White House names Cincinnati Councilman Chris Seelbach 2013 Harvey Milk 'Champion of Change'

CINCINNATI - Cincinnati City Councilman Chris Seelbach will be honored in Washington, D.C. this week as the 2013 Harvey Milk "Champion of Change."

Seelbach, who was the first openly gay politician to be elected into the Cincinnati City Council in 2011, will receive the award at the White House this Wednesday.

Nine friends and family, including his parents and partner of eight years, will accompany him, according to a press release.

"I am humbled and proud to be recognized by the White House for my efforts on City Council and extremely grateful to the people of Cincinnati for giving me the opportunity to effect positive change in our community.  In order to create a city where more people want to live, work and raise a family, we must continue fighting to make sure all people feel welcomed, valued and respected," said Seelbach in a release.

As a result of Seelbach's election into City Council, Cincinnati has increased by 19 points on the Human Rights Campaign Municipal Equality Index, which includes the following efforts:

  • Extending equal partner health benefits to all city employees.
  • Creating a LGBT liaison in both the police and fire departments.
  • Making it mandatory for anyone accepting city funding or subsidies to agree, in writing, to follow an inclusive non-discrimination policy.

The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) nominated Seelbach for the award.

"GLSEN is proud to celebrate Chris Seelbach being named a Champion of Change," said Dr. Eliza Byard, GLSEN's Executive Director. "His long-standing commitment to support young people, including LGBT youth makes him an outstanding rising leader in public service for The White House to recognize. It's because of dedicated GLSEN supporters like Chris who make our safer schools efforts resonate in communities across the country."

The White House Champions of Change Program honors citizens who do extraordinary things for their community and country. This is the first year the Harvey Milk Champion of Change award will be distributed, which recognizes community leaders who exhibit a commitment to equality and public service.

Seelbach will be among the 10 leaders set to be honored on Wednesday.

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