An apology issued by former Secretary
of State John Kerry to State Department employees who were
discriminated against or fired in the past because of their sexual
orientation has been removed from the agency's website.
Kerry issued the apology earlier this
“In the past – as far back as the
1940s, but continuing for decades – the Department of State was
among many public and private employers that discriminated against
employees and job applicants on the basis of perceived sexual
orientation, forcing some employees to resign or refusing to hire
certain applicants in the first place,” Kerry wrote. “These
actions were wrong then, just as they would be wrong today.”
“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,” he added.
Kerry's apology appeared to be a
reference to the “Lavender Scare,” a purging of gay men and
lesbians in the 1950s from the rolls of United States government.
Gays were said to be a security risk and communist sympathizers.
The page was removed from the website
on Monday along with information related to the agency's special
envoy for the human rights of LGBT people. Also no longer available
are previous statements on LGBT Pride.
A page devoted to LGBT issues was also
removed from the White House's website.
White House website takes down LGBT page.)
Chad Griffin, president of the Human
Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest LGBT rights advocate,
condemned the actions.
“With each passing hour, the Trump
administration continues to show the extent of their contempt for the
enormous progress made over the past eight years,” said
Griffin. “Secretary Kerry's apology to LGBTQ employees and
their families who were targeted, harassed, and fired set the right
tone for the State Department, even if it couldn't undo the damage
done decades ago.”
“It is outrageous that the new
administration would attempt to erase from the record this historic
apology for witch hunts that destroyed the lives of innocent
Americans. The apology, along with the other important LGBTQ content
that has been removed, should immediately be restored, and President
Trump should condemn such behavior at all departments and agencies,”