After decades of discrimination against LGBTQ employees, the State Department and Secretary of State John Kerry are issuing a formal apology. In a letter released today and posted to Twitter by Huffington Post reporter Jennifer Bendery, Kerry acknowledged years of discrimination that went "as far back as the 1940s." According to the Washington Blade, Sen. Ben Cardin has been urging Kerry for some sort of action to apologize for the "Lavender Scare" of the 1950s, during which thousands of LGBTQ employees were fired or forced to resign from the federal workforce. In a November 29 letter to Kerry, Cardin noted that “at least 1,000 people were dismissed from” the State Department “for alleged homosexuality during the 1950s and well into the 1960s before the ‘scare’ ran its course.” The letter continues, explaining that LGBTQ employees were “were forced out...on the ostensible grounds that their sexual orientation rendered them vulnerable to blackmail, prone to getting caught in ‘honey traps,’ and made them security risks." "I know that you feel every bit as strongly as I do about the issue," Cardin wrote to Kerry. "You have an unimpeachable record of honorable service to this nation and the ideals and values for which it stands." Kerry's apology addressed the service and sacrifice that LGBTQ employees made and the struggles that they faced. "In the past…the Department of State was among many public and private employers that discriminated against employees and job applicants on the basis of perceived sexual orientation, forcing some employees to resign or refusing to hire certain applicants in the first place," the letter reads. "On behalf of the department, I apologize to those who were impacted by the practices of the past." This huge step comes just 11 days before Kerry is set to resign and be replaced by an administration that's not known for being nearly as accepting and progressive.