Attorney General Mukasey Reverses Anti-Gay Policy at Justice Dept


You may remember that five years ago former Attorney General John Ashcroft told the gay group ‘Department of Justice Pride‘ that it could not hold an official gay pride celebration because the department could not sponsor events without an official declaration form the President. “The group also was told it could not post notices of general meetings and events on department bulletin boards,” the Washington Post notes.

DojbadgeIt was a policy that Alberto Gonzalez kept in place during his years as Attorney General. Now, AG Michael Mukasey has reversed the policy:

“Mukasey informed leaders of DOJ Pride last week that the department would give it the same rights as all other DOJ employee organizations, said the group’s president, Chris Hook (above, left). In a statement, Mukasey said the department will ‘foster an environment in which diversity is valued, understood and sought” and maintain “an environment that’s free of discrimination.'”

Added Hook: “I do not know of any other employee-recognized groups that were denied access under these same conditions. [As a result of] what some would term a hostile environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees, the membership rolls have suffered. As you can imagine, it is difficult to let employees know of the group’s existence when they are not informed of it in official department literature, or only through word of mouth.”

Here’s how it went down: “After Mukasey took over the department late last year, the group wrote to him to complain about its treatment. Hook said Mukasey met with group leaders, signed the new policy that allowed bulletin board postings, and agreed to host the pride celebration in one of the department’s main halls. ‘He has gone out of his way to ensure that the department has a new air of inclusiveness and an open and welcoming environment for all employees,’ Hook said.”

Attorney General Reverses Curbs On Gay Group at Justice Department [washington post]


  1. tjc says

    While I’m very happy that this asinine policy was fixed, it’s still important to realize that celebrating this change is like galley slaves being happy that one of the whips broke so the masters will only use 8 of them rather than 9 for punishment.

    I’m not trying to put down this change (I’m waiting for the right-wingers to flip out), but it’s a disgrace that it was ever this way at all.

    And tell me again, gay Republicans: why?

  2. says

    It’s not quite like your slave analogy TJC because these employees have the choice to not work there or strike or complain to a higher up but I get what you mean.

    I think whenever all people are allowed to celebrate who they are where they work, it’s a good thing.

  3. crispy says

    How do you know the members of DOJ Pride are Republican? That was a dumb fucking comment.

    If you (and John T) had actually read the article, you would have learned that the DOJ’s gay group was active during the Clinton administration. Presumably, several of them continued to work for the DOJ after Clinton left office. Kudos to them for sticking through what was undoubtedly a tough time and trying to make change from the inside.

  4. Dave says

    Just because they work for the DOJ does not mean that they are Republicans.

    Most employees in the DOJ are not political appointees. They’re unionized people there to do a job that has nothing to do with politics.

  5. tjc says

    Okay, kids, can y’all step back a second here?

    My points were towards the ENTIRE DAMN GAY COMMUNITY, _NOT_ the DOJ employees. _WE_ — all of us — are celebrating the dinky incremental gains (as we should) but WE NEED TO RECOGNIZE THEM AS CRUMBS, NOT A SMALL LOAF.

    My comments on gay Republicans were not directed at DOJ people, they were directed at VOTERS. Gay, Republican, voters. Why? Why are there still gay Republican voters? I’m not talking conservative, small-government gays. I’m talking about the people who stick with a party that ACTIVELY tries to take away our common humanity.

    So, Crispy: bite me. (I had written something nicer but since you started the ad hominem attacks, screw you.)

    I’m well-aware of the DOJ’s and other federal agencies’ GLTB employee group efforts. Go ahead, ask me how. BECAUSE I WORKED FOR THE FEDS, and was invovled in various GLBT employee groups.

    So, my point still stands: this change at DOJ is microscopic in the grand scheme, but is a dramatic departure from the past for folks inside the DOJ. It is immensely important to them; may it portend better things to come.

    But since the future is ours to shape, start the shaping by NOT VOTING FOR REPUBLICANS.

  6. yoshi says


    Not all republicans are right wing nuts. And not all (I would say most) democrats are enlightened individuals. Incremental steps is the course for change. Besides by your measures – Hillary and Obama are out since neither of them support gay marriage.

    (caucusing for Obama in 4 hours)

  7. tjc says

    Yoshi: Did I say vote only for the ones who will give us everything at once?
    No. I said we need to fight for the loaf, not merely accept the crumbs.

    And I also said, clearly, that REPUBLICANS — not conservatives per se — are members of a party that has planks in its platform to deprive us of basic civil rights.

    We got Civil Unions by asking for marriage. There were many among us who said ask for civil unions. If we had, we might have gotten domestic partnerships. To make incremental progress, we need to ask for the whole loaf, then when offered half, carefully consider it. The problem is, we haven’t been asking for the whole loaf, we’ve been asking for a slice, and we’re being offered crumbs.

  8. Michael Bedwell says

    Item 1: Hooray for him but seven years too late for all those trapped under the Bush Reich.

    Item 2: One would mention that President Clinton signed an executive order banning discrimination in federal agencies based on sexual orientation in 1998 but then the Obamamaniacs and freelance Clinton Haters would accuse me of making it up because Bill Clinton is the AntiChrist. Wait, Hillary is the AntiChrist. No, wait, Hillary is Bill in a pants suit and the AntiChrist!

    By the way: anyone heard what Donnie McClurkin will be singing at Obama’s Inauguration?