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 month.

“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.

(Relate: Trump's 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,” he added.