Lavender Scare’ bill seeks to address midcentury purging of gay federal workers

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05/09/2019

Democratic lawmakers are trying to make amends for a dark period in U.S. history — when thousands of federal employees were fired or forced to resign between the late 1940s and 1960s because they were thought to be gay. 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. “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,” stated Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., one of the bill’s sponsors and the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relationships Committee. 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.”

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