The history of the LGBT movement in America 

Joaquin Tenedora-Forte
        On Friday June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States that said that the ban of gay marriage in America is unconstitutional. In a five to four decision the high court ruled in favor of James Obergefell sighting the fourteenth amendment; to the equal protection under the law. Today Let us reflect on the history of the wonderful and beautiful LGBT movement in the United States.

       In 1957, a 33 year old Frank Kemeny who was from fired as an astronomer because he was gay, he protest near the White House saying equal rights for homosexuals. (In the 1950’s it is illegal to be gay in America,) setting the tone for the modern Gay Rights movement. 

        In the 1960s there have been a rise of activism in the U.S. for black Americans. But in June 1969 there have been a raid at a bar in New York’s The unrest at the Stonewall inn happen this month 46 years ago, sends a signal to America that the gays are people too and you can’t do that to them.

         The 1970’s saw a lot of activism, gay activism, Specially in the San Francisco Bay Area. By 1977 a 40 year old openly gay man named Harvey Milk ran for office, and won. But by November of the next year Milk was assassinated by Dan White a former city supervisor. The out cry of the gay community in San Fransisco was vast, the anger they felt was huge. 


harvy milk

        In the 1980’s fueled by the death of Harvey Milk the activism continues for the LGBT community. But by the mid 1980’s there have been massive deaths in the community. It was cause by unprotected sex, it was AIDS. It meant that people are dying and vulnerable, partners, aren’t allowed by the families to be in their partners bedside during their dying hours. 

       By 1989 27 year old journalist and gay activists from England Andrew Sullivan argue for same sex marriage. He got laughs from the gay community, the idea is too new to the community. Sullivan is diagnosed with HIV two years later.

       A new administration came in 1993 the democratic president Bill Clinton gives a new hope, a new hope for LGBT Americans but aside from the medications for AIDS. President Clinton is hostile to the idea of Same Sex Marriage, and letting gay people to serve openly in the military, so he sign the Defense of Marriage Act the will not recognize gay marriages at the federal level. And the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell which prevents gay people from serving in the military openly.


      The new millennium came and just one state with civil unions, Vermont, in 1998 a men is arrested for sodomy, John Lawrence. Lawrence and his partner are making out, when a neighbor saw them, he called 9-1-1, the two guys were arrested accused of sodomy. In Texas sodomy is a crime so they put the two men in jail. But the two men fought. And in 2003 it reaches the Supreme Court in a 6-3 decision the court said that all sodomy laws are unconstitutional, basically reversing Boweers vs hardwick in 1986.

        Since sodomy is declared unconstitutional in 2003. The next year, in 2004 Massachusetts became the first state to have same sex marriage. That same year President Bush ran in anti gay campaign. Gay marriage is in the standstill. In 2009 gay marriage became legal in two different states Iowa and Vermont. (California is different because in 2008 they legalize but due to prop 8, it was stopped. the Supreme Court in 2013 decided it was unconstitutional.)      

Personal stories

            Edith and her partner Thea Spyre were married in Toronto Canada on 2007 on their fourteenth year together They were residents of New York so live there. but by 2009 Thea died. Because they are not married under the federal government, they are strangers. Edie needed to pay more than three hundred thousand dollars in estate taxes. So she fought for the right to marriage, it went to the federal court then the Supreme Court Which in 5 to 4 decision she won.

     James Obergefell and John Arthur were married in the airport of Maryland in 2013. John Arthur was diagnosed with ALS two years earlier, and died in their home state of Ohio. The problem becomes because Ohio don’t recognize gay marriages they can’t put Jim on John’s death certificate. Jim fought and it was a hard fight and in the 5-4 decision marriage was given in 50 states of the Union.
       50 years since Frank Kemeny was first fired from his job. 46 years since stonewall, 35 years since Harvey Milk ran for office. 27 years since AIDS first break out. 19 years since president Clinton sign DOMA. 12 years since Lawrence vs Texas. 11 years since Massachusetts. 5 years since Thea Spyre died. 2 years since DOMA was replied We are here. on June 26 2015 the Supreme Court said that love and liberty wins.





1 Comment

Filed under LGBT, Love wins, Marriage equality, The United States

One response to “The history of the LGBT movement in America 

  1. I am an advocate for marriage equality. 2 people of the same sex wanting to marry should not be seen as an issue worth arguing about.


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