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The Gay Rights Movement: The Journey
Transcript of The Gay Rights Movement: The Journey
The Journey 1924 The Society for Human Rights is founded by Henry Gerber in Chicago. The society is the first gay rights organization as well as the oldest documented in America 1948 Alfred Kinsey publishes Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, revealing to the public that homosexuality is far more widespread than was commonly believed. 1950 The Mattachine Society, the first national gay rights organization, is formed by Harry Hay, considered by many to be the founder of the gay rights movement. 1950 A Senate report titled "Employment of Homosexuals and Other Sex Perverts in Government". The report states since homosexuality is a mental illness, homosexuals "constitute security risks" to the nation because "those who engage in overt acts of perversion lack the emotional stability of normal persons." 1952 The American Psychiatric Association lists homosexuality as a sociopathic personality disturbance in its first publication of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 1953 Pesident Dwight Eisenhower signs Executive Order 10450, banning homosexuals from working for the federal government or any of its private contractors. The Order lists homosexuals as security risks, along with alcoholics and neurotics. 1955 The first lesbian-rights organization in the United States, the Daughters of Bilitis, was established in San Francisco 1956 American psychologist Evelyn Hooker shares her paper "The Adjustment of the Male Overt Homosexual" at the American Psychological Association Convention in Chicago. After administering psychological tests, such as the Rorschach, to groups of homosexual and heterosexual males, Hooker's research concludes homosexuality is not a clinical entity and that heterosexuals and homosexuals do not differ significantly. Henry Gerber Alfred Kinsey Harry Hay Dwight Eisenhower Evelyn Hooker 1958 In the landmark case One, Inc. v. Olesen, the United States Supreme Court rules in favor of the First Amendment rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) magazine "One: The Homosexual Magazine." The suit was filed after the U.S. Postal Service and FBI declared the magazine obscene material, and it marks the first time the United States Supreme Court rules in favor of homosexuals. 1962 Illinois becomes the first state in the U.S. to decriminalize homosexual acts between consenting adults in private. 1965 At Independence Hall in Philadelphia, picketers begin staging the first Reminder Day to call public attention to the lack of civil rights for LGBT people. The gatherings will continue annually for five years. 1966 The world's first the transgender organization, the National Transsexual Counseling Unit, was established in San Francisco. 1966 Members of the Mattachine Society stage a "sip-in" at the Julius Bar in Greenwich Village, where the New York Liquor Authority prohibits serving gay patrons in bars on the basis that homosexuals are "disorderly." Society president Dick Leitsch and other members announce their homosexuality and are immediately refused service.
Following the sip-in, the Mattachine Society will sue the New York Liquor Authority. Although no laws are overturned, the New York City Commission on Human Rights declares that homosexuals have the right to be served. 1969 Patrons of the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village riot when police officers attempt to raid the popular gay bar around 1am. Since its establishment in 1967, the bar had been frequently raided by police officers trying to clean up the neighborhood of "sexual deviants." 1970 Christopher St. Liberation Day commemorates the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Following the event, thousands of members of the LGBT community march through New York into Central Park, in what will be considered America's first gay pride parade.
In the coming decades, the annual gay pride parade will spread to dozens of countries around the world. 1973 The American Psychiatric Association removes homosexuality from its official list of mental disorders. 1974 Kathy Kozachenko becomes the first openly gay American elected to public office when she wins a seat on the Ann Arbor, Michigan City Council. Kathy Kozachenko 1977 Singer and conservative Southern Baptist Anita Bryant leads a successful campaign with the "Save Our Children" Crusade to repeal a gay rights ordinance in Dade County, Florida. Bryant faces severe backlash from gay rights supporters across the U.S. The gay rights ordinance will not be reinstated in Dade County until December 1, 1998, more than 20 years later. 1977 Harvey Milk wins a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and is responsible for introducing a gay rights ordinance protecting gays and lesbians from being fired from their jobs. Milk also leads a successful campaign against Proposition 6, an initiative forbidding homosexual teachers. 1978 On November 27, Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone are assassinated by Dan White, another San Francisco city supervisor, who had recently resigned and wanted his job back, but was being passed over because he wasn't the best fit for the liberal leaning Board of Supervisors and the ethnic diversity in White's district. 1979 About 75,000 people participated in the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Washington, D.C., in October. It was the largest political gathering in support of LGBT rights to date. Harvey Milk 1980 At the 1980 Democratic National Convention held at New York City's Madison Square Garden, Democrats took a stance supporting gay rights, adding the following to their plank: "All groups must be protected from discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, language, age, sex or sexual orientation." 1981 The New York Times prints the first story of a rare pneumonia and skin cancer found in 41 gay men in New York and California. The CDC initially refers to the disease as GRID, Gay Related Immune Deficiency Disorder.
When the symptoms are found outside the gay community, Bruce Voeller, biologist and founder of the National Gay Task Force, successfully lobbies to change the name of the disease to AIDS. 1982 Wisconsin becomes the first state to outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. 1984 The city of Berkeley, California, becomes the first city to offer its employees domestic-partnership benefits. 1987 AIDS advocacy group ACT UP (The AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) is formed in response to the devastating affects the disease has had on the gay and lesbian community in New York. The group holds demonstrations against pharmaceutical companies profiteering from AIDS-related drugs as well as the lack of AIDS policies protecting patients from outrageous prescription prices. 1987 Hundreds of thousands of activists take part in the National March on Washington to demand that President Ronald Reagan address the AIDS crisis.
Although AIDS had been reported first in 1981, it is not until the end of his presidency that Reagan speaks publicly about the epidemic. 1988 The CDC mails a brochure, Understanding AIDS, to every household in the U.S. Approximately 107 million brochures are mailed. 1988 The World Health Organization organizes the first World AIDS Day to raise awareness of the spreading pandemic. Aids Quilt 1990 President George Bush signs the Ryan White Care Act, a federally funded program for people living with AIDS. Ryan White, an Indiana teenager, contracted AIDS in 1984 through a tainted hemophilia treatment. After being barred from attending school because of his HIV-positive status, Ryan White becomes a well-known activist for AIDS research and anti-discrimination. Ryan White 1991 Created by the New York-based Visual AIDS, the red ribbon is adopted as a symbol of awareness and compassion for those living with HIV/AIDS. 1993 The “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” policy is instituted for the U.S. military, permitting gays to serve in the military but banning homosexual activity. President Clinton's original intention to revoke the prohibition against gays in the military was met with stiff opposition; this compromise, which has led to the discharge of thousands of men and women in the armed forces, was the result. 1996 In Romer v. Evans, the Supreme Court strikes down Colorado's Amendment 2, which denied gays and lesbians protections against discrimination, calling them “special rights.” According to Justice Anthony Kennedy, “We find nothing special in the protections Amendment 2 withholds. These protections . . . constitute ordinary civil life in a free society.” 1996 President Clinton signs the Defense of Marriage Act into law. The law defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman and that no state is required to recognize a same-sex marriage from out of state. 1998 Coretta Scott King, widow of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., calls on the civil rights community to join the struggle against homophobia. She receives criticism from members of the black civil rights movement for comparing civil rights to gay rights. Coretta Scott King 2000 Vermont becomes the first state in the U.S. to legalize civil unions and registered partnerships between same-sex couples. 2003 In Lawrence v. Texas the U.S. Supreme Court rules that sodomy laws in the U.S. are unconstitutional. 2004 Massachusetts becomes the first state to legalize gay marriage. The court finds the prohibition of gay marriage unconstitutional because it denies dignity and equality of all individuals. 2005 Civil unions become legal in Connecticut in October. 2006 Civil unions become legal in New Jersey in December. 2007 In November, the House of Representatives approves a bill ensuring equal rights in the workplace for gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals. 2008 In February, a New York State appeals court unanimously votes that valid same-sex marriages performed in other states must be recognized by employers in New York, granting same-sex couples the same rights as other couples. In February, the state of Oregon passes a law that allows same-sex couples to register as domestic partners allowing them some spousal rights of married couples. On May 15, the California Supreme Court rules that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. By November 3rd, more than 18,000 same-sex couples have married. On November 4, California voters approved a ban on same-sex marriage called Proposition 8. November 4, voters in California, Arizona, and Florida approved the passage of measures that ban same-sex marriage. Arkansas passed a measure intended to bar gay men and lesbians from adopting children. On October 10, the Supreme Court of Connecticut rules that same-sex couples have the right to marry. This makes Connecticut the second state to legalize civil marriage for same-sex couples. 2009 On April 3, the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously rejects the state law banning same-sex marriage. Twenty-one days later, county recorders are required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
On April 7, the Vermont Legislature votes to override Gov. Jim Douglas's veto of a bill allowing gays and lesbians to marry, legalizing same-sex marriage. It is the first state to legalize gay marriage through the legislature; the courts of the other states in which the marriage is legal—Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Iowa—gave approval.
On May 6, the governor of Maine legalized same-sex marriage in that state in Maine; however, citizens voted to overturn that law when they went to the polls in November, and Maine became the 31st state to ban the practice.
On June 3, New Hampshire governor John Lynch signs legislation allowing same-sex marriage. The law stipulates that religious organizations and their employees will not be required to participate in the ceremonies. New Hampshire is the sixth state in the nation to allow same-sex marriage.
On June 17, President Obama signs a referendum allowing the same-sex partners of federal employees to receive benefits. They will not be allowed full health coverage, however. This is Obama's first major initiative in his campaign promise to improve gay rights. On August 12, President Obama posthumously awards Harvey Milk the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Matthew Shepard Act is passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama on October 28th. The measure expands the 1969 U.S. Federal Hate Crime Law to include crimes motivated by a victim's actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. Matthew Shepard 2010 The U.S. Senate votes 65-31 to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the U.S. Military.
March 3, Congress approves a law signed in December 2009 that legalizes same-sex marriage in the District of Columbia.
A federal judge in San Francisco decides that gays and lesbians have the constitutional right to marry and that Prop 8 is unconstitutional. Lawyers will challenge the finding. DADT Repeal 2011 New York State passes the Marriage Equity Act, becoming the largest state thus far to legalize gay marriage. 2012 February 7, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California ruled 2–1 that Proposition 8, the 2008 referendum that banned same-sex marriage in state, is unconstitutional because it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. In the ruling, the court said, the law "operates with no apparent purpose but to impose on gays and lesbians, through the public law, a majority's private disapproval of them and their relationships."
February 13, Washington state became the seventh state to legalize gay marriage.
March 1, Maryland passes legislation to legalize gay marriage, becoming the eighth state to do so.
May 9, President Barack Obama endorses same-sex marriage. "It is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married," he said. He made the statement days after Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan both came out in support of gay marriage.
Nov. 6, Tammy Baldwin, a seven-term Democratic congresswoman from Wisconsin, prevailed over former governor Tommy Thompson in the race for U.S. Senate and became the first openly gay politician elected to the Senate. Also on election day, gay marriage was approved in a popular vote for the first time. Maine and Maryland voted in favor of allowing same-sex marriage. In addition, voters in Minnesota rejected a measure to ban same-sex marriage. Tammy Baldwin 2013 Obama Inauguration 2013 It's been a very long road and many strides have been made to make us all equal and hopefully there will be much more to add to this timeline as time continues. Stonewall Inn