The LGBT movement has a lengthy history in America
The LGBT movement has a lengthy history in America, and it has changed America. LGBT individuals who have fought for their rights in the queer movement have gone through heart-wrenching degradation and abuse. Years of protests and hard work led the LGBT community to their ultimate goal, the legalization of gay marriage and equality. However, this all came with a price. A price that the LGBT community had to pay.
The LGBT movement has had a very long history in America. To start at the very beginning, in the year of 1924, The Society for Human Rights was founded by Henry Gerber in Chicago. It was the first documented gay rights organization in the United States. In 1950, another gay rights organization was formed, now by Harry Hay. They were called The Mattachine Society, and it focused on support for fellow LGBT individuals and social acceptance. They were also one of the first sustained gay rights groups in the United States. Two years later, and I quote, “The American Psychiatric Association's diagnostic manual lists homosexuality as a sociopathic personality disturbance.” The following year after that, in 1953, President Eisenhower had signed an executive order to ban homosexuals from working in the government, stating that they were a security risk. After many years of degradation of the gay community, in July 1961, Illinois had become the first state to decriminalize homosexuality by repealing their sodomy laws. Perhaps one of the most popular events of LGBT American history had happened on June 28th, 1969. On this day, police had raided the Stonewall Inn in New York City. Due to this event, there were spontaneous and violent demonstrations by members of the gay community, otherwise known as the Stonewall Riots. This was the start of the gay civil rights movement in America. On June 28th, 1970 LGBT community members in New York City marched through the local streets to recognize the first anniversary of the Stonewall riots. This event was named Christopher Street Liberation Day and is now considered the first gay pride parade. In 1973, and I quote, “Lambda Legal becomes the first legal organization established to fight for the equal rights of gays and lesbians. Lambda also becomes their first client after being denied non-profit status; the New York Supreme Court eventually rules that Lambda Legal can exist as a non-profit.” Overruling their 1952 decision, the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders in 1973. In 1974, Kathy Kozachenko became the first openly LGBT American elected to any public office when she won a seat on the Ann Arbor, Michigan City Council. The same year, Elaine Noble became the first openly gay candidate elected to a state office when she was elected to the Massachusetts State legislature. On January 9th, 1978 Harvey Milk was inaugurated as San Francisco city supervisor and was the first openly gay man to be elected to a political office in California. On October 14th, 1979 The first National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights took place. It drew around 75,000 to 125,000 individuals marching for LGBT rights. In November 1995, The Hate Crime Sentencing Enhancement Act had gone into effect as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. This law allows a judge to impose harsher sentences if there is sufficient evidence showing that a victim was selected because of race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexual orientation of any human being. After a few years of good things for the LGBT community, President Clinton had signed the Defense of Marriage Act, then banning federal recognition of same-sex marriage and defining marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife in September 1996. However, in the following years, good things started to come to the LGBT community. Many states began to decriminalize homosexuality, and the government was repealing all of the anti-LGBT laws it had passed over the course of many years. Perhaps the most important event in American LGBT history, gay marriage was legalized on June 26th, 2015. This struck down the ban on same-sex marriage in all 50 states. This was a landmark decision for us and the rest of the world. (Logs #1-3, Works Cited #6)
Gay marriage wasn’t always legal in the United States. First, there was the court issued orders of gay marriage. First up was Massachusetts. In 2003, Massachusetts became the first state to permit gay marriage after their highest court stated the state’s ban against gay marriage violated the constitutional rights of LGBT couples. The second was Connecticut. In 2008, the state’s Supreme Court had overturned a minor court and ruled that LGBT couples have a constitutional right to marry. Later on, the state began to issue marriage licenses to LGBT couples. Third, and last of the court orders was Iowa. A federal ruling by the Supreme Court in 2009 had legalized LGBT marriage. There weren’t only court orders that took action for gay marriage, and there was also legislative action taken. The first state to take legal action was Vermont in 2009. They had been the first state to allow civil unions for gay couples in 2000. The second was New Hampshire, who had approved gay marriage in 2009, two years after allowing same-sex couples to enter into civil unions. The third was as New York, which legalized gay marriage in 2011 after several years of difficulty. The fourth was Rhode Island, which in 2013, after the state legislature and the governor approved a gay marriage bill, legalized gay marriage. The fifth was Delaware who in 2013 approved same-sex marriage and the bill was signed into law by the governor. Last but certainly not least was Minnesota proposed a same-sex marriage legalization bill in 2013. (Log #4) (Works Cited #1)
The Supreme Court of the United States has faced many cases involving the topic of gay rights and gay marriage. To start all of this off, the landmark 1967 case of Loving v. Virginia, which struck down all bans on interracial marriage, was ruled upon. This led to more awareness of marriage issues. Later on, civil rights campaigns in support of same-sex marriage started in the 1970s. One of the first cases taken to the Supreme Court was Baker v. Nelson, in the year of 1971 and ending in 1971 as well. This case ruled that a state law permitting marriage to humans of the opposite sex did not violate the U.S. Constitution. The second case taken to the Supreme Court was Baehr v. Miike, in the year of 1990 and later ending in 1999. Since this case, the Supreme Court’s stance on gay rights has changed for the better. A second case taken to the supreme court was Goodridge v. Department of Public Health. It was argued and decided in the year 2003.This is a landmark Supreme Court case decided by the state of Massachusetts. This required the state to recognize same-sex marriage. This led to many states doing the same in the footsteps of Massachusetts. Another landmark supreme court case is Lawrence v. Texas. This was decided in 2003 as well. The supreme court had overruled a Texas sodomy law. This stated, and I quote, "The state cannot demean their [gays'] existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime," This means that the state can’t control what queer people do. One of the most influential, if not the most important, supreme court case is Obergefell v Hodges. This was decided in 2015. This was the case that allowed same-sex marriage in all states. This made the states provide marriage licenses to same-sex couples and must recognize marriages that were legally licensed and performed in other states. (Log #4) (Works Cited #3, 4, & 5)
Due to all of this, the LGBT movement has greatly impacted American culture. For example, the legalization of gay marriage has led many people to become more accepting of the LGBT community. This is so because, before this landmark decision, many LGBT Americans were closeted from their families. This means that they were hiding their identities from their families. After Americans realized that many of their own family, co-workers, and best friends are part of the queer community, there was more acceptance of the LGBT community. Even 50 years ago, being gay meant that you were degraded and treated without any respect. Gays were savagely beaten, kicked out of public places, arrested, fired, and even kicked out of families. Most of these aren’t happening today due to the great success of the LGBT community and what they’ve done.
As described above, the LGBT community has made many sacrifices to secure themselves and their voices shown. Year after year of degradation, year after year of abuse. In the end, it was all worth it.