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Civil and worker rights leader Frank Kameny enters Labor Hall of Honor
Who: U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez, U.S. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, and U.S. Department of Defense Chief of Staff Eric Fanning
What: Secretary Perez inducted civil rights leader and worker rights equality pioneer Frank Kameny into the Department of Labor's Hall of Honor at a ceremony today at 3 p.m.
A World War II veteran and Harvard-educated doctor of astronomy with the U.S. Army Map Service, Kameny was discharged, and barred for life from federal government employment after U.S. Civil Service Commission investigators asked if he was a homosexual in 1958. Kameny fought the injustice, taking his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which denied his petition in 1961. The setback led him to become a co-founder of the first gay-rights organization in Washington, D.C., and begin his tireless fight to force the nation's largest employer — the federal government — to end discrimination in its employment practices based on sexual orientation.
"There's no question Frank was a strong personality, just a little bit opinionated and self-assured. But that's what made him an amazing activist. He would not lay down for injustice — because, he would say, "I was right and they were wrong." — excerpted from Secretary Perez's remarks.
Where: Frances Perkins Building, Washington, D.C.
Background: Established in 1988, the Hall of Honor posthumously honors the contributions made by extraordinary men and women throughout history for the betterment of work, workers and workplaces in America. Other luminaries previously inducted include Cesar Chavez, Samuel Gompers, Mother Jones, Frances Perkins, Charles Walgreen, Helen Keller, Walter Reuther and most recently, Senator Edward M. Kennedy.
Photo Caption: 23 June 2015 — Washington — DOL Pride Month Celebration included the Hall of Honor Induction of Frank Kameny to the Honor wall. U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez, U.S. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton and U.S. Department of Defense Chief of Staff Eric Fanning delivered remarks honoring Kameny and his life's accomplishments fighting for civil and workers' rights, particularly for those in the LGBT community. Paul Kuntzler, a friend and fellow LGBT advocate with Kameny, helps unveil the plaque.