opportunity for the nation's gay community."
Other honorees included Sidney Poitier, Chita Rivera, former SCLC President Rev. Joseph Lowery, Sen. Ted Kennedy, British physicist Stephen Hawking and Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu. WHEN YOU JUMP, a few more photos and video of the presentations to King and Milk.