The Gay Rights Movement

Topics: Homosexuality, Same-sex marriage, LGBT Pages: 9 (3319 words) Published: December 8, 2009
Thesis Statement: The Gay Rights Movement dates back to the 19th century. By 1970 gay and lesbian organizations existed all over the United States and in other countries all over the world. Some supporters of the movement would say that our society as a whole has made great strides towards acceptance of homosexuality. However, gays and lesbians are still fighting for equality in 2009. The issues are vast and widespread, with same-sex marriage at the top of the list. In the world that we live in today one might be surprised to learn how many countries are accepting of gay and lesbians, as well as how many are not. The world has made progress within the last decade regarding this issue, but definitely not enough. We need to take steps to protect and balance Gay rights. The Untied States is a country that is more favorable towards gay men and lesbian women, but not completely. The Society for Human Rights in Chicago, Illinois was the first documented gay rights organization in the United States (“The American Gay Rights Movement”). This dates back to 1924. In 1951, The Mattachine Society was founded. This was the first national gay rights organization, founded by Harry Hay (“The American Gay Rights Movement”). Gays were pulled from military service during the 1950s and in 1953 gays were prohibited from Federal employment (“Milestones”). An FBI surveillance program followed, as homosexual acts were considered criminal. Additionally, the American Psychiatric Association listed homosexuality as a mental disorder until 1973 (“The American Gay Rights Movement”). The Stonewall Riots of 1969 was the most pivotal event in the Gay Rights Movement. Police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City. For the first time, the patrons fought back and initiated a riot that lasted three days (“Milestones”). Following this event, gays throughout the United States were liberated. Throughout the 1970s many other organizations were formed and homosexuality was decriminalized. Gays and lesbians were slowly becoming accepted members of our society. The term LGBT is now used widely when referencing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people (“Jones”). LGBT citizens struggle with different issues from those of centuries past. Hate crimes, employment non-discrimination, don’t ask don’t tell, and same-sex marriage are now at the forefront of the movement. The most recent census data available for same-sex partners was reported in 2003. Nationwide it was reported that there were 701,733 same-sex partner households. This number represented 0.6% of all coupled households (“Same-Sex Partners”). The split between male couples and female couples was almost equal. The city with the highest population in 2000 was San Francisco, followed by Seattle and Washington, D.C. The legislative ruling on same-sex marriage varies widely from state to state. The term “civil union” was adopted by the state of Vermont in 2000 shortly after they became the first state in our country to legally recognize same-sex marriages. There was great debate over the term “same-sex” marriage because the legal definition of a marriage is a union between a man and a woman. Therefore, same-sex couples in a civil union were granted the same civil rights and protections as heterosexual married couples. Those states that shared similar laws as Vermont were Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Hawaii, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York and Oregon (“What is a Civil Union?”). Following the debate over the term civil union, the states of Connecticut and Massachusetts argued that a civil union did not provide same-sex couples with the same rights as heterosexual couples (“The American Gay Rights Movement”). The Supreme Court of these two states ruled in favor of LBGT. Same-sex marriages became legal in Massachusetts in 2004 and legal in Connecticut in 2008. There are 32 states that have passed anti-gay...
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