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Kameny On Your Kindle

Jim Burroway

March 23rd, 2011

…the government’s policies…are a stench in the nostrils of decent people, an offense against morality, an abandonment of reason, an affront to human dignity, an improper restraint upon proper freedom and liberty, a disgrace to any civilized society, and a violation of all that this nation stands for.

LGBT pioneer activist Frank Kameny fired off those words in a petition he filed with the Supreme Court. The petition was to appeal a lower court decision upholding Kameny’s firing from his job as an astronomer for the Army Map Service in 1957 because of his homosexuality. Gay people were prohibited from Federal employment due to a 1953 Executive order by President Eisenhower. The Supreme Court denied his petition to overturn that Executive Order fifty years ago this week.

Kameny’s historic petition has not been available, until now. To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s denial of that petition, Petition Denied, Revolution Begun: Frank Kameny Petitions the Supreme Court is now available as a Kindle ebook. Editor Charles Francis created the edition along with some background information.

Frank Kameny with an original picket from 1965

Kameny went on to co-found the Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C., which in 1963 launched a long campaign to overturn sodomy laws. He participated in the very first picket line in front of the White House on April 17, 1965. He was also an instrumental player in the fight to remove homosexuality from the American Psychological Association’s list of mental disorders. In 1971, he became the first openly gay candidate for the U.S. Congress when he ran for D.C’s non-voting Congressional delegate.

In 2009, the U.S. government officially repudiated Kameny’s firing when John Berry, the openly gay Director of the Office of Personnel Management, delivered a formal apology during a special OPM ceremony in his honor. Upon receiving the apology, Frank Kameny tearfully replied, “Apology accepted.”

Frank Kameny is 85 and is still active in Washington, D.C. His home was designated as a D.C. Historic Landmark by the District of Columbia’s Historic Preservation Review Board in honor of his activism. His papers are now in the Library of Congress, and a collection of original picket signs, a “Gay is Good” button (he invented the phrase), and other memorabilia are a part of the Smithsonian’s collection.

Comments

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Ben in Oakland
March 23rd, 2011 | LINK

that quote at the top.

I wish I had written it.

John Keasler
September 28th, 2011 | LINK

Thanks for sharing this bit of our history. Another great shame is that it is soon to be illegal to talk about courageous people like Frank in some classroom in this disjointed United States.

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