Timeline: Key dates in the American gay rights movement
06/26/2013 11:33:40 AM PDT
06/26/2013 12:19:09 PM PDT
1951 -- Harry Hay founds the country's first national gay rights organization, the Mattachine Society, in Los Angeles in November. 1955 -- In September, the Daughters of Bilitis, the first lesbian-rights organization in the U.S., is established in San Francisco. 1966 -- The National Transsexual Counseling Unit, the first transgender organization, is established in San Francisco in August. 1969 -- Patrons of the Stonewall Inn in New York City's Greenwich Village, a popular gay bar targeted by police, clash with officers in the street, resulting in a three-day riot dubbed the Stonewall riots that gained national attention. 1977 -- After two unsuccessful runs for San Francisco supervisor, Harvey Milk is elected, becoming the first openly gay elected official in the city's history. In November 1978, Milk and Mayor George Moscone are assassinated by recently resigned Supervisor Dan White. 1984 -- Berkeley becomes the first city to offer its employees domestic-partnership benefits. The city extends the policy in 1991 to provide the general public the opportunity to register as domestic partners. 1993 -- President Bill Clinton signs into law the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) policy, directing the U.S. military services to "don't ask, don't tell, don't pursue, and don't harass." The policy didn't change the long-standing statutory ban on homosexuals in the military. 2000 -- Vermont becomes the first state to adopt civil unions between gay and lesbian couples. In 2009, Vermont become the first state to allow same-sex marriage through legislative action rather than a court ruling. 2004 -- San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom orders the city clerk to begin issuing marriage license to same-sex couples. Thousand wed at City Hall in the following days. 2008 -- Voters in California, Arizona, and Florida approve measures banning same-sex marriage. 2010 -- President Barack Obama signs legislation repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy for U.S. military services. The policy officially ended in 2011. 2012 -- A 2-1 decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco rules Prop. 8, the 2008 referendum banning same-sex marriage in California, is unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. 2013 -- On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court issues ruling that the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, paving the way for same-sex couples to marry in California. The court also found that backers of Proposition 8 did not have the legal right to defend the voter-approved gay marriage ban in place of the governor and attorney general, who have refused to appeal a federal judge's 2010 ruling finding the law unconstitutional.