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The Daily Agenda for Wednesday, September 28

Jim Burroway

September 28th, 2011

TODAY’S AGENDA (OURS):
AIDS Walks This Weekend: Amherst, NS; Chicago, IL; Tulsa, OK and Wilmington, DE.

Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Ashland, OR; Ashville, NC; Cumbria, UK; Ft. Worth, TX; Johannesburg, SA and Moab, UT.

Also This Weekend: Gay Days at Disneyland, Anaheim, CA; and Out On Film, Atlanta, GA.

TODAY’S AGENDA (THEIRS):
American Association of Christian Counselors World Conference: Nashville, TN. The AACC 2011 World Conference promises “a landmark event that honors Christ and represents the best in counseling and spiritual care for living in today’s world.” Most of the conference touches on rather ordinary topics of interest to religious-based counselors and pastors — grief and crisis counseling, abuse and violence, relationships and marital therapy, things of that nature. One track in particular, of course, deals with “sex and healthy sexuality,” with Mark Yarhouse a featured facilitator. Yarhouse, with Stanton Jones, have conducted a long-range study on the effectiveness of ex-gay therapy, and recent findings have not been very encouraging for ex-gay practitioners. People can change their behavior, but almost nobody changes their attractions. Which puts Yarhouse and others in a quandary, caught between honesty and advocacy. Also slated to speak is Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, whose outfit has been implicated in the abduction of Isabella Miller-Jenkins and whose law school at Liberty University teaches students to urge their future clients to violate the law whenever it suits their religious agenda. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee will give a plenary address. The conference begins today and continues through Saturday.

TODAY IN HISTORY:
US Civil Service Refuses To Meet With Washington Mattachine Society: 1962. Frank Kameny and Jack Nicholes founded the Washington, D.C. chapter of the Mattachine Society in 1961, soon after Kameny’s appeal of his 1957 firing by the U.S. Army’s Map Service was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court. The federal government’s ban on employment of gays and lesbians was firmly in place, but Kameny didn’t let a small thing like the Supreme Court stop him from demanding the lifting of the ban. In 1962, the Mattachine Society requested a meeting with the U.S. Civil Service Commission to discuss the federal employment ban, but in a letter dated September 28, 1962, they were turned down cold:

UNITED STATES· CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION

Washington 25, D.C.

Sep 28 1962

Mr. Bruce Schuyler, Secretary
The Mattachine Society of Washington
P. O. Box 1032
Washington 1, D.C.

Dear Mr. Schuyler:

Your letter of August 28, 1962 and attachments relating to the purposes of the Mattachine Society of Washington have been read with interest. It is the established policy of the civil Service commission that homosexuals are not suitable for appointment to or retention in positions in the Federal service. There would be no useful purpose served in meeting with representatives of your Society.

Sincerely yours,

(signed)

John W. Macy, Jr.
Chairman

Lifting the ban would remain one of the highest priorities of the Mattachine Society for the next thirteen years. Campaigning for the ban’s elimination would lead to the first ever gay rights pickets in front of the White House, the Pentagon and the Civil Service Commission in 1965, and would finally end with the ban’s lifting in 1975. In 2009, Frank Kameny received a formal apology from the openly gay director of the Office of Personnel Management, the modern-day successor to the Civil Service Commission.

If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).

And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?

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