Los Angeles, CA — Today, America lost a legendary civil rights pioneer. The staff and board of directors at the American Foundation for Equal Rights extend heartfelt condolences to the friends and family of LGBT rights pioneer Franklin E. Kameny, who died of natural causes in his home today at the age of 86.
His passing comes less than a month before the planned celebration of the 50th anniversary of Kameny’s founding of the Mattachine Society of Washington, the first gay rights organization in the nation’s capital.
President of AFER’s board of directors, Chad Griffin, released the following statement about Mr. Kameny and the long legacy of hope and optimism he leaves behind, “America has lost a hero today. Out and proud, Frank Kameny was fighting for equality long before the rest of us knew we could.”
“Because there was one Frank Kameny, trailblazing and honest enough to speak out 50 years ago, there are now millions of Americans, coming out, speaking out and fighting for their basic civil rights. His is a legacy of bravery and tremendous impact and will live on in the hearts and minds of every American who values equality and justice,” he added.
In the landmark ruling striking down Proposition 8, the U.S. District Court referenced the efforts of Frank Kameny and the Mattachine Society to chronicle the long and shameful history of state-enforced discrimination against gay and lesbian Americans. In particular, the Court cited the famous 1966 letter from the chairman of the U.S. Civil Service Commission rejecting the Mattachine Society’s request to rescind the policy banning “active homosexuals” from federal employment.
About the American Foundation for Equal Rights
The American Foundation for Equal Rights is the sole sponsor of the Perry case. After bringing together Theodore B. Olson and David Boies to lead its legal team, AFER successfully advanced the Perry case through federal district court and is now leading it through the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals before the case is brought to the United States Supreme Court. The Foundation is committed to achieving full federal marriage equality.