Charles W. “Charlie” Baker was fired in 1971 from his job at the National Bureau of Standards for being homosexual. The letter he received from the U.S. Civil Service Commission–sent to his parents’ house–was an outrage: “In view of the above described immoral, infamous, scandalous and notoriously disgraceful conduct, you are invited to show cause why you should not be disqualified from federal employment,” said the animus-drenched letter.
Baker’s personal counsel was Frank Kameny who helped him get his job back after three years of litigation and a ruling from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Judge June Green. Green ruled to reinstate Baker with back pay, but upheld the right of the Civil Service Commission to discriminate, investigate and fire homosexuals if their homosexuality was directly related to job performance. Green miserably failed the test of history and let the brutal discrimination continue for years to come. This month, Baker returned to Washington to meet with the new Mattachine Society of Washington and our pro bono legal counsel McDermott, Will & Emery. He has come full circle and intends to “show cause” why Congress must act now on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).