John Kerry

Kerry apologizes for State Department 'lavender scare'

Kerry apologizes for State Department 'lavender scare'

Secretary of State John Kerry apologized on Monday to hundreds of federal employees who were fired decades ago for their perceived sexual orientation in what came to be known as the lavender scare.

"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 in a statement.

"On behalf of the department, I apologize to those who were impacted by the practices of the past and reaffirm...

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