Democratic lawmakers have introduced a bill to make amends for a gay purge of the U.S. State Department that took place from the late ’40s to the ’60s.
NBC News reports: ‘The reintroduced Lavender Offense Victim Exoneration Act, or LOVE Act, aims to redress the harms done during the so-called Lavender Scare. At least 1,000 people were purged from the State Department alone. … If passed, the legislation would have the State Department “review all employee terminations that occurred after January 1, 1950, to determine who was wrongfully terminated owing to their sexual orientation, whether real or perceived.” The bill contains several provisions to address the wrongful termination of employees perceived to be gay. It calls on Congress to issue a formal apology to these employees, and it establishes a reconciliation board that would contact them or their families and correct their employment records to reflect the board’s findings, if desired.’
The bill would also create a permanent museum exhibit about the travesty in the U.S. Diplomacy Center and order a review of countries that don’t provide visas to same-sex spouses of Foreign Service personnel.
Said Senator Bob Menendez, a co-sponsor of the bill: “It is long past time for the U.S. government to recognize the stories of the LGBTI members of the State Department who were treated unfairly during the ‘Lavender Scare’, and to offer them and their families a measure of justice. Our nation is at its best when we live up to our values and highest aspirations. With this legislation, Secretary Pompeo and every Member of the Trump administration can make certain that our LGBTI diplomats and development professionals are fully respected as full members of the State Department family.”
The bill is cosponsored by Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chris Van Hollen(D-Md.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.).
The Lavender Scare is a documentary produced and directed by Josh Howard about the purge. Produced in 2011, it is being rereleased and will open theatrically on Friday, June 7th in New York (Cinema Village) and Los Angeles (Laemmle Music Hall), with a national release to follow timed to the 50th Anniversary of Stonewall.