During Pride Month, Baldwin and Kaine Lead Senate Resolution Apologizing for Government Discrimination Against LGBT Community
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin and Tim Kaine led the introduction of a Senate resolution that acknowledges and apologizes for the mistreatment of and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals who have served our nation as civil servants or members of the Armed Forces and Foreign Service. The resolution also reaffirms the federal government’s commitment to treat all military service members, veterans, foreign service employees, federal civil service employees, and contractors with equal respect and fairness, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
“This Senate resolution takes a stand on the side of respect for LGBT Americans who have served our nation, and reaffirms our commitment to treat all public servants with fairness and equality, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Senator Baldwin. “As we celebrate Pride Month, I take great pride in being a part of this effort to move our country forward as we join together with a shared commitment to the idea that with each passing day, and each passing year, America should become more equal, not less.”
“Throughout our history, far too many people serving our nation have lived in fear of retribution or persecution because of their sexual orientation,” said Senator Kaine, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) and Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC). “It’s time to acknowledge the harm caused to these Americans, their families, and our country by depriving them of the right to serve as federal civil servants, diplomats, or in the Armed Services. I’m proud to introduce this Senate resolution during Pride Month to reaffirm our nation’s commitment to treat everyone, including LGBT Americans, with equal respect and fairness. I will continue working toward advancing equality for all LGBT people in Virginia and across our nation.”
Despite hundreds of thousands of LGBT service members having honorably served the United States in uniform, with many fighting and dying in wars around the globe, the federal government maintained decades-long policies explicitly barring these Americans from government and military service. For example, in 1949, the Department of Defense decreed that “homosexual personnel, irrespective of sex, should not be permitted to serve in any branch of the Armed Forces in any capacity and prompt separation of known homosexuals from the Armed Forces is mandatory.” Historians have estimated that at least 100,000 service members were forced out of the Armed Forces between World War II and 2011 simply for being LGBT, while countless others were forced to hide their identities and live in fear while serving. In addition, more than 1,000 State Department employees were dismissed due to their alleged sexual orientation, and many more were prevented from joining due to discriminatory hiring practices. In 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued an executive order defining “perversion” as a national security threat and mandating that every civilian employee and contractor pass a security clearance, which known LGBT people would fail because of so-called “perversion.”
Further, the Senate conducted hearings during the 1950s that defamed LGBT federal employees and heightened persecution of these patriotic public servants.
The resolution is also co-sponsored by Senators Ed Markey (D-MA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Bob Casey (D-PA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD).
The full resolution can be viewed here.
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