Blog

Senator Cardin Urges Secretary Kerry to Forgive Employees Laid off During “Lavender Scare”

Last week, Senator Ben Cardin sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry urging him to apologize on behalf of the State Department to at least 1,000 State Department employees who were fired during the “Lavender Scare.

During the “Lavender Scare,” which took place in the 1950s and 1960s, federal and state governments investigated and fired thousands of employees who were suspected of being gay or lesbian, claiming that they were “security risks” who were vulnerable to Soviet blackmail.

“We’ve begun to make amends to LGBT men and women of our armed forces, who were similarly chased out of the military, and now it is time to show the same respect and right the wrongs that were leveled against our U.S. diplomats,” Cardin told the Washington Blade. “I have asked Secretary Kerry to formally start this process with an official apology from the Department of State and other appropriate steps.”

Senator Cardin, who is Ranking Member of the Foreign Relations Committee, received a 95 on HRC’s Congressional Scorecard.

“There is little we can do to undo the hurts and wrongs of the past,” Cardin explained in the letter. “But we can take steps to assure that the lessons of these episodes are learned and remembered, and in so doing make a contribution to assuring that such injustice will never transpire again.”

HRC thanks Cardin for his leadership and urges Secretary Kerry to offer an apology to the employees whose careers were ended by this discriminatory policy.