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Secretary of State apologizes for LGBT discrimination

The United States has a long and proud history of civil rights progress. The advances have come despite determined efforts to hold back historically disadvantaged communities.

Secretary of State John Kerry recently apologized to the LGBT community for historical discrimination against gay employees that began in the 1940s and was taken to extremes in the 1950s in efforts to appease Wisconsin Sen. Joe McCarthy.

Sen. Ben Cardin said discrimination against gay State employees was "un-American and unacceptable."

NPR notes that the purging of homosexual staffers was known as the Lavender Scare. Author Eric Berkowitz said that when McCarthy began claiming to have a list of State Department employees who were communists, the department began firing more and more gay employees.

The department claimed at the time that it was ridding itself of "perverts" who purportedly posed "security risks."

The moves were bolstered in 1953 when President Eisenhower banned gay men and lesbians from working for the federal government. Unsurprisingly, careers and lives were destroyed in the process.

Today, of course, Wisconsin has strong protections in place to protect LGBT workers.

Wisconsin was the very first state to ban workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. We drew a clear line in the sand, telling employers that they could not discriminate against employees in matters of hiring, discharge, compensation or the terms, conditions and privileges of employment.

Anyone experiencing unfair and unlawful workplace discrimination can speak with a skilled, experienced Milwaukee employment law attorney dedicated to protecting your rights and your career.

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