Homosexual activists are fuming over President Bush’s refusal to declare June “Gay Pride Month.”
Nevertheless, without official support, several groups of federal workers are still planning activities.
Leonard Hirsch, president of Federal GLOBE ? the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Federal Employee’s organization ? told the Washington Blade, a homosexual weekly, that events are scheduled at the departments of Transportation, State, Interior and the USDA, while other agencies have said they will not sanction events without White House approval.
“We have continued to be boxed in a Catch-22 because agencies are saying that they can’t provide support or statements unless the White House puts forth a proclamation,” he said. “And of course the White House has not.”
During the Clinton administration, the annual day was supported with taxpayer dollars and government facilities.
Allison Nichol, president of the Department of Justice Gay Pride group, said she is “not at all confident” that her request for the department to sponsor a Pride event would be approved. Nichol said that last year, the FBI scheduled a Pride event but Attorney General John Ashcroft canceled it.
“Given what’s happened in the last two years, one can hope that the attorney general recognizes that it is his job to represent the equal rights of all citizens,” Hirsch said. “I was sanguine that they would make a different determination this year, and I look forward to being surprised.”
Last year, Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., who strongly criticized Ashcroft and the Department of Justice’s decision not to allow its employees to celebrate Gay Pride Month, scheduled an alternative celebration for federal employees at the Capitol.
Nichol said she was in discussion with officials to provide an alternative setting for her events and hinted that her group is considering legal action against the Justice Department.
Prior to 2003, taxpayers paid for overhead expenses, including use of the Great Hall, set-up and breakdown of microphones and added security costs because the event is held after hours.
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