A federal judge today has ordered that the Justice Department release all of its documents from the 1950s that are related to the “gay purge.” The decades-long event saw men (and women) being unjustly fired as a result of Dwight Eisenhower’s Executive Order 10450 that gave agencies the power to fire workers who were deemed security risks—this included gay employees. The manhunt saw J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI firing thousands of gay and lesbian employees.
“We’re talking about tens of thousands of people over the years investigated and ruined by this executive order; lives were shattered,” Mattachine president Charles Francis said. “You were branded ‘immoral’ and ruined if you were labeled a homosexual in the 1950s … and these papers remain locked away in federal vaults, and it’s time now for the Department of Justice and the FBI to work with us and release all of it.”
This unjust discrimination against gay employees officially ended when Bill Clinton signed a 1998 order banning discrimination based on sexual orientation for federal workers.
Attorney Lisa Linsky, who has been working on the case, said, “It’s important to the preservation of LGBT American history. But it’s also important that our allies and other fellow citizens understand what the government did so we could do our best to avoid repeating history.”