Eye Opener: Apology for Frank Kameny
Happy Monday! President Obama meets with 250 gay rights activists today in the East Room of the White House to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the birth of the gay rights movement. The Obama administration took another step to mark the anniversary last week by formally apologizing to Frank Kameny, who was fired 50 years ago from his government job for being gay.
John Berry, the most senior gay official in the Obama administration, serving as director of the Office of Personnel Management, presented Kameny with an official letter of apology along with the department’s most prestigious award, the Theodore Roosevelt Award, reports The Washington Blade.
“In what we know today was a shameful action, the United States Civil Service Commission in 1957 upheld your dismissal from your job solely on the basis of your sexual orientation,” Berry's letter states. “… And by virtue of the authority vested in me as Director of the Office Of Personnel Management, it is my duty and great pleasure to inform you that I am adding my support … for the repudiation of the reasoning of the 1957 finding by the United States Civil Service Commission to dismiss you from your job solely on the basis of your sexual orientation. Please accept our apology for the consequences of the previous policy of the United States government.”
“Apology accepted,” Kameny replied.
The apology, and Obama's meeting today with gay activists, come as some suggest the president is lagging behind on gay issues as the more Americans embrace the culture, and its call for equal rights.
David Mixner, a longtime gay leader, told the New York Times Saturday he was struck by how things had changed.
“Listen,” Mr. Mixner said, “in 1992, what we were begging Bill Clinton about — literally — about whether he was going to say the word ‘gay’ in his convention speech. Even say it. We had to threaten a walkout to get it in.”
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In other federal news...
• Agencies Clash on Military's Border Role: A proposal to send National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to counter drug trafficking has triggered a bureaucratic standoff between the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security over the military's role in domestic affairs.
• Call It Obstructionism: The New York Times editorial board once again calls on Republicans to stop blocking Obama nominees.
• Obama Seeks Input on Classification of Records: Starting today, tech-savvy citizens as well as federal officials will be able to weigh in on the complicated debate.
• 2nd Delay Sought On Detainee Report: Department lawyers told a federal judge Friday that the disclosure of a hotly anticipated 2004 report by the CIA inspector general on the Bush administration's interrogation program for terrorism suspects will be delayed until shortly before the July 4 holiday weekend.
• Out of the Closet and Into Congress?: A conversation with Anthony Woods, a gay former member of the military, asked to opine on "Don't Ask Don't Tell."
• U.S. Interagency Team to Focus On Sanctions Against N. Korea: The White House is forming such a team to coordinate sanctions efforts against North Korea with other nations.
• Intel Outside: ForeignPolicy.com's Josh Kerbel argues the nation's intelligence community has made only "incremental measures that suggest more change than they truly demonstrate."
• Nestlé Refused FDA Records Requests: Inspection reports from a cookie dough factory released Friday show the company declined several times in the past five years to provide agency inspectors with complaint logs, pest-control records and other information.
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