Frank Kameny, who for decades fought to end discrimination in the federal workplace, will be honored by the U.S. Department of Labor in June with an induction to its Hall of Honor. Kameny’s legacy as a civil rights leader has made a monumental difference in improving the lives of all workers all across America.
A World War II veteran and Harvard-educated doctor of astronomy with the U.S. Army Map Service, Kameny was discharged and barred from federal government employment in 1958 after U.S. Civil Service Commission investigators asked if he was a homosexual.
Kameny fought the injustice, eventually taking his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which denied his petition in 1961. The setback led him to become a co-founder of the first gay rights organization in Washington, D.C., and began his tireless fight to force the nation’s largest employer — the federal government — to end discrimination in its employment practices based on sexual orientation.
“Frank Kameny was a groundbreaking leader in the LGBT civil rights movement. He fought tirelessly to live out his truth and to end workplace discrimination,” said Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “At the Department of Labor we work every day to carry on his legacy and ensure that all workers, no matter who they are or who they love, have equal access to opportunity.”
His activism led to the first gay demonstration for equal rights at the White House in 1965. Kameny later coined the slogan, “Gay is Good,” to combat negative stereotypes of gay and lesbian people and, in 1971, became the first openly gay candidate for Congress. That year, he also publicly challenged the scientific validity of the American Psychiatric Association’s theories on homosexuality as a mental disorder at its national meeting.
Founder of the Gay Activist Alliance (now the Gay and Lesbian Activist Alliance), Kameny and his fellow organizers campaigned relentlessly. Slowly, decisions in federal courts helped foster change. In 1975, almost two decades after he was fired by the Army, the Civil Service Commission announced it would no longer exclude homosexuals from government employment. Twenty years later, President Bill Clinton signed an executive order to allow lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees to hold security clearances and high government positions.
Franklin Edward Kameny died in 2011 at age 86.
Other Hall Of Honor inductees include Ted Kennedy, Bayard Rustin, Mary Harris “Mother” Jones, and the 9/11 Rescue Workers. Kameny’s ceremony will take place on June 23rd and the Labor Department suggests the Twitter hashtag #ThankFrank.
#ThankFrank A truer hashtag has never been written.
Yesterday US National Security Adviser Susan Rice denounced Gambian President Yahya Jammeh who last week vowed to “slit the throats” of gay men, adding, “If you are a man and want to marry another man in this country and we catch you, no one will ever set eyes on you again, and no white person can do anything about it.”
In October 2014 Jammeh signed a bill which makes homosexual acts punishable by life in prison.
“We condemn his comments, and note these threats come amid an alarming deterioration of the broader human rights situation in The Gambia,” Rice said in a statement. “We are deeply concerned about credible reports of torture, suspicious disappearances – including of two American citizens – and arbitrary detention at the government’s hands.” Rice made the remarks in a statement one day before the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia, saying the remarks from Gambia President Yahya Jammeh underscore the need for continued efforts “to seek a world in which no one lives in fear of violence or persecution because of who they are or whom they love.” Jemmeh, who’s been in power since 1994 and survived a coup attempt on December 30, issued a warning to gay men in the Wolof language during a recent rally in which he also threatened the political opposition, according to a translation of his remarks obtained by the international news agency Vice News.
The Office of Tourism for Gambia must be an awfully lonely place to work. And hopefully so will the Gambian office that receives Foreign Aid shortly.
The American Psychological Association expressed strong support for President Obama’s call for a society that accepts young people in their gender and sexual development, rather than rejecting them, labeling them as bad, or suggesting that they should change. APA has previously voiced its concerns about the scientific and ethical basis of efforts to change sexual orientation and about the way the promotion of such efforts by some individuals and organizations contributes to the social stigma that harms gender and sexual minorities.
“So-called reparative therapies are aimed at ‘fixing’ something that is not a mental illness and therefore does not require therapy. There is insufficient scientific evidence that they work, and they have the potential to harm the client,” said APA 2015 President Barry S. Anton, PhD. “APA has and will continue to call on mental health professionals to work to reduce misunderstanding about and prejudice toward gay and transgender people.”
A Resolution on Appropriate Affirmative Responses to Sexual Orientation Distress and Change Efforts, which accompanied the task force report and was adopted by the APA Council of Representatives, advised that parents, guardians, young people and their families avoid sexual orientation treatments that portray homosexuality as a mental illness or developmental disorder. It recommended that they instead seek psychotherapy, social support and educational services “that provide accurate information on sexual orientation and sexuality, increase family and school support and reduce rejection of sexual minority youth.”
The American Psychological Association, is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA’s membership includes more than 122,500 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students.
“Most people probably assumed that America already had an ambassador for homosexuality: it’s called the Obama administration. But now, Secretary John Kerry wants to make it official by creating a permanent position in the State Department devoted entirely to strong-arming other countries into embracing his view of homosexuality. In another major U-turn from the Bush years, the Obama administration is adding a full-time, taxpayer-funded, openly gay diplomat to the payroll whose sole purpose will be forcing the President’s radical social agenda on reluctant countries. Like Hillary Clinton before him, Kerry has turned the State Department into a satellite office of the Human Rights Campaign, where the only goal seems to be exporting homosexual extremism to a world preoccupied by far more important issues.” – GOP backed Family Research Council hate group leader Tony Perkins
Tony says U-turn from the Bush years like it’s a bad thing?
Now that the Department of Labor has issued its final rule on the implementation of President Obama’s executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT employees. House Republicans seeing a chance to screw with not only Obama but also the gays are now trying to stall the order’s enactment.
House Education and Workforce Committee Chair John Kline, a Republican from Minnesota, and Rep. Tim Walberg, the Republican chair of the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, made the request for a 60-day public comment period for the rule in a letter to the head of the office responsible for enforcing it. “[W]e understand the public was not afforded an opportunity to submit comments as provided under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA),” Kline and Walberg wrote to Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Director Patricia Shiu. “Public comment is essential to all rulemakings.” After laying out their argument, they write, “We therefore urge OFCCP to withdraw its final regulation submitted to [Office of Management and Budget] … so the process for implementing [Obama’s executive order] can be done with the transparency and public participation typically afforded under the APA.” They ask for a response from Shiu “no later than December 17, 2014.”
This is a preview of what the next 2 years will be like. Add the Senate to the House.
There is something seriously mentally wrong with Republican politicians. And worse the people who voted them into office
“As progress spreads from State to State, as justice is delivered in the courtroom, and as more of our fellow Americans are treated with dignity and respect — our Nation becomes not only more accepting, but more equal as well. During Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, we celebrate victories that have affirmed freedom and fairness, and we recommit ourselves to completing the work that remains.
“Last year, supporters of equality celebrated the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act, a ruling which, at long last, gave loving, committed families the respect and legal protections they deserve. In keeping with this decision, my Administration is extending family and spousal benefits — from immigration benefits to military family benefits — to legally married same-sex couples.
“My Administration proudly stands alongside all those who fight for LGBT rights. Here at home, we have strengthened laws against violence toward LGBT Americans, taken action to prevent bullying and harassment, and prohibited discrimination in housing and hospitals. Despite this progress, LGBT workers in too many States can be fired just because of their sexual orientation or gender identity; I continue to call on the Congress to correct this injustice by passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. And in the years ahead, we will remain dedicated to addressing health disparities within the LGBT community by implementing the Affordable Care Act and the National HIV/AIDS Strategy — which focuses on improving care while decreasing HIV transmission rates among communities most at risk.
“Our commitment to advancing equality for the LGBT community extends far beyond our borders. In many places around the globe, LGBT people face persecution, arrest, or even state-sponsored execution. This is unacceptable. The United States calls on every nation to join us in defending the universal human rights of our LGBT brothers and sisters.
“This month, as we mark 45 years since the patrons of the Stonewall Inn defied an unjust policy and awakened a nascent movement, let us honor every brave leader who stood up, sat in, and came out, as well as the allies who supported them along the way. Following their example, let each of us speak for tolerance, justice, and dignity — because if hearts and minds continue to change over time, laws will too.
“NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2014 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people.
“IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.” – Barack Obama.
Now PLEASE #SignTheDamnEO protecting LGBT Federal Contractor Employees!
Ugandan President Idi-Amin Dada II Museveni has signed the bill penalizing homosexuality with life imprisonment into law today, the Ugandan Observer reports:
The president was in combative mood in a speech after the signing and while answering questions from journalists. He suggested that the law was made necessary by arrogant western groups promoting a behaviour that threatens Ugandans’ “way of life”.
The signing, which was delayed by more than three hours, has been condemned internationally, but was hugely anticipated by many Ugandans.
The president, who first launched Galaxy International School at Lubowa, Entebbe road, signed the law at around 1:50pm East African time.
Before signing, the president identified three categories of gay people – recruiters, exhibitionists and mercenaries.
The president suggested he could not to understand how men could fail to be attracted to Uganda’s beautiful women and, instead, get attracted to fellow men. The president also paraded the mostly Ugandan scientists who concluded that homosexuality wasn’t generic.
Shortly after Museveni signed the bill the Secretary of State John Kerry, issued the following press release by the State Department.
“This is a tragic day for Uganda and for all who care about the cause of human rights. Ultimately, the only answer is repeal of this law. The United States is deeply disappointed in the enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda. For the four years since the bill was introduced, we have been crystal clear that it blatantly violates human rights obligations that Uganda’s Human Rights Commission itself has recognized are enshrined in Uganda’s Constitution. Today’s signing threatens a dangerous slide backward in Uganda’s commitment to protecting the human rights of its people and a serious threat to the LGBT community in Uganda.
“We are also deeply concerned about the law’s potential to set back public health efforts in Uganda, including those to address HIV/AIDS, which must be conducted in a non-discriminatory manner in order to be effective. As President Obama stated, this legislation is not just morally wrong, it complicates a valued relationship. Now that this law has been enacted, we are beginning an internal review of our relationship with the Government of Uganda to ensure that all dimensions of our engagement, including assistance programs, uphold our anti-discrimination policies and principles and reflect our values.
“From Nigeria to Russia and Uganda, we are working globally to promote and protect the human rights of all persons. The United States will continue to stand against any efforts to marginalize, criminalize, and penalize vulnerable persons in any society.”
It is time for us to do our due diligence and pressure our government to halt all aid to this hell-hole and do our best to expose Scott Lively, LaBarbera and all the other “Christian” leaders who go abroad to specifically spread this hate. It is time that these stories reach the mainstream media outlets and escape the gay media bubble.
“United States Attorney General Eric Holder, this week, has again overstepped the boundaries of the law when he arbitrarily ordered that homosexual couples will now receive government benefits reserved only for natural marriage status. This applies even in states that have laws defining marriage as only between one man and one woman. Taking a nod from the playbook of his boss, President Barack Obama, Holder wielded his own pen and paper, trampling on states’ rights and disenfranchising voters in states defining marriage as only between one man and one woman. TAKE ACTION! Urge your representative to press for the impeachment of Attorney General Eric Holder for high crimes and misdemeanors.” – From an email sent today by the SLPC recognized hate group the GOP backed American Family Association to its supporters. (All 25 of them) The impeachment bill they cite was introduced over two years ago and still only has 24 House cosponsors. Muah!
Even with President Obama’s evolution on marriage equality, many from both sides of the political fence doubted that his administration would intervene the DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) and Prop 8 court cases to be heard by the Supreme Court. Well, as reported by Buzzfeed, today President Obama and his administration formally challenged that idea by releasing a brief arguing how DOMA is unconstitutional.
The first thing the administration argues is the use of “husband/wife” and how “Marriage” would be federally defined as between as one man and one woman:
Section 3 of DOMA violates the fundamental constitutional guarantee of equal protection. The law denies to tens of thousands of same-sex couples who are legally married under state law an array of important federal benefits that are available to legally married opposite-sex couples. Because this discrimination cannot be justified as substantially furthering any important governmental interest, Section 3 is unconstitutional.
The administration also addresses how making sexual orientation a factor in marriage that such a law would be discriminatory:
To the extent sexual orientation may be considered to fall short in some dimension [to have heightened scrutiny applied], the history of discrimination and the absence of relation to one’s capabilities associated with this particular classification would uniquely qualify it for scrutiny under an approach that calls for a measure of added focus to guard against giving effect to a desire to harm an “unpopular group.”
In addition, the administration also opposes the Republican-backed Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), who argues that this is not for the Supreme Court to decide:
BLAG makes an appeal to this Court to allow the democratic process to run its course. That approach would be very well taken in most circumstances. This is, however, the rare case in which deference to the democratic process must give way to the fundamental constitutional command of equal treatment under law. Section 3 of DOMA targets the many gay and lesbian people legally married under state law for a harsh form of discrimination that bears no relation to their ability to contribute to society. It is abundantly clear that this discrimination does not substantially advance an interest in protecting marriage, or any other important interest. The statute simply cannot be reconciled with the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection. The Constitution therefore requires that Section 3 be invalidated.
As a result, do you think that having the input from the Obama administration will actually sway the supreme court justices in striking down DOMA? And does this mean that President Obama will also address ENDA and fight for a measure to protect LGBT in the workforce? It’s possible, especially with the talk that he was going to address this in his State of the Union speech earlier this month. Let’s hope that these steps are just the beginning.
Former Nebraska Republican Senator Chuck Hagel – a contender to replace Defense Secretary Leo Panetta in the second-term Obama cabinet – has apologized categorically for his previous comments about gays in the diplomatic service.
Hagel had questioned the suitability of James Hormel, later named by President Clinton as Ambassador to Luxembourg, as an American envoy, describing Hormel as “aggressively gay.” Hagel was also a supporter of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.
LGBT groups demanded that Hagel renounce his previous remarks. Hagel did just that, announcing in a statement that his 1998 comments “do not reflect my views or the totality of my public record, and I apologize.” Hagel further affirmed his support for gays and lesbians serving openly in the military and for LGBT “military families.”
It would seem that Hagel’s views have indeed evolved over time, much like those of the Obama administration that he seeks to serve. Steve Clemons, an openly gay editor at The Atlanic, wrote about his personal experiences with Hagel, calling the former senator a “staunch supporter” of gay rights: “At some point, Hagel may have been a supporter of don’t ask, don’t tell, but as of a couple of years ago he was not.”
While he has likely reassured liberals who feared backtracking on LGBT issues under his tenure, Hagel would still face intense scrutiny from senators based on other past comments, including a reference to the influence of the “Jewish lobby” that supports Israel. Hagel has also aroused the ire of his former GOP colleagues by backing Democratic senatorial candidates Joe Sestak and Bob Kerrey.
Hagel, 66, served two terms in the Senate before retiring in 2009. Since then he has been a professor at Georgetown University and co-chair of President Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board.