John Kerry Apologizes For State Department Discrimination Against LGBT Employees

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Jonah Bennett Contributor

Secretary of State John Kerry issued a formal apology to past LGBT employees, who were discriminated against by the Department of State in the 1940s and subsequent decades, Monday morning.

Kerry began his unprecedented apology with a note about himself, and how, during his time as secretary of state he backed the LGBT community because America’s understanding of human rights demands that respect be extended to all individuals.

But, according to Kerry, the department wasn’t always so friendly to LGBT individuals.

“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 said. “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.

While at the State Department, Kerry appointed the first envoy for LGBT issues, Randy W. Berry. The goal of the appointment was to push LGBT rights around the world.

For the Obama administration, increasing diversity and inclusion, as well as boosting the number of minorities — sexual or otherwise — in the federal government has been a major priority.

Not only have Obama administration officials argued that diversity and inclusion flow from an understanding of human rights, but in the Department of Defense and in other agencies, officials have made the case that diversity bolsters national security.

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