Congress clutches gay rights pioneer Dr. Franklin E. Kameny to its bosom one last time today, hosting a memorial service for the tireless anti-discrimination advocate in the Cannon Caucus Room (345) at 4:30 p.m.
Kameny, who passed away early last month, challenged the military, the psychiatric community and, ultimately, the Supreme Court as part of his lifelong battle to broaden understanding of homosexuality and cement the rights of all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation.
“Never forget that we are American citizens, with all that is implied by those two words, as well as homosexuals, whatever you think is implied by that word. ... We throw down the gauntlet, clearly, unequivocally and unambiguously,” he decreed during a showdown with the Department of Defense.
Democratic Reps. Barney Frank (Mass.) and Tammy Baldwin (Wis.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) are expected to say a few words, as is Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry — who formally apologized to Kameny two years ago for being fired from the Army Map Service for being a “sexual pervert” in 1957.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.