Labor Department to honor gay rights leader

Labor Department to honor gay rights leader
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The Labor Department will induct one of the founding fathers of the gay rights movement into the agency’s Hall of Honor on Tuesday.

The late Frank Kameny co-founded one of the earliest gay rights organizations in Washington, D.C., after he was fired from his job as an astronomer at the Army Map Service and barred from federal government employment by the U.S. Civil Service Commission in 1958 for being gay.

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The World War II veteran and Harvard-educated doctor of astronomy tried to fight the decision by suing the federal government, but the Supreme Court ultimately declined to hear his appeal in 1961, according to the Labor Department.

With a friend, Kameny formed the Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C., and fought to force the nation's largest employer — the federal government — to end discrimination based on sexual orientation in its employment practices.

Kameny died in 2011 at age 86.

On Tuesday, his name will join the names of other men and women in the agency’s Hall of Honor who pushed for better workplaces in America. The list includes Cesar Chavez, Samuel Gompers, Mary Harris "Mother" Jones, Frances Perkins, Charles Walgreen, Helen Keller and Walter Reuther.