Gay rights pioneer Frank Kameny was
honored Tuesday with a Capitol Hill memorial service, gay weekly the
Kameny, who died last month at the age
of 86 of natural causes in his Washington D.C. home, was fired by the
United States government because he was gay. The instance prompted
him to co-found the Mattachine Society of Washington, one of
America's earliest gay rights groups. He is also credited for
coining the phrase “Gay is good.”
The November 15 service coincided with
the 50th anniversary of Kameny's co-founding of the
Kameny was memorialized in the same
room where the House Un-American Activities Committee once targeted
gays in 1968.
“Frank broke the silence,” U.S.
Office of Personnel Management director John Berry told the crowd.
“We have lost one of the great champions of truth.”
Berry credited Kameny for paving the
path for him to become the highest ranking openly gay person in the
“His life cleared the path that I and
countless others followed into public service,” he said.
Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank, who is
openly gay, said Kameny had served as a role model for him.
Also attending the service were U.S.
Reps. Jared Polis of Colorado, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and David
Cicilline of Rhode Island.
“Frank didn't live to see our dream
of full equality for LGBT Americans,” said Balwin, who is openly
lesbian. “It is up to all of us to pick up the trail where he left