ATF Hosts Its First 'Gay Pride' Observance

By Susan Jones | June 22, 2011 | 11:37 AM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), under fire for allowing U.S.-purchased guns to flow to Mexican criminals, celebrated its first gay pride event on Wednesday.

The celebration at ATF’s Washington headquarters was intended to recognize the “accomplishments and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans to ATF and the nation, and to promote awareness of the LGBT culture,” ATF said in a news release.

"ATF works to ensure sexual orientation discrimination and prejudice are not tolerated in our workplace," said Acting Director Kenneth Melson. "ATF is an equal employment opportunity environment where effective and equitable participation is encouraged.”

The keynote speaker, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), spoke about his experiences serving as an openly gay congressman.

ATF says it has created an LGBT affinity group called "ATF Pride" with the primary goal of ensuring equal employment opportunity and enhancing development opportunities for LGBT employees at the agency.