White House to honor gay Atlanta’s Simone Bell

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Rep. Simone Bell, a lesbian lawmaker who's made history in Georgia, will add to her honors on Wednesday. That's when the White House will honor the motorcycle riding state lawmaker as one of just 10 Harvey Milk Champions of Change.

Bell is among LGBT state lawmakers from across the country selected to be honored for “a strong commitment to both equality and public service.”

“These are LGBT leaders who have demonstrated a strong commitment to both equality and public service,” Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund & Institute, said Monday in announcing the honorees.

”They are citizen legislators, executives and appointees who serve honestly, openly and proudly. We congratulate and salute each of them for this high honor,” he added.

Harvey Milk Champions of Change is an expansion of a program the White House launched in 2011. The lawmakers are being honored on May 22, which is the birthday of the slain gay rights activist who was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and became the first openly gay person elected to office in California.

Bell was elected to the General Assembly in 2009, becoming the first African-American lesbian to win election to a state legislature in the U.S. She became Georgia's second openly gay lawmaker and has twice been re-elected. 

The full list of Harvey Milk Champions of Change:

Simone Bell – Georgia State Representative, Atlanta, GA
Angie Buhl O’Donnell – South Dakota State Senator, Sioux Falls, SD
Karen Clark – Minnesota State Representative, South Minneapolis, MN
Michael A. Gin – Mayor of Redondo Beach, Redondo Beach, CA
Kim Coco Iwamoto – Hawaii State Civil Rights Commissioner, Honolulu, HI
John Laird – California Secretary of Natural Resources, Santa Cruz, CA
Ricardo Lara – California State Senator, Long Beach, CA
Kim Painter – Johnson Country Recorder, Iowa City, IA
Chris Seelbach – Cincinnati City Council Member, Cincinnati, OH
Pat Steadman – Colorado State Senator, Denver, CO


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