President Obama intends to name John Berry — who was tapped to serve as director of the Smithsonian National Zoological Park back in 2005 — to be the next head of the Office of Personnel Management, and not everyone is happy about it.
Professional anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera is miffed because … you guessed it … Berry is gay:
Homosexual activist groups are predicting that if nominated and confirmed, Berry would work to expand benefits for same-sex couples — something he did while he worked in the Interior Department.
Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, says Berry has been flouting the spirit if not the letter of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which bars spousal recognition for same-sex couples.
“First of all, looking at Mr. Berry’s track record, it’s obvious that he’s a homosexual activist within the federal government, doing a lot of things within a Republican administration that most people never were aware of,” he contends. “So, what we have is sort of a subversive — if you could call it that — homosexual activist, and now he’s going to have an even much more visible and powerful role at OPM, which is a very powerful job in Washington. And it just shows what’s going to happen under the Obama administration.”
And what was it that Berry did during his time at Interior that has LaBarbera so terrified?:
[Berry served as assistant secretary for policy, management and budget at the Interior Department during the Clinton administration and his accomplishments include] overseeing the creation of a grievance procedure for employees who experience discrimination because of their sexual orientation; expanding relocation benefits and counseling services to the domestic partners of Interior employees; establishing a liaison to gay and lesbian employees; and eliminating discriminatory provisions of the National Park Service’s law enforcement standards, including bans on security clearances for gay and lesbian employees.
Berry’s efforts touched on contracting as well. Under his watch, the Interior Office of Small and Disadvantaged Businesses began outreach to gay and lesbian-owned firms and chambers of commerce.
OPM’s potential nominee also helped lead efforts culminating in the addition of the Stonewall Inn in New York City — the site of riots that helped spark the American gay rights movement — to the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.
In recognition of those efforts, the Department of the Interior Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual Employees Association presented Berry with its New Millennium Human Rights Award in 2001 and named the prize after him.
Working to end discrimination against gay employees and implement policies aimed at equality? Boy, that certainly does sound “subversive.”