A Brief History Of Gays In Government

1778 -- General George Washington approves the court martial of Lt. Gotthold Frederick Enslin for attempted sodomy.

1921 -- U.S. Senate Naval Affairs Committee issues "Report on Alleged Immoral Conditions and Practices at the Naval Training Station, Newport, RI" accusing officers under the command of Franklin D. Roosevelt, former assistant secretary of the US Navy, of ordering enlisted men to engage in 11 immoral practices" in order to entrap "perverts" in the military and obtain evidence against them. The report is also one of the first to document gay male cruising areas, including Riverside Drive in New York City.

1951 -- U.S. Senate Committee on Expenditures in the Executive Department issues report on "The Employment of Homosexuals and Other Sex Perverts in Government." State Department testimony reports that 91 gays have been outed and subsequently fired. Asks one senator: "Have they gone far enough? Newspaper accounts quote Senate testimony indicating there are 400 more in the State Department and 4,000 in Government. Where are they?"

1953 -- President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs Executive Order 10450, which requires that all federal employees determined to be guilty of "sexual perversion" are fired. Hundreds are fired.

1959 -- Political thriller Advise and Consent features fictional Utah Sen. Brigham Anderson driven to suicide when political enemies threaten to expose a gay affair from his youth.

1980 -- FBI charges anti-gay Congressman Bob Bauman, R-Maryland, with soliciting sex from a 16-year-old boy in a D.C., gay bar. He loses reelection, divorces, and becomes a gay rights activist.

1981 -- Capitol Police arrest anti-gay Congressman Jon Hinson, R-Mississippi, for having oral sex with a man in the bathroom of a federal office building. Hinson resigns, becomes a gay activist, and eventually died from AIDS.

1983 -- Congressman Gerry Studds, D-Mass, comes out of the closet. He is later censured by the House for having a gay affair with a congressional page in 1973, though he goes on to win reelection six times after that.

1987 -- After reporters disclosed the secret gay life nine-term Rep. Stewart McKinney, R-Conn., who had just died of AIDS. Congressman Barney Frank, D-Mass., outs himself to the Boston Globe.

1986 -- Complications from AIDS claim lives of two important Republican strategists, both of whom engaged in gay-baiting and both of whom were closeted gay men themselves: Terry Dolan, founder of the National Conservative Political Action Committee, and McCarthy aide Roy Cohn.

1991 -- The gay magazine The Advocate outs Pete Williams, Assistant Secretary of the Department of Defense, spokesman for the Pentagon. Then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney stands by Williams.

1994 -- On the floor of the House, firebrand Rep. Bob Dornan, R-Calif., outs Congressman Steve Gunderson, R-Wisc., during a debate over whether any school receiving federal funding could present homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle. Gunderson soon retires from public life.

1996 -- Congressman Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz., under the impression two gay publications were going to out him, holds a press conference in which he outs himself

2000 -- ABC's Cokie Roberts asks Lynne Cheney, wife of the GOP vice presidential nominee, about having a daughter, Mary, who has "declared she's openly gay." Even though Mary has been out for years and worked as gay and lesbian marketing director for Coors, her mother Lynne Cheney angrily responds, "Mary has never declared such a thing."

2004 -- New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey outs himself under threat of allegations that he made unwanted advances on former state director of homeland security/alleged boy-toy Golan Cipel.

October 2004 -- Asked in a presidential debate if homosexuality is a choice, Senator John Kerry, D-Mass., says "If you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was, she's being who she was born as." Republicans accuse Kerry of outing Mary. Cheney called himself "a pretty angry father" and Kerry "a man who will do and say anything to get elected." Lynne Cheney, his wife, said Kerry was "not a good man" and accused him of a "cheap and tawdry political trick."

2005 -- A new book, "The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln," raises hackles for claiming that President Abraham Lincoln was gay.