U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has issued an apology on behalf of the State Department for the agency's past discrimination against gay and lesbian employees.
In a statement Monday, Kerry said "In the past — as far back as the 1940s, but continuing for decades — the Department of State was among many public and private employers that discriminated against employees and job applicants on the basis of perceived sexual orientation."
He said some employees were forced to resign because of the discrimination while other applicants were never hired. Kerry said the actions were "wrong then," and "wrong today."
He said the State Department has a "steadfast commitment to diversity and inclusion for all our employees, including members of the LGBTI community."
Kerry said that for the past several years, the department has pressed for families of gay and lesbian officers to have the same protections overseas as families of other officers. He mentioned that in 2015, he appointed the first-ever Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons to further promote gay rights throughout the world.