Tags: john kerry | anti-gay | discrimination | apology

John Kerry: Anti-Gay Discrimination Apology Made on State Dept.'s Behalf

Image: John Kerry: Anti-Gay Discrimination Apology Made on State Dept.'s Behalf

Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a news conference at the State Department in Washington, on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

By    |   Monday, 09 Jan 2017 05:46 PM

John Kerry apologized Monday on behalf of the State Department for past anti-gay discrimination that led to the firing of more than 1,000 LGBT staffers in the 1940s and '50s.

Responding to a letter from Sen. Ben Cardin, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry sought to “take steps to remedy a deep stain on our national history,” CNN reported.

During the McCarthy era, an apparent “Lavender scare” joined the “Red scare” in purging hundreds of gays and suspected gays from government positions. President Dwight Eisenhower continued the discriminatory practices by banning all gay men and lesbians from working for the federal government, with more than 1,000 people ultimately losing their jobs over the policies, according to NPR

Even as recently as the 1990s, the State Department was reluctant to hire gay men and women and drove some out because they were considered to be security risks, NPR reported.

“On behalf of the Department, I apologize to those who were impacted by the practices of the past and reaffirm the Department’s steadfast commitment to diversity and inclusion for all our employees, including members of the LGBTI community,” Kerry’s statement read in part, NPR reported.

History professor David Johnson, who authored “The Lavender Scare,” welcomed the apology but told NPR “the State Department was unique in its level of homophobia,” rather than being one of many organizations and private companies engaging in discrimination during that time period.

Kerry has taken many pro-LGBT steps during his tenure as Secretary of State, including creating a position titled Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons.

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John Kerry apologized Monday on behalf of the State Department for past anti-gay discrimination that led to the firing of more than 1,000 LGBT staffers in the 1940s and '50s.
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2017-46-09
Monday, 09 Jan 2017 05:46 PM
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