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Eye Opener: Apology for Frank Kameny

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

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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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.

Do We Need an Agriculture Department?: Alyssa Rosenberg and Ezra Klein
wonder: do we need USDA and its related Congressional committees?

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.

By Ed O'Keefe  | June 29, 2009; 6:15 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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Next: Gay Pride at the White House: The Guest List

Comments

The apoloyg in the letter reminds me of the citation given to the cowardly lion in the Wizard of Oz.

Sorry, can't help it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | June 29, 2009 7:03 AM | Report abuse

I would hope, then, that apologies are given to those people who held differing political views and were dismissed from jobs or held back from jobs, not limited to those people in the movie industry and government, especially during the "McCarthy era". Were their honest beliefs, with hindsight, cause for discrimination?

Posted by: Dungarees | June 29, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

I wonder who will be the President fifty years from now when the federal government apologises for the "Defense of Marriage Act"

"In what we know today was a shameful action, the United States Congress, in 1996 passed a law that even as far back as President Obama, was considered discrimination solely on the basis of your sexual orientation."

Some elderly same sex couple (I'll be dead by then) will smile and say "apology accepted."

Posted by: gilbert6 | June 29, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

What a complete journalistic raping David Mixner!!!! That quotation is ripped out of its context and made to say exactly the OPPOSITE of what Mixner actually said!!!

Mixner has been one of the more vocal critics of the Obama Administration. His quote was not about praising Obama in contrast to Bill Clinton. His quote was designed to highlight how public opinion has changed dramatically since 1993, making it unjustifiable for Obama and his Clinton-holdovers like Rahm Emmanuel to continue to act as though gay issues are a third rail.

What an oafish attempt to cover this controversy!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: uh_huhh | June 29, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Uh_huhh The quote is used exactly as it appears in the NYTimes. It was not ripped out of context, nor was its meaning magically altered.
"Journalistic raping"?!? Raping?!? Do you even comprehend what that word means?

Posted by: lostinthemiddle | June 29, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Is this the beginning of a new era that the Federal governement along with certain state government will acknowledge the same sex marriage act, to apology for being fired, will this come as a stepping stone for Gay marriage? Why would DC Governemtn acknowledge Gay Marriage from other states, but not perform them, |Is this NOT stupid, or what Marion |Barry said once, about another subject This is a Brain Dead Act?

Posted by: onesugar1 | June 29, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

It's time.

I'm busy officiating for couples who are coming to CT to wed from around the country because they aren't allowed to do so in their own home states just yet.

Re: Obama, DOMA, DADT, National Health, "war" funding, bailouts for Wall St looters, Israel-Palestine, etc...

Not much has changed has it?

Cheers, Joe Mustich,
Justice of the Peace,
Washington, Connecticut

http://justicesofthepeace.blogspot.com

Kudos to civil marriage.

Posted by: cornetmustich | June 29, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

UH-UHH, you posted: "His quote was designed to highlight how public opinion has changed dramatically since 1993,"


That's exactly what I got from that quote, so I don't understand what you're mad about.

Posted by: lquarton | June 30, 2009 2:04 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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