In November 1964, just four months after President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the historic Civil Rights Act, a Johnson administration official asked one what the policy was when it came to firing a gay staffer.
The memo that came in response said that because of the "revulsion which homosexuality inspires in the normal person," it was common practice to "'lean over backwards' to rule against a homosexual."
The policy in that memo would be one adhered to for the next decade. And only today, thanks to the work of Charles Francis of the Mattachine Society of Washington, are memos like that one making it into the public eye.
By using public-records requests to round up hundreds of documents, Francis has put together a comprehensive picture of institutionalized anti-gay policies across the federal government.