Click on the dates below to for information on the LGBTQ community throughout history.
1636: In the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the Rev. John Cotton proposes the death penalty for 16
crimes, including sodomy, which he calls "unnatural filthiness" and defines as "carnal fellowship
of man with man, or woman with woman." Though Cotton's code is not accepted, Massachusetts
adopts a sodomy law five years later.
1786: Pennsylvania becomes the first of the 13 American states to drop the death penalty for
sodomy. The new sentence is ten years in prison and the forfeiture of all property. Other states
eventually follow Pennsylvania's example, though convicted sodomites could be sentenced to
death in South Carolina until 1873.
1828: The British Parliament updates its laws to make "buggery" easier to prove. Before this law,
a prosecutor had to prove that both anal penetration and ejaculation had occurred to secure a
buggery conviction. The new Offenses Against the Person Act finds penetration to be proof
enough. Buggery remains a capital crime until 1861.
1836: Swiss hatrnaker and interior designer Heinrich Hossli (1784-1864) publishes a two volume
work to defend sex between males as it was practiced in ancient Greece. Hossli's is the
first European voice to defend same-sex love.
1850-1900: Psychiatrists begin to use classifications that include lists of sexual aberrations.
Sexual inversion figures prominently in these lists after Karl Westphal coins the term in 1869.
Medicalization is greeted with mixed feelings by men who call themselves urnings, inverts and
homosexuals. Many are glad to be regarded as merely sick instead of desperately depraved, but
others insist that they feel neither sick nor sinful.
1864: German jurist Karl Ulrichs (1825-1895) is the first modern European to openly
acknowledge his own man-loving nature and to defend it in print. He publishes Vindex, the first
of twelve pamphlets, to defend "urnings," men who seek other men as sexual partners. His
courage in coming to the public defense of urnings is unique and even his most devoted fans are
afraid to openly support him.
1869: The writer Karl Maria Kerbeny coins the word "homosexual" as part of a broader system
for the classification of sexual types.
1897: Magnus Hirschfeld, a German physician, sex researcher and homosexual, founds the
mostly homosexual Scientific Humanitarian Committee whose books and publications oppose the
oppression of men and women he calls "sexual intermediates." In 1919, his reputation as one of
sexology's founding fathers is secured when he opens the world's first sexological institute, the
Institute for Sexual Science in Berlin.
1905: In his Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality, Sigmund Freud invents the idea of
sexuality as a process independent of an individual's sex. He rejects earlier ideas and argues that
the direction the sexual drive takes has no necessary relationship to inherited sexual
characteristics. Freud does not condemn homosexuals or other "perverts" and he is skeptical that
homosexuality can be cured. However, by the 1950s, American psychoanalysts universally agree
that homosexuality is a mental illness and use their considerable influence to support the
mistreatment of gay and lesbian people.
1929: New York publisher Covici-Friede is convicted of obscenity for publishing Radclyffe
Hall's lesbian novel, The well of Loneliness. The conviction is later appealed and overturned.
1936: First ACLU case regarding LGBT rights. Defense of “The Children’s Hour” by Lillian
Hellman against censorship for lesbian content.
1942: The U.S. military issues its first official prohibition against homosexuals in the armed
forces. Because the country is in the middle of World War 11, the policy is not stringently
enforced until after the war.
1942: Jim Kepner begins collecting gay-themed books that will become the basis of the
International Gay and Lesbian Archives. A pioneer in gay historical scholarship, Kepner
becomes a major figure in the fledgling Mattachine Society and One Inc. during the 1950s.
1947: Vice Versa, believed to be the first lesbian periodical in the United States, is founded in
Los Angeles by Edith Eyde under the pseudonym Lisa Ben.
1948: Alfred Kinsey’s best selling Sexual Behavior in the Human Male is published, bring into
American the data-backed yet previously unheard-of-assertion that 37% of American males have
had at lease one gay sexual experience to the point of orgasm. Five years later Kinsey publishes a
report on women, which puts the comparable figure at 13%.
1950: Communist Harry Hay and others in Los Angeles founded the Mattachine Society,
dedicated to service and welfare for Lesbians and gay men. In 1953 the group, fearing
McCarthy-era persecution, begins to dismantle its leadership and end its call to fight police
entrapment, opting instead for a more cautious, non-confrontational approach. Both incarnations
of Mattachine inspire various local chapters around the country, some of which steer toward more
militant measures by the early 1960s.
1951: From Los Angeles, Bob Mizer distributes Physique Pictorial, the first muscle magazine
targeted towards gay men. In the next two decades, the magazine and Mizer’s company, Athletic
Model Guild, inspire dozes of imitators.
1952: After the New York Post breaks the story of Christine Jorgensen, the “ex-G.I.” – turned-
“Blonde Beauty”-as the Post calls her-becomes a household name.
1952: The U.S. Congress enacts a law banning lesbian and gay foreigners from entering the
country. The legislation remains on the books until its repeal in 1990.
1952: George Jorgensen, a former sergeant in the U.S. Army, undergoes his now-famous sexchange
operation in Denmark, becoming Christine Jorgensen.
1953: President Eisenhower signs Executive Order 10450, making "sexual perversion" grounds
for exclusion from federal employment.
1953: The Kinsey Institute publishes its second historic study on human sexuality, Sexual
Behavior in the Human Female. Its findings include: 28 percent of women surveyed respond
erotically to other women; 13 percent have had at least one adult lesbian sexual experience; and
between two and six percent identify their sexual orientation as exclusively lesbian between the
ages of 20 and 35.
1953: With a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health, psychologist Evelyn Hooker
studies gay men’s psychological adjustment. Her research finds no psychological difference
between heterosexual and homosexual men, making a critical dent in the classification of
homosexuality as a “mental disorder.”
1953: In Los Angeles the homophile group One Inc. begins publishing One, an influential early
gay periodical. After the postmaster refuses to accept a 1954 edition, declaring it “obscene,” the
group appeals. After several losses, it wins a big victory in 1958 when the U.S. Supreme Court
overturns the previous rulings without comment. From that point on, homophile magazines are
spared censorship by postal or other authorities.
1955: Del Martin and her partner, Phyllis Lyon, with six other women, form the Daughters of
Bilitis, the first national lesbian group in the U.S. Martin and Lyon continue in a range of
organizations and write the classic Lesbian/Woman (1972).
1955: The Daughters of Bilitis, the first lesbian organization in the United States, is founded in
San Francisco by Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon. In 1960, the group holds the first national lesbian
conference in San Francisco.
1956: James Baldwin, publishes Giovanni’s Room, which, along with Gore Vidal’s 1948 book
The City and the Pillar, is one of the first mainstream novels to explore gay themes openly.
1957: Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl,” a poem about gay male sex and Beat Generation men, gains
national attention when local police confiscate copies of Howl and Other Poems from San
Francisco’s City Lights Bookstore and arrest owner and respected poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti on
obscenity charges, which are later thrown out. The victory against censorship helps pave the way
for gay and lesbian literary freedom and telegraphs the popularity of San Francisco as a gay
1961: Latino female impersonator Jose Sarria runs for the San Francisco board of supervisors.
He loses, but he is the first known openly gay person to run for public office. Sarria goes on to
form the Imperial Court, a drag system that has spread around the United States.
1961: Illinois becomes the first state to abolish its laws against consensual homosexual sex.
1963: Bayard Rustin helps Martin Luther King Jr. organize the march on Washing. The openly
gay Rustin is one of the first leaders to call for a comprehensive movement for civil rights that
includes gay rights.
1963: John Rechy publishes his semiautobiographical novel City of Night, detailing the sexual
underground of Los Angeles. The book leads to a new openness about gay sexuality in literature.
1964: Two magazine begins publication and continues publishing until 1966. It is the first gay
magazine in Canada.
1964: The Association for Social Knowledge (ASK), the oldest known homophile organization in
Canada, is formed in Vancouver.
1964: In what many consider the first-ever public U.S. gay and lesbian rights demonstration,
activists from the New York League for Sexual Freedom picket the Whitehall Induction Center to
protest antigay military policies
1965: When San Francisco police attempt to intimidate 600 guests attending a New Year’s ball,
heterosexuals connected with the sponsoring group, Council on Religion and the Homosexual,
witness police harassment against gays and lesbians firsthand. Appalled by the bogus arrest of
three lawyers and a straight female volunteer, the group fights back holding a press conference
condemning police harassment. At the trial, the judge orders the jury to find the defendants not
guilty, marking a turning point in the legal rights of gay people.
1965: One of the first gay rights rallies held at Independence Hall in Philadelphia to demand
changes in policies that listed homosexuality as an illness and national security threat.
1966: The SIR Center (Society for Individual Rights) opens in San Francisco, the first gay
community center in North America.
1967: Dick Michaels, Bill Rand, and Same Winston found The Advocate in Los Angeles. At
first an offshoot of a newsletter, the magazine goes national within three years.
1967: In New York, Craig Rodwell opens the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookstore, the first gay
bookstore in the country.
1968: Former Pentecostal minister, Troy Perry, an openly gay man, founds the Metropolitan
Community Church in Los Angeles. MCC goes on to become one of the largest and best-funded
lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender organizations in the world.
1968: At Johns Hopkins University, Dr. John Money performs the first complete male-to- female
sex-change operation in the U.S.
1969: In late June, when plainclothed police raid the Stonewall Inn in New York's Greenwich
Village, they met violent resistance from gay patrons of the bar and people on the street,
including transvestites, butch lesbians and gay teenagers. The weekend of riots is now viewed as
the start of the modern gay liberation movement.
1969: The Gay Liberation Front forms in New York City and Los Angeles in the wake of the
watershed Stonewall Inn riots. On both coasts it is a free-form collective that aligns itself with
the leftist movements of the time.
1969: Judy Grahn starts a mimeograph press in Oakland that becomes the Women’s Press
Collective. A participant in early gay rights protests, Grahn emerges as a key lesbian theorist
with the publication 10 years later of Another Mother Tongue: Gay Words, Gay Worlds.
1969: Time magazine’s "The Homosexual in America" becomes the first cover story on gay
rights in a national magazine.
1969: Amendments to the Canadian criminal code take effect, legalizing private sexual acts
between consenting adults over the age of twenty-one.
1970: The first legislative hearings on gay rights in the U.S. are convened in New York City by
three New York State Assembly members.
1970: Marty Robinson, Arthur Evans, Jim Owles, and others form the Gay Activists Alliance in
New York City. With a goal of pushing for a nondiscrimination bill, the group takes the radical
step of zapping liberal politicians.
1970: New York congressional hopeful Bella Abzug becomes one of the first politicians to court
the gay vote when she speaks at the Manhattan Gay Activists Alliance meeting. (In San
Francisco, Dianne Feinstein makes a similar move.) Once elected, Abzug becomes a major
proponent of gay rights in Washington.
1970: At the Second Congress to Unite Women held in New York City, lesbians wearing
“Lavender Menance” T-shirts store the stage and demand that the convention deal with
antilesbian bigotry in the women’s movement.
1970: First challenge to policy on gays in the military (Schlegel v. U.S.).
1971: Merle Miller publishes an article in The New York times Magazine titled “What it Means
to Be a Homosexual.” A prominent journalist and later biographer of presidents Truman and
Lyndon Johnson, Miller becomes one of the first major public figures to come out, and he suffers
1971: The American Library Association begins awarding an annual Gay Book Award. The first
goes to Isabel Miller for her novel Patience and Sarah.
1972: A U.S. district judge rules that the Civil Service Commission cannot discriminate against
gay employees unless it can prove that being gay would interfere with their jobs.
1972: John Water’s Pink Flamingo debuts, introducing a queer edge to U.S. cinema that includes
drag queen Diving.
1972: Michigan cities lead the way with municipal ordinances outlawing discrimination based on
sexual orientation, as East Lansing passes the first law against employment discrimination and
then, just months later, Ann Arbor passes the first comprehensive non-discrimination ordinance.
1972: First challenge to law restricting marriage to persons of the opposite sex (Baker v. Nelson).
1973: The American Psychiatric Association removes homosexuality from its official list of
1973: The American Bar Association passes a resolution recommending the repeal of all state
1973: Barbara Grier and her partner, Donna McBride, along with Anyda Marchant and Muriel
Crawford, form Naiad Press to publish lesbian literature.
1973: Rita Mae Brown’s Rubyfruit Jungle is published by a small feminist press, but Bantam
buys the rights to publish the paperback version, which becomes a best-seller.
1973: Two major national organizations are founded: Lambda Legal Defense Fund and the
National Gay (now National Gay and Lesbian) Task Force.
1973: Jill Johnston writes the groundbreaking book Lesbian Nation.
1974: HR-14752, a bill to prohibit antigay discrimination across the nation - the first of its kind in
U.S. history-is introduced into the House of Representatives by Bella Abzug and Edward Koch.
The bill seeks to add protections for gays to the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
1974: In Milton, Ontario, fundamentalist minister Ken Campbell, outraged by members of a local
gay group addressing his daughter's high school class, forms the Halton Renaissance Committee,
the forerunner of Renaissance Canada, which becomes one of the strongest organizations
opposing gay rights in Canada.
1974: Elaine Noble, elected to the Massachusetts state legislature, becomes the first openly gay
elected official in the U.S.
1974: Kathy Kozachenko becomes the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in the
United States when she takes a seat on the Ann Arbor, Michigan city council. The same year,
Elaine Bobles is elected to the Massachusetts state legislature, making her the nation’s first
elected openly gay or lesbian state official. A month later, Allan Spear, a Minnesota state senator
elected two years earlier, comes out.
1974: A Washington D.C.-based women’s collective with no experience in music production
founds Olivia Records, which becomes the most successful lesbian-feminist recording label ever.
1975: Santa Cruz County, California, becomes the first U.S. county to ban antigay discrimination.
1975: Setting the stage for later struggles over gays in the military, Leonard Matlovich sues the
Air Force for discharging him because he is gay. The Army also begins to pursue discharge
proceedings against openly gay sergeant Perry Watkins. Five years later, a federal judge orders
the Air Force to reinstate Matlovich. The Air Force offers the former sergeant a $160,000
settlement instead, which Matlovich accepts. Watkins eventually wins his battle as well.
1975: David Kopay comes out in the Washington Star newspaper. The former NFL running back
becomes the first pro team sports athlete to come out.
1975: Randy Burns, Barbara Cameron, and 10 others form Gay American Indians, the first group
of its kind.
1976: Independent scholar and activist Jonathan Ned Katz produces Gay American History, a
groundbreaking collection of archival materials tracing the history of same-sex love.
1976: Lesbians flock to the first annual Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival. In the years to
follow, numerous other womyn’s music festivals flourish. In the early 1990s, the inclusionary
spirit of the Michigan festival is tested by a ban on male-to-female transsexuals, in response to
which transgender activists establish Camp Trans outside the gates.
1977: Harvey Milk is elected to the San Francisco board of supervisors, becoming its first openly
gay member and symboblizing the growing political clout of gays. A year later he is assassinated
by former supervisor Don White.
1977: Toronto police raid the offices of The Body Politic, Canada's leading gay newspaper,
seizing records, manuscripts and subscription lists. The newspaper is charged with using the mail
service to distribute "indecent" material. After a long and costly legal battle, the paper is
acquitted, but its financial problems force it to cease publication in 1987.
1977: The Cornbahee River Collective, an African-American lesbian feminist group, publishes
"A Black Feminist Statement," a historic manifesto that puts forth a political analysis recognizing
the interconnectedness of oppressions based on identity.
1977: In San Francisco, the Gay Film Festival of Super-8 Films becomes what is likely the
world’s first gay and lesbian film festival, attracting more than 300 spectators to its free program.
1977: Michael Dennen;y serves as a founding editor of Christopher Street, a gay literary
magazine. The first openly gay book editor in New York City, Denneny loses his job at
Macmillan as a result and moves to St. Martin’s, where he publishes a range of gay authors
whose book are rejected elsewhere.
1977: Challenge to university’s refusal to recognize lesbian/gay student group (Mississippi Gay
Alliance v. Mississippi State University).
1978: Gilbert Baker creates the now-ubiquitous rainbow flag.
1979: The first national March on Washington for Gay and Lesbian Civil Rights draws over
1979: Fundamentalist minister Jerry Falwell founds the Moral Majority in Lynchburg, Virginia.
The organization lists as its goals opposition to abortion, feminism, pornography, communism
and gay rights.
1979: Sylvester, the gender-bending disco diva and former member of the genderfuck troupe the
Cockettes, has a hit record with “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real).”
1979: The first gathering of the Radical Faeries, a New Age group of same-gender-loving men
committed to naturalism, spectacle, and resistance to the exclusionary masculinity of “clone”
culture, convenes at a Labor Day Spiritual Conference.
1979: Boston Asian Gay Men and Lesbians publish the “BAGMAL Newsletter.” Both the group
and periodical are believed to be firsts for lesbian and gay Asian Pacific Islanders.
1980: With financial backing from Republican Dalls Coors and Advocate publisher David
Goodstein, among others, Steve Endean, Jim Foster, and Larry Bye help launch the Human
Rights Campaign Fund (now the Human Rights Campaign).
1980: Mel Boozer, an African-American gay man, becomes the first openly gay person to have
his name placed in nomination as a candidate at the Democratic National Convention. As a vice
presidential nominee, he addresses the convention.
1980: The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence is formed in San Francisco. With its combination of
street theater and political statement, the group raises awareness of gay and AIDS issues and
sometimes the hackles of observers.
1980: New York high court strikes down sodomy law (People v. Onofre).
1981: The U.S. Department of Defense revises its policy on lesbians and gays in the military. The
new policy bars gay people from serving in the military and requires that questions about sexual
orientation be asked of all recruits.
1981: Eighty men gather at New York writer Larry Kramer’s apartment to discuss the mysterious
new “gay cancer” that would become known as AIDS. The event is the seedling of the Gay
Men’s Health Crisis.
1981: Adele Starr founds Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (now Parents, Family, and
Friends of Lesbian and Gays).
1981: Latina lesbians Gloria Anzaldua and Cherrie Moraga edit the groundbreaking women of
color anthology This Bridge Called My Back, which critiques white and straight exclusivity in
mainstream feminism—and the exclusion of women of color in lesbian feminism.
1981: Vito Russo publishes The Celluloid Close, a history of gay themes in film. Thorough and
accessible, the book is widely read and powerfully influences the way gays view themselves in
movies and the way movies gays.
1981: Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song Trilogy debuts; it eventually runs for more than 1,000
performances on Broadway.
1981: A new Kinsey Institute study reports that neither parental nor societal influences have
much effect on a person's sexual orientation.
1981: The first clinically reported cases of AIDS are identified.
1981: Keith Haring begins sketching his artwork on unused ad boards in New York City subway
stations. Within a few years, he is heralded as one of the leading young artists of his time.
Before his death from AIDS in 1990, he becomes an AIDS activist, contributing artwork to fund
ACT UP’s mission.
1982: The first Gay Games are held in San Francisco under the watchful eyes of organizer Tom
Waddell, a physician and former Olympic athlete.
1982: Wisconsin becomes the first state to enact statewide gay rights legislation.
1982: Poet Audre Lorde publishes her autobiography, Zemi: A New Spelling of My Name, in
which she describes her emerging sense of herself as an African-American lesbian.
1983: Alison Bechdel’s “Dykes to Watch Out For” comic strip first appears in the feminist
1984: Virginia Uribe begins Project 10, a program to support gay and lesbian students, in a Los
Angeles high school. The project becomes a prototype for other programs around the country.
1984: Susie Bright starts On Our Backs, an innovative lesbian erotic magazine.
1984: Berkeley, California, becomes the first city in the U.S. to extend domestic partner benefits
to lesbian and gay city employees.
1984: U.S. Supreme Court strikes down Oklahoma law targeting teachers who support gay rights
(NGLTF v. Oklahoma).
1985: Martin Delaney co-founds Project Inform, a San Franciso-based group dedicated to
speeding development of HIV drugs.
1985: At a candlelight vigil, San Francisco activist Cleve Jones envisions a quilt honoring those
lost to AIDS. He launches the Names Project two years later.
1985: Responding to sensationalized coverage of gay people and AIDS, several gay authors and
journalists, including Vito Russo, Arnie Kantrowitz, and Darrell Yates Rist, form the Gay and
Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
1986: The U.S. Justice Department ends its policy of asking prospective federal prosecutors if
they are gay.
1986: U.S. Supreme Court upholds Georgia sodomy law (Bowers v. Hardwick).
1987: Delta Airlines apologizes for arguing in plane crash litigation that it should pay less in
compensation for the life of a gay passenger than for a heterosexual one because he rnight have
1987: The second national March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights draws
approximately a half million participants.
1987: Larry Kramer and several hundred other activists found the AIDS Coalition to Unleash
Power (ACT UP), an organization that transforms the ways in which lesbian and gay protest
occurs and leaves an incredible mark on the epidemic by radicalizing activism.
1987: Randy Shilts publishes And the Band Played On, a damning account of the political apathy
that attended the start of the AIDS epidemic.
1987: Gay activist Cleve Jones conceives the idea for a memorial to celebrate the lives of people
who have died as a result of AIDS. The NAMES Project Memorial AIDS Quilt is displayed for
the first time in Washington, D.C., in October 1987, covering a space larger than two football
1987: Court requires Catholic university to recognize gay student group (Gay Rights Coalition v.
1987: U.S. Supreme Court rules disability discrimination laws apply to people with contagious
diseases, including AIDS (School Board v. Arline).
1988: Citizens of Oregon repeal a ban on antigay job discrimination, paving the way for the
antigay initiatives in Oregon in the early 1990s.
1988: Jean O’Leary, executive director of the National Gay Rights Advocates, and Robert
Eichberg, a psychologist and acitivist, launch the first National Coming Out Day on October 11.
1988: Federal courts rule that federal law protects people with AIDS from discrimination (Chalk
v. District Court; Doe v. Centinella Hospital).
1989: In New York, Gabriel Rotello cofounds the magazine Outweek, with Sarah Pettit as arts
editor and Michelangelo Signorile as columnist. The magazine ignites a national debate about the
merits of outing closeted gay public figures.
1990: Philip Morris-particularly its products, Miller Beer and Marlboro cigarettes' becomes the
object of a national gay boycott, to protest the company's alleged funding of the campaign of
virulently antigay Senator Jesse Helms.
1990: Marlon Riggs shows Tongues Untied, a documentary about being gay and black in the
1990: CIA agrees to stop discriminating against gay employees (Dubbs v. CIA).
1991: The Minnesota Court of Appeals awards guardianship of Sharon Kowalski, a lesbian
severely injured in a car crash, to her lover Karen Thompson, over the objections of Kowalski's
1991: The first Black Lesbian Gay Pride event is held Washington, D.C.
1991: Tennis great Martina Navratilova comes out. She becomes a spokeswoman for gay rights.
1992: The first U.S. governor to do so, William Weld of Massachusetts signs an executive order
granting lesbian and gay state workers the same bereavement and family leave rights as
1992: Canada lifts its ban on lesbians and gays in the military.
1992: Singer k.d. lang comes out in a cover story in The Advocate. Her openness encourages a
number of other entertainers to come out during the 1990s.
1992: Along with many other Oregon activists, Donna Red Wing reinvigorates localized
grassroots activism and successfully beats back a ballot measure that would ban
nondiscrimination protections for gay people.
1992: Kentucky Supreme Court strikes down sodomy law (Commonwealth v. Wasson).
1992: New York courts allow adoption by gay partner (Adoption of Evan).
1992: Drawing ACT UP’s and Queer Nation’s direct-action tactics, the Lesbian Avengers hold its
first meeting in New York.
1993: For the first time in a Canadian province, the Ontario Human Rights Commission rules
that a lesbian, ]an Waterman, was fired from her job because of her sexual orientation. She
receives $27,000 in compensation from National Life Assurance and two of its employees.
1993: Jamie Nabozny drops out of school in Ashland, Wisconsin, after suffering years of mental
and physical abuse at the hands of classmates because he is gay. Because administrators refused
to help him after he complained, Nabozny sues the district. In 1996, the district agrees to pay him
$900,000 in damages after a federal judge finds that school officials “intentionally discriminated”
against Nabozny because of his sexual orientation.
1993: The Hawaii Supreme Court rules that prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying may
violate the Hawaii Constitution's ban on sex discrimination and can only be upheld if prohibition
is justified by a compelling reason.
1993: After a bitter debate in which Senator Jesse Helms calls her a "damned lesbian," Roberta
Achtenberg is approved by the Senate as Assistant Housing Secretary, becoming the highestranking
out lesbian in the U.S. government.
1994: Pedro Zamora appears as a cast member on MTV’s The Real World. HIV-positive since
age 17, Zamora raises national awareness of AIDS and gay issues.
1994: A bill that would prohibit andgay employment discrimination is introduced into the United
States House of Representatives.
1994: The Virginia Court of Appeals overturns a lower court ruling that stripped lesbian Sharon
Bottoms of custody of her two-year-old son on the basis of sexual orientation.
1994: The American Medical Association finally adopts a statement removing all references to
sexual orientation-related disorders' from its official policy, which had been used for years to
justify therapies for treating homosexuality. In handing down its new decision, the AMA
acknowledges that antigay health care professionals need to work on changing their attitude
instead of their clients' sexual orientation.
1994: After ghost-writing for right-wing Christian leaders such as Pat Robertson, Billy Graham,
and Jerry Falwell, Mel White comes out publicly as gay through his published memoir, Stranger
at the Gate.
1996: The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down Amendment 2, Colorado's anti-gay amendment that
forbid passage or enforcement of gay-rights laws in Colorado. The Court sees the amendment as
unconstitutional because it violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution and,
unfairly singles out an unpopular group of citizens from political participation The Amendment
had passed in 1992 with 53.4 percent of the vote.
1996: In an unprecedented victory, Hawaii Circuit Court Judge Chang orders the state to permit
same-sex couples to marry, but the health department does not issue the licenses. The next day
Judge Chang stays the order, pending appeal.
1996: Lawyers Dan Foley and Evan Wolfson win a landmark decision when a Hawaii court rules
that gay couples can be married. The case, which becomes moot when Hawaii voters pass a
constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage, ignites a new round of questions about the
legitimacy of the state’s sanctioning authority in regard to relationships.
1996: Following the brutal murder of trans-man Brandon Teena, transgender activist Riki Anne
Wilchins and her organization, GengerPAC, organize the first National Gender Lobby Days.
1996: Congress passes, and President Clinton signs, the Defense of Marriage Act.
1997: ABC-TV sitcom character Ellen Morgan acknowledges that she is a lesbian, becoming the
first gay lead character on a prime-tirne show. Ellen DeGeneres, the actress who portrayed
Morgan, had come out as a lesbian a month earlier.
1997: Jon and Michael Galluccio, a gay couple from New Jersey, lead a class-action lawsuit
challenging the state's policy of precluding gays from adopting jointly. That December, the state
agrees to allow gay couples and unmarried heterosexual couples to joinfly adopt, making New
Jersey the first state in the nation to determine that sexual orientation is not relevant to parenting
1997: Federal court strikes down state law again lesbian and gay student groups (GLBA v.
1997: New Jersey becomes first state to expressly authorize joint adoption by gay couples
(Galluccio v. New Jersey).
1997: U.S. Supreme Court strikes down law restricting gay materials on the internet (ACLU v.
1998: In what is labeled a hate crime, 21-year-old University of Wyoming gay student Matthew
Shepard is murdered by two young men, both of whom are charged with first-degree murder and
may receive the death penalty.
1998: Tommy Baldwin becomes the first nonincumbent openly gay or lesbian candidate to win
election to Congress.
1998: In a United Methodist Church trial, the Rev. Jimmy Creech fights charges that he violated
church doctrine by marrying a gay couple. Despite his victory, Creech loses his job as pastor of
an Omaha church.
1998: Steven Cozza, a 13-year-old scout seeking his Eagle Scout service credentials, decided to
get 100,000 people to sign a petition opposing the Boy Scouts of America’s exclusion of gay
scouts and scoutmasters. By 2001, Cozza’s organization, Scouting for All, has captured
1998: Before the Hawaii Supreme Court can issue final ruling, voters amend the state constitution
to allow the state Legislature to restrict marriage to men and women only. The Hawaii couples’
lawsuit comes to an end.
1998: Hawaii opponents of same-sex marriage spend millions to get a "yes" vote on a proposed
constitutional amendment and to call a constitutional convention. Christian extremist groups lead
the way, with major support from the Mormon and Catholic churches. A broad-based coalition
forms Protect Our Constitution to oppose constitutional change. The coalition includes many
labor unions, the Japanese American Citizens League and the Hawaii League of Women Voters.
Per voter the Hawaii general election is the most expensive campaign ever fought in the U.S. On
November 3rd, voters of Hawaii approve the constitutional amendment (the vote was 70% to
30%) that gives the legislature the power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples.
1998: The Alaska Superior Court declares that denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples is
unconstitutional. The state later ratifies a constitutional amendment to counter the ruling.
1999: Romaine Patterson finds a profound and poignant answer to the antigay protests of the Rev.
Fred Phelps. During the Matthew Shepard murder trial in Laramie, Wyoming, Patterson and a
dozen other activists dress in angel costumes created by Patterson and then circle and silence
Dec. 20, 1999: The Vermont Supreme Court rules that same-sex couples are entitled to the same
rights as heterosexual married couples. The decision is suspended until the Legislature can
consider and enact legislation consistent with the constitutional mandate.
1999: Maryland court strikes down sodomy law (Williams v. Glendenning).
1999: Nevada becomes the 11th state to pass a gay employment rights law.
1999: Challenge to dismissal of high-level state transgender employee is successfully settled (Doe
2000: Both houses of the Vermont legislature pass a "civil union bill" that extends all the rights
and benefits of state law to same-sex couples. The civil-union status confers on parties to a civil
union the same state law protections and responsibilities as are available to spouses in a marriage.
2000: The U.S. Supreme Court rules that Boy Scouts of America is exempt from state laws that
bar anti-gay discrimination. In the case, 6oy.5couts of America v. James Dale, the Court
considered whether the Scouting organization has a First Amendment right to defy a New Jersey
state law barring discrimination based on sexual orientation. In 1999, the N.J. Supreme Court had
ruled in favor of Dale, a former Assistant Scout Master, who earned high marks for his work but
was terminated when the Scouts' organization learned that he is gay.
April 25, 2000: Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, a Democrat, signs a civil union bill, making
Vermont the first state to legally recognize same-sex couples.
2000: New Jersey Supreme Court extends legal doctrine of “psychological parent” to parents in
same-sex relationship (V.C. v. M.J.B.).
2000: Transgender Northern California high school teacher successfully defeats efforts to take
away her teaching credential (Warfield v. California Commission on Teacher Credentialing).
2000: U.S. Supreme Court rules that public universities can collect student activities fees even
from students who object to LGBT student groups (Southworth v. Grebe).
2000: Religious Liberty Protection Act, which would have set up religious defenses to civil rights
actions, is derailed.
2001: The Netherlands becomes the first country to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples,
gives such couples exactly the same rights as heterosexual couples, including in tax, inheritance
and adoption rights. The law requires that at least one member of the couple be a Dutch national
or live in the Netherlands.
April 11, 2001: Seven gay and lesbian couples who were denied marriage licenses file suit,
Goodridge et al. v. Department of Public Health, seeking the right to marry in Massachusetts.
2001: Federal court strikes down challenge on religious grounds by Pat Robertson funded legal
group to Louisville’s ordinance banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (Hyman
2001: Minnesota court strikes down sodomy law (Doe v. Watson).
2001: New York high court holds that housing policy favoring married students discriminates
against lesbians and gay men (Levin v. Yeshiva University).
2001: Federal appeals court rules that public officials cannot compel minors to disclose their
sexual orientation to family members (Sterling v. Minersville).
2001: Federal court upholds right of gay/straight alliance to sue to stop harassment of students
(Loomis v. Visalia Unified School District).
May 8, 2002: The trial court rules against plaintiff couples in Goodridge et al. v. Department of
Public Health. Attorneys from Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders announce intention to
2002: Maryland court strikes measure to repeal gay rights law from the ballot.
2002: Unprecedented court settlement calling for district wide reforms of Northern California
case involving harassment of LGBT high school students (Loomis v. Visalia Unified School
Jan. 30, 2003: Belgium recognizes same-sex couples equally in tax, inheritance and other
marriage benefits but stops short of allowing same-sex married couples to adopt children
together. The law stipulates that only couples from countries that allow same-sex marriages can
be married under the law.
May 21, 2003: Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, R-CO., and five co-sponsors introduce a resolution to
amend the U.S. Constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
June 10, 2003: Ontario, Canada, legalizes marriage for same-sex couples in that province.
June 26, 2003: The U.S. Supreme Court, ruling in Lawrence v. Texas, rules all 13 remaining
state sodomy laws are unconstitutional. This decision overturns the infamous 1986 decision in
Bowers v. Hardwick, which found anti-gay sodomy laws constitutional.
July 8, 2003: British Columbia, Canada, legalizes marriage for same-sex couples.
August 5, 2003: The Episcopal Church voted to support the first openly gay bishop, Gene
Sept. 4, 2003: The Senate Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution, chaired by Sen. John
Cornyn, R-Texas, holds a hearing entitled "What Is Needed to Defend the Bipartisan Defense of
Marriage Act of 1996?"
Nov. 18, 2003: The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rules in Goodridge v. Department of
Public Health that the state constitution mandates marriage equality for same-sex couples.
2003: Effort by rural Kentucky school district to avoid recognizing a gay student club by banning
all extra-curricular club fails (Boyd County High School Gay-Straight Alliance v. Board of
2003: Federal appeals court requires school officials to take effective, proactive steps to eliminate
homophobia harassment when they learn that gay students are being harassed (Flores v. Morgan
Hill Unified School District). Shared counsel between ACLU and the National Center for
2003: Successful lawsuit for Arkansas student outed by school officials and then disciplined (in
part by being compelled to read passages from the Bible) for talking about being gay to other
students (McLaughlin v. Pulaski County Special School District).
2003: California enacts legislation providing the best domestic partnership protections in the
nation except for Vermont.
Feb. 4, 2004: The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court reaffirms its decision in Goodridge et
al. v. Department of Public Health, informing lawmakers that only marriage rights – not civil
unions – would provide equal protection under the state constitution to same-sex couples, and
thus meet the requirements set forth in Goodridge.
Feb. 11, 2004: The Massachusetts Legislature holds a constitutional convention to consider
whether to amend the constitution to limit marriage to one man and one woman. The session
recesses Feb. 12 after two amendments failed to receive the votes needed for first passage.
Feb. 12, 2004: San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom orders the issuance of marriage licenses to
same-sex couples, saying state statutes purporting to limit marriage to opposite-sex couples
violates the California Constitution’s mandate of equal protection. The first to marry were Del
Martin and Phyllis Lyon, founders of the Daughters of Bilitis and partners for more than 50 years.
Within days, more than 2,000 same-sex couples received marriage licenses and married.
Feb. 17, 2004: Two court challenges filed by anti-gay activists against San Francisco in Superior
Court fail to stop San Francisco from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Feb. 20, 2004: Officials in Sandoval County, N.M., issue marriage licenses to a handful of samesex
Feb. 24, 2004: President George W. Bush endorses amending the U.S. Constitution to prohibit
marriage between same-sex couples, declaring "the preservation of marriage rises to this level of
national importance." This amendment was defeated in the U.S. Senate.
Feb. 23, 2004: The New Mexico attorney general declares that the same-sex marriage licenses
issued in Sandoval County are invalid. Any licenses issued and the rights associated with them
Feb. 27, 2004: New Paltz, N.Y., Mayor Jason West marries 21 same-sex couples on the steps of
March 3, 2004: The Senate Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution holds a second hearing
on Defense of Marriage Act. NAACP spokesman calls the Federal Marriage Amendment
"nothing more than a highly divisive political ploy to distract the country from focusing on our
overabundance of real problems and our tremendous lack of creative and effective solutions."
March 3, 2004: Multnomah County officials begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples
in Portland, Ore.
March 8, 2004: Asbury Park, N.J., Deputy Mayor James Bruno marries a same-sex couple.
March 11, 2004: The California Supreme Court orders an immediate halt to weddings for samesex
couples in San Francisco and says it will decide within months whether the city had the
authority to issue marriage licenses in defiance of state law.
March 19, 2004: The Canadian province of Quebec legalizes marriage between same-sex
March 20, 2004: A House Judiciary subcommittee holds a hearing on the Federal Amendment,
the first of five promised in the House. Former Georgia GOP Rep. Bob Barr – author of the
Defense of Marriage Act -- testifies: "If we begin to treat the Constitution as our personal
sandbox, in which to build and destroy castles as we please, we risk diluting the grandeur of
having a Constitution in the first place."
March 23, 2004: The Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on the Federal Marriage
March 29, 2004: The Massachusetts Legislature votes to ban marriage for same-sex couples and
establish civil unions, approving a proposed constitutional amendment that would reverse the
Supreme Judicial Court's historic ruling.
April 15, 2004: Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican, announces he will seek lastminute
legislation to appoint a special counsel that would ask the state's highest court to delay its
ruling in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health.
April 15, 2004: Incoming Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero announces that Spain
will legalize same-sex marriages and grant equal rights to gay couples.
April 20, 2004: A state judge strikes down an Oregon law that blocked same-sex couples from
marrying and orders the state to recognize the 3,000 marriages of same-sex couples that already
took place in Oregon. Multnomah County Circuit Judge Frank Bearden also issues a 90-day stay
on marriages of same-sex couples until the Legislature can decide how to treat the couples in the
future — by extending marriage or adopting a system like Vermont’s civil unions.
The same day, in the first legislative vote in the country in favor of marriage equality, a
California state assembly committee votes 8 to 3 to advance the Marriage License Non-
April 22, 2004: The House Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution holds another hearing on
the Federal Marriage Amendment.
May 13, 2004: At another House Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution hearing, defeated
U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Robert Bork testifies that he supports amending the U.S.
Constitution to ban same-sex marriage.
May 17, 2004: At midnight, Cambridge, Mass., begins accepting applications for licenses from
same-sex couples — making Massachusetts the first state in the nation to grant marriage licenses
statewide. Over the course of the day more than 600 couples apply for licenses across
Massachusetts. All seven plaintiff couples in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health,
including Hilary and Julie Goodridge, marry.
May 28, 2004: In a case brought by a former boyfriend of Madonna's, who claimed he was
identified as gay in a book about her life, a federal judge rules that stating someone is gay can no
longer be considered libelous.
June 5, 2004: Ronald Reagan dies at 93, opening old wounds for many gay and AIDS activists
about the former president's lack of action during the early stages of the AIDS epidemic.
June 15, 2004: The U.S. Senate passes a long-awaited hate-crimes bill that includes crimes
committed on the basis of sexual orientation.
June 16, 2004: The national gay rights group Human Rights Campaign endorses Massachusetts
Democratic senator John Kerry for president.
June 18, 2004: Acclaimed jazz saxaphonist Dave Koz, who came out in the April 27 issue of
The Advocate, is named one of People magazine's 50 Hottest Bachelors.
June 20, 2004: Court records reveal that Kentucky gay couple Michael Meehan and Thomas
Dysarz have split up. The pair made national headlines in 2002 when they became the parents of
June 22, 2004: Gasps of dismay are heard inside a Harvard, California courtroom as the trial of
three men accused of murdering a transgender teen Gwen Araujo ends in a mistrial. Prosecutors
vow to retry the case.
June 27, 2004: Organizers of the gay pride parade in Conway, Aransas wake to find the parade
route covered in cow manure. Area resident Wesley Bono, who argues he had a free speech right
to commit the act, is later convicted of misdemeanor harassment.
July 14, 2004: As expected, the antigay Federal Marriage Amendment fails on a procedural vote
in the U.S. Senate, providing what is widely considered to be an embarrassing defeat for
President Bush and Republican leaders in Congress.
July 18, 2004: Gay Alabama teen Scotty Joe Weaver, 18, is brutally murdered in what police
describe as a likely hate crime. Three of Weaver's housemates are later charged with murder.
July 22, 2004: The Republican-led U.D. House of Representatives votes to prevent federal
courts from ordering states to recognize same-sex marriages sanctioned by other states. The
Marriage Protection Act passes 233-194 and strips courts of their jurisdiction to rule on
challenges to state bans on gay marriage under the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act.
August 3, 2004: Missouri voters overwhelmingly pass a state constitutional amendment banning
August 4, 2004: King County superior court judge William L. Downing rules that same-sex
couples can be married under Washington state law because denying their right to do so is a
violation of their state constitutional rights. His decisions are stayed until the state supreme court
reviews the case.
August 12, 2004: With his wife at his side, New Jersey governor James E. McGreevey comes
out during a dramatic press conference in which he states, "I am a gay American." McGreevey
acknowledges he had an extramarital affair with a man and announces he will resign on
August 12, 2004: California's state supreme court rules that San Francisco's Newsom
overstepped his authority in issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. The court also voids all of
the marriages. The ruling, however, does not address whether the couples have a constitutional
right to marriage.
August 23, 2004: The U.S. military's highest court refuses to down the armed services' ban on
private, consensual sodomy, despite the U.S. Supreme Court's 2003 ruling against such laws.
August 24, 2004: Vice President Dick Cheney, whose daughter Mary is a lesbian, speaks in
support of gay relationships saying, "Freedom means freedom for everyone," at a campaign rally
in Davenport, Iowa.
August 25, 2004: Days before the Republican convention is set to begin, the party's platform
committee rejects a gay-inclusive "Party Unity" plank proposed by the Log Cabin Republicans.
The committee, however, adopts strong language against recognition of same-sex marriages.
August 30, 2004: Amid allegations that he is gay and had posted voice-mail messages on a
telephone service seeking men for sex, U.S. representative Edward Schrock of Virginia
announces his retirement.
September 2, 2004: Home improvement retail giant Home Depot Inc. announces it will offer
health insurance to the domestic partners of its gay and lesbian employees. The same day the
University of Pittsburgh ends a longstanding battle with its gay employees by offering to do the
September 7, 2004: The Log Cabin Republicans vote to not endorse George W. Bush for
September 8, 2004: A superior court judge in California rules against a challenge to the state's
sweeping new domestic-partnership law, opening the way for the expanded registry to take effect
on January 1.
September 12, 2004: During a televised worship service in Canada, televangelist Jimmy
Swaggart says he would kill any gay man who looked at him romantically. Following numerous
complaints from around the globe, Swaggart later claims he was only joking.
September 13, 2004: Louisiana voters overwhelmingly pass a state constitutional amendment
banning same-sex marriage. Seventeen days later district court judge William Morbant throws
out the amendment, saying it is invalid because it has two purposes: banning gay marriage and
October 8, 2004: Lesbian singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge announces she has breast cancer
and will undergo surgery.
October 11, 2004: Ending a long-standing battle with gay rights activists and lawmakers around
the world, resort company Sandals announces it will scrap its ban on same-sex couples at its
many couples-only Caribbean retreats.
October 18, 2004: A special commission on homosexuality in the Anglican Church issues a
formal report chastising the Episcopal Church USA for consecrating openly gay bishop V. Gene
Robinson a year earlier. The commission asks for an official apology but does not call for
October 26, 2004: In a television interview President Bush flip-flops by saying that he wouldn't
oppose states establishing civil unions for gay couples. He maintains that he supports banning
same-sex marriage nationwide, regardless of state laws.
November 2, 2004: Voters in 11 states approve constitutional amendments to ban same-sex
marriage. They are Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, North
Dakota, Oklahoma, Ohio, Oregon, and Utah.
All incumbent lawmakers in Massachusetts who voted against the proposed ban on same-sex
marriage in March win reelection, providing strong encouragement to marriage equality
November 3, 2004: John Kerry concedes the election to incumbent Bush. A CNN poll reveals
that the president received about 23% of the gay vote in the election despite his vocal support for
the antigay Federal Marriage Amendment.
November 7, 2004: White House political strategist Karl Rove tells Fox News that President
Bush will continue his push to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban marriage for gays and lesbians
November 9, 2004: Seeking to take advantage of the momentum from an election in which
"moral values" proved politically motivating, antigay Christian broadcaster Jerry Falwell
announces plans to guide an "evangelical revolution>" His new Faith and Values Coalition will
be a "21st-century resurrection" of his failed Moral Majority, he claims.
November 16, 2004: Despite Kansas's reputation as an ultraconservative state, its capital city,
Topeka, passes an ordinance protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination in city
November 17, 2004: The United Kingdom joins a growing list of European nations that legally
recognize gay and lesbian relationships as the House of Lords approves the Civil Partnership Bill.
The new law prohibits registered same-sex partners in England, Wailes, and Northern Ireland
with nearly all of the rights and protections of marriage.
November 28, 2004: Leroy F. Aarons, 70, a former national correspondent for the The
Washington Post and founder of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, dies of
heart failure in California after a long battle with cancer.
November 29, 2004: The U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear a challenge to the Massachusetts
high court's 2003 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in that state. The rejection lets stand the
nation's only law providing full marriage equality.
The House-approved law that allows the Defense Department to with hold funding from colleges
and universities that deny access to military recruiters because of the armed services' antigay
policies is struck down. The third U.S. circuit court of appeals rules that the Solomon
Amendment infringes on the free speech rights of schools.
November 30, 2004: Less than one year after she was hired on a three-year contract by the
nations most prominent gay rights group, the Human Rights Campaign, former Massachusetts
legislator Cheryl Jacques resigns from her post as executive director of the Human Rights
December 1, 2004: Television networks CBS and NBC create their own media firestorm when
they refuse to air a commercial from the United Church of Christ that affirms the church's
acceptance of gay couples at a time when others do not. The networks deem the ad too
December 2, 2004: At the end of a widely covered church trial, lesbian minister Irene Elizabeth
Stroud of Philadelphia is convicted of violating the United Methodist Church's ban on openly gay
clergy. Stroud, who was charged after admitting last year to living with her female partner, is
December 8, 2004: The Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index currently has no
companies with a score of zero following the announcement that ALLTEL Corp. has amended its
non-discrimination policy to include sexual orientation. ALLTEL is a major cell phone, local
phone, long-distance and Internet service provider based in Little Rock, Ark.
December 29, 2004: An Arkansas judge overturned the state’s ban on foster parents who are
January 10, 2005: The U.S. Supreme Court’s refused to hear a case challenging Florida’s ban
on adoption by gays and lesbians. Lofton v. Secretary of the Florida Department of Children and
Families was seeking to overturn the only state law denying gay and lesbian individuals and
couples the right to adopt children.
January 12, 2005: The Illinois Legislature’s passed a bill banning discrimination against gay,
lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in the workplace, real estate transactions, access to
financial credit and public accommodations.
January 18, 2005: Antigay Christian leader James Dobson accuses the creators of Sponge Bob
Square Pants of using the popular character to advance the pro-homosexual agenda.
January 19, 2005: a Florida judge upholds the federal Defense of Marriage Act, dismissing a
lawsuit by two women who sought to have their Massachusetts marriage recognized by the state.
January 26, 2005: The Human Rights Campaign denounces the intolerance that Secretary of
Education Margaret Spellings demonstrated by pulling funding from a cartoon show promoting
understanding. According to an Associated Press article, PBS has decided to pull the episode of
“Postcards from Buster” from distribution. The episode, “Sugartime!,” features the animated
bunny Buster on a trip in Vermont and focuses on farm living and maple sugaring. One scene
depicts two lesbian couples. The program receives funding through federal Ready-to-Learn
January 27, 2005: Wal-Mart Stores, the nation’s largest private employer, made public a new
definition of family that includes same-sex partners recognized under state law.
“You are responsible for advancing Wal-Mart’s business interests when the opportunity to do so
arises. You may not take any opportunities or use any confidential information for your benefit,
or for the benefit of your immediate family members, that you discover or obtain through your
employment with Wal-Mart. Immediate family members include (whether by birth, adoption,
marriage or domestic partnership or civil union, if recognized by your state or other local law)
your spouse, children, parents, siblings, mothers and fathers-in-law, sons and daughters-in-law
and brothers and sisters-in-law.”
February 2, 2005: The House passed, in a vote 327 to 84, a resolution that restates congressional
support for the discriminatory Solomon Amendment, which punishes universities with gay,
lesbian, bisexual and transgender-inclusive non-discrimination policies for holding military
recruiters to the same standards as other recruiters.
February 4, 2005: A court in New York ruled today saying that same-sex couples must be
allowed to marry. Lambda Legal brought the case on behalf of five same-sex couples seeking
marriage licenses in New York.
February 7, 2005: As President Bush introduced his 2006 budget, the Human Rights Campaign
expressed grave concern about the requested funding of crucial HIV/AIDS programs. With the
exception of modest increases for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program and the National Institutes
for Health, most other programs that affect people living with HIV/AIDS were flat-funded or saw
February 8, 2005: Senate Republicans reintroduced a constitutional amendment that would deny
marriage to same-sex couples, as well as threaten to deny us hundreds of benefits already offered
by red and blue states across the country. This just so happened to coincide with the first full
week of the president’s second term.
February 9, 2005: Desperate Housewives star Marcia Cross appears on The View to deny
rumors she is a lesbian and that she is planning to come out in The Advocate.
February 10, 2005: The Human Rights Campaign praised the introduction of the Responsible
Education About Life Act in the U.S. House and Senate. The bill would create a grant program
through the Department of Health and Human Services for comprehensive and age-appropriate
February 11, 2005: Health officials in New York City start a nationwide panic by announcing
the discovery of a rare and potentially aggressive new strain of HIV found in a local man who had
numerous sexual partners. The discovery later turns out to be a false alarm.
February 12, 2005: Maya Keyes, daughter of Alan Keyes, the ultraconservative, homophobic
political commentator and former presidential candidate – comes out in an Advocate exclusive.
February 23, 2005: The New York State supreme court rules against the infamous “Ithaca 50”, a
group of 25 same sex couples suing for the right to marry in the state. Judge Robert C. Mulvey
says it is a job for lawmakers, not courts, to extend marriage rights.
February 24, 2005: The Human Rights Campaign hosted its second annual conference for gay,
lesbian, bisexual and transgender students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities
Friday, Feb. 11, through Sunday, Feb. 13, at its headquarters in downtown Washington, D.C.
Headlining the event were Emil Wilbekin, a Hampton University alum, vice president of brand
development at Marc Ecko and former editor of Vibe magazine; and Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole, a
nationally renowned speaker and president of Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, N.C.
March 1, 2005: Voters in Topeka Kansas uphold an ordinance banning discrimination against
gays and lesbians in municipal hiring. This comes as a surprise to the anti-gay preacher Fred
Phelps who is from Kansas.
March 2, 2005: Bipartisan introduction of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act in the U.S.
House of Representatives. The measure would repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the ban on gay,
lesbian and bisexual troops, and allow them to serve openly in the military.
“Americans don’t care whether the person who catches Bin Laden is gay or straight; they just
want him caught,” said HRC Vice President of Policy David M. Smith. “This bill would allow
highly trained and patriotic troops to continue serving while freeing up resources that could be
spent on things like adequate armor but that are currently being spent on enforcing an unfair
According to a recent government report, the policy has cost nearly $200 million for the
replacement and training of personnel who had to be recruited when gay, lesbian and bisexual
soldiers were ousted from the military. The study by the Government Accounting Office also
showed that nearly 800 specialists with critical skills have been fired, including 322 linguists, 54
of whom specialized in Arabic.
The report does not include costs associated with discharging officers or trained, skilled
specialists — meaning that the actual cost is likely much higher. According to the
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, more than 10,000 gay and lesbian Americans have
been discharged from service under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.
March 8, 2005: The Human Rights Campaign announced today that Citigroup, the world’s
largest financial institution, has become a platinum level sponsor of HRC’s mission of securing
equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans. With a perfect score on the
HRC Corporate Equality Index, Citigroup’s support for HRC cements the company’s role as one
of the top business leaders supporting GLBT equality.
March 9, 2005: Joe Solmonese, chief executive officer of EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest
political action committee, was named President of the Human Rights Campaign today by the
organization’s Board of Directors and Foundation Board.
March 14, 2005: A California Superior Court judge ruled that same-sex couples can no longer
be denied marriage and the rights and protections of marriage under state law.
March 16, 2005: Toys “R” Us agreed to add language to its equal opportunity employment
policy prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity. It appears likely that the company,
ranked 171 in the Fortune 500, will also begin offering domestic partner benefits and including
sexual orientation and gender identity issues in their diversity training. If implemented, the
company would earn an 86 on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index — a tool measuring how
equitably companies are treating their gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees,
consumers and investors.
March 17, 2005: The state and local governments in Michigan are no longer allowed to give
benefits to employees' same-sex partners now that voters have approved Proposal 2, a
constitutional ban on marriage of same-sex couples, according to an opinion issued yesterday by
Michigan state Attorney General Mike Cox. According to Michigan’s office of civil service,
there are roughly 53,522 employees of the state government in Michigan. The 2000 Census
showed that there are more than 15,000 same-sex couples living in the state of Michigan.
March 18, 2005: An amendment was introduced in the House that would deny marriage and
likely civil union and domestic partnership rights to same-sex couples. Introduced by Rep. Dan
Lungren, R-Calif., the bill would have the same effects as last year’s failed amendment.
The proposed amendment reads:
“Marriage in the United States shall consist only of a legal union of a man and a woman.
“No court of the United States or of any state shall have jurisdiction to determine whether this
Constitution or the constitution of any state requires that the legal incidents of marriage be
conferred upon any union other than a legal union between one man and one woman.
“No state shall be required to give effect to any public act, record or judicial proceeding of any
other state concerning a union between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage, or as
having the legal incidents of marriage, under the laws of such other state.”
If passed, it would mark the first time the Constitution was amended to single out a group of
Americans for unequal treatment. According to exit polling in November 2004, 60 percent of
Americans support either civil unions or marriage equality for same-sex couples.
March 21, 2005: A new policy under consideration by the Georgia Department of Education that
would require parental permission for students to participate in any extracurricular activity
threatens gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students, says the Human Rights Campaign.
Students will likely be dissuaded from joining support groups like Gay-Straight Alliances if it
requires them to disclose their identities to their parents before they are ready.
March 23, 2005: A Windjammer Barefoot Cruise ship is diverted from entering the Caribbean
nation of St. Kitts-Nevis because of concerns about it being a gay and nudist cruise.
March 31, 2005: Maine becomes the sixth state, plus the District of Columbia, to prohibit
discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Those states are: California,
Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico and Rhode Island.
April 5, 2005: A state constitutional amendment passed in Kansas that defines marriage as solely
between a man and a woman — denying same-sex couples the rights and protections of marriage
and possibly even civil unions and other protections. Kansas now becomes the 17th state to
explicitly amend its state constitution to ban marriage rights for same-sex couples.
April 12, 2005: Sports Illustrated magazine released a poll showing that 86 percent of
Americans think that openly gay athletes should not be excluded from team sports. However, the
poll went on to say that 68 percent of respondents think it hurts an athlete’s career to be openly
April 14, 2005: Oregon Supreme Court delivered a ruling nullifying more than 3,000 marriages
of same-sex couples performed in Multnomah County in 2004.
April 20, 2005: Connecticut legislators passed a civil union bill that will offer all the state-level
rights and benefits of marriage to same-sex couples and their families.
April 21, 2005: A month after software giant Microsoft pulled its support for the measure, the
Washington State senate rejects a bill by a vote of 25 to 24 that would have outlawed
discrimination against gays and lesbians in housing and employment.
April 24, 2005: The San Francisco Human Rights Commission finds that the Castro District gay
club owner, Les Natali, repeatedly discriminated against black patrons at his Badlands nightclub.
May 6, 2005: Microsoft decided to renew its public support for both federal and Washington
state legislation prohibiting workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender
expression. Last month the Washington state Senate failed to pass measure 1515 that would have
banned discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Washingtonians in housing,
employment and insurance.
May 10, 2005: In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
Swedish researchers reveal that gay men’s brains respond differently to sexual smells than
straight men’s do.
May 12, 2005: A ruling from the U.S. District Court in Nebraska strikes down Section 29 of the
state’s constitution. The court concluded that the amendment, which is exceptionally broad,
violated several constitutional protections including the 1st Amendment right to petition the
government, and the 14th Amendment guarantee of equal protection.
May 16, 2005: Ernst & Young LLP becomes the first of the Big 4 accounting and professional
services firms to reach 100 percent on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index, ranking companies on
how they treat gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees and consumers. They have
recognized the need to protect employees from discrimination based on gender identity and
May 17, 2005: Gay and lesbian couples in Massachusetts celebrate the one year anniversary of
the same-sex marriage’s legalization in the state.
May 25, 2005: ExxonMobile shareholders voted with record support for a shareholder resolution
to amend the company’s written equal employment opportunity policy to include the category of
sexual orientation. The non-discrimination resolution received the highest vote of all the
resolutions this year.
May 27, 2005: Colorado Gov. Bill Owens’ decided to veto the non-discrimination measure that
passed the state Legislature earlier this month, which would have added sexual orientation and
gender identity to existing state non-discrimination laws. Owens did indicate, however, that he
would allow the anti-hate crime legislation that was also passed by the state Legislature to
become law, even though he does not support it.
May 30, 2005: Texas Legislature adjourned having passed a discriminatory constitutional
amendment to deny the rights and protections of marriage to same-sex couples while neglecting
to pass a bill to fund the state’s public schools. The amendment will appear on this November’s
ballot for Texas voters to reject or approve.
June 3, 2005: A study of fruit flies that indicates a possible genetic basis for sexual orientation is
published. The study, reported in The International Herald Tribune, was conducted by scientists
at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology at the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna.
June 4, 2005: Lesbian activist Jean O’Leary, a former nun who became a national leader in the
Democratic Party, died at home with her partner of 12 years, Lisa Phelps, in San Clemente,
California. As an early advocate and pioneer for equality Jean O’Leary was a true hero. By cofounding
National Coming Out Day, she recognized the enormous power that visibility could
have in the fight for equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
June 13, 2005: The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that for the first
time since the 1980’s the number of Americans believed to be infected with HIV exceeds one
June 22, 2005: the Southern Baptist Convention ends its eight year boycott against the Walt
Disney Co. because it was allegedly being too pro-gay. The boycott was ended even though
Disney did not change any of its policies.
June 28, 2005: Canada’s House of Commons passed legislation that extends marriage rights to
same-sex couples. The measure now heads to the Senate.
June 29, 2005: The Spanish Parliament made history by allowing same-sex couples and their
children access to the rights, responsibilities and protections of marriage.
June 30, 2005: Bipartisan legislation clarified existing law to ensure full enforcement of
prohibitions against anti-gay discrimination in the federal workforce. Special Counsel Scott
Bloch, responsible for investigating and settling claims of workplace discrimination, recently
indicated at a Senate hearing that he has no intention of investigating or acting on certain claims
of sexual orientation discrimination from federal employees. For more than two decades, a
federal statute, the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, has been interpreted to prohibit
discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace for federal employees. This
legislation would clarify the protections of that law by explicitly making discrimination on the
basis of sexual orientation a prohibited personnel practice under the act.
July 4, 2005: The General Synod of the 1.3 million member United Church of Christ approved a
historic resolution endorsing marriage equality for same-sex couples at its biennial meeting in
Atlanta. Approval of the resolution makes the United Church of Christ the largest Christian
denomination to endorse marriage for same-sex couples.
July 8, 2005: The Oregon Senate made history by passing S.B. 1000 — a bill that would grant
critical rights and protections to same-sex couples and their children as well as banning
discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
July 13, 2005: Hawaii’s Gov. Linda Lingle vetoed a bill that would have added protections
based on gender identity and expression to the state’s employment discrimination law. Despite
passing the bill by large margins, the Legislature took no action to override the veto. The
governor did sign into law a bill prohibiting discrimination in housing discrimination based on
sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.
July 19, 2005: Two male Iranian youth were hanged for the “crime” of homosexuality in Edalat
(Justice) Square in the city of Mashhad in north-eastern Iran, on the orders of Court No. 19.
July 20, 2005: Canada becomes the world’s fourth nation to extend full marriage rights to gay
and lesbian couples.
July 28, 2005: Raytheon Co. added gender identity and expression to its equal opportunity
policy. Raytheon becomes the first aerospace and defense giant to rank 100 percent in HRC’s
Corporate Equality Index, which rates companies on how they treat lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender employees and investors.
August 5, 2005: The Rev. Jerry Falwell supported the rights of gays and lesbians on a primetime
television appearance on MSNBC’s “The Situation,” Falwell said, “But civil — civil rights for all
Americans, black, white, red, yellow, the rich, poor, young, old, gay, straight, et cetera, is not a
liberal or a conservative value. It’s an American value that I would think that we pretty much all
August 7, 2005: The final episode of Queer as Folk airs on Showtime.
August 12, 2005: Evangelical Lutheran Church in America voted to keep discriminatory
restrictions on gay clergy.
August 22, 2005: the California Supreme Court ruled that gay and lesbian parents who choose to
have children together have a legal relationship to those children, with the same rights and
obligations as other parents, including in the event of a breakup.
September 6, 2005: By a 41-35 vote, the California Assembly passed A.B. 849, the Civil
Marriage and Religious Freedom Protection Act. The California Senate passed the measure on
Sept. 1 by a 21-15 vote. The measure, authored by Assembly member Mark Leno, D-San
Francisco, and sponsored Equality California, marks the first time that a marriage equality bill has
passed a state legislature. It now proceeds to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s desk.
September 12, 2005: A guilty verdict was reached of two men, Michael Magidson and Jose
Merel, in the killing Gwen Araujo. Araujo, a transgender woman, was 17 years old when she was
viciously attacked and killed Oct. 3, 2002, in Newark, Calif. The men had claimed that they were
“deceived” by Araujo. The jury deadlocked on the verdict for Jason Cazares, who also charged
with the murder.
September 14, 2005: The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Local Law Enforcement
Hate Crimes Prevention Act by an overwhelming 223 to 199 bipartisan vote, taking a historic step
toward giving law enforcement the tools they need to enforce and prosecute hate crimes against
gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans. The measure was passed as an amendment to
H.R. 3132, the “Children’s Safety Act.” Reps. Barney Frank, D-Mass.; Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, RFla.;
John Conyers Jr., D-Mich.; Christopher Shays, R-Conn.; and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.; are
the lead sponsors of the original bill, which would add actual or perceived sexual orientation,
gender, gender identity and disability to federal hate crime laws.
September 14, 2005: The Massachusetts Legislature defeated an amendment to the
Massachusetts Constitution that would deny marriage to same-sex couples and their families.
The Travaglini-Lees amendment would have taken away the right to marry from same-sex
couples and created, instead, civil unions. Another discriminatory amendment will appear on the
ballot in November 2008 that would deny both marriage and civil unions to same-sex couples.
September 29, 2005: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetos the same-sex marriage
bill passed by the state legislature , saying the issue should be decided by the courts.
October 1, 2005: Connecticut’s civil union law goes into effect, but few couples take advantage.
October 15, 2005: Keith Boykin, black gay rights leader, is denied the opportunity to speak by
the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan at the Millions More March in Washington DC.
October 26, 2005: WNBA star Sheryl Swoopes comes out as a lesbian.
October 26, 2005: Fifties Hollywood heart throb and actor Tab Hunter comes out in his new
memoir, Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star.
October 27, 2005: George Takei, Star Trek’s Mr. Sulu, comes out in an interview with the Los
Angeles gay publication Frontiers.
October 31, 2005: The highest court in the United Methodist Church defrocks lesbian minister
Irene “Beth” Stroud. She revealed her sexual identity in 2003 and was defrocked by a lower
church court in 2004, but that ruling was overturned by a church appeals court. She will remain a
lay minister at her Philadelphia church.
November 7, 2005: The U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear an appeal of a pro-transgender
ruling, leaving in place a victory for Cincinnati police officer Philecia Barnes, who won an
antidiscrimination lawsuit against the city.
November 8, 2005: Voters in Maine reject a ballot measure that would have repealed a law
passed in March protecting gays from discrimination in housing and employment.
November 9, 2005: PlanetOut Inc., owner of Gay.com and other gay specific Internet interests,
purchases the assets of LPI Media Inc., owner of The Advocate and Out magazines, for the $31/1
November 15, 2005: Andre Boisclair is elected leader of Quebec’s separatist Parti Quebecois,
becoming the first openly gay head of a national political party in Canada.
November 17, 2005: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention releases a report showing
that the overall rate of HIV infection among men who have sex with men is rising.
December 5, 2005: The United Kingdom’s Civil Partnership Act goes into effect, providing gay
and lesbian couples who register many of the rights and protections of marriage. Singer Elton
John and his long-time partner, David Furnish, as well as George Michael and Kenny Goss,
announce plans to join under the law in early 2006.
December 9, 2005: Brokeback Mountain, the story of two cowboys who fall in love, starring
Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, opens to high acclaim.
January 2006: Oklahoma Baptist minister, Lonnie Latham, arrested for propositioning an
undercover cop at a gay cruising spot.
January 2006: Movie critic, Gene Shalit, criticizes Jake Gyllenhaal’s character from Brokeback
Mountain, calling him a sexual predator. Shalit’s son is gay.
January 2006: Openly gay Christine Quinn becomes the first speaker of the New York City
January 2006: Lesbian activist and renowned psychotherapist Betty Berzon dies.
February 2006: President Bush appoints anti-gay rights Supreme Court justice Samuel Alito.
February 2006: A new strain of Chlamydia, LGV, has been spreading among gay and bisexual
men, increasing their chances of contracting HIV.
February 2006: Lesbian WNBA basketball star, Latasha Byears, settles her lawsuit with the LA
Sparks. She claimed they fired her because of her sexual orientation.
February 2006: For the second year in a row the University of Colorado’s gay fraternity, Delta
Lambda Phi, holds a successful rush.
February 2006: Los Angeles superior court judge Robert Sandoval dies. He was one of the first
openly gay prosecutors in the city.
March 2006: The American Family Association threatens to boycott Ford Motor Company
because they again started advertising in gay publications.
March 2006: The Archdiocese of San Francisco states it would explore ways to bar same-sex
couples from adoption.
March 2006: Spanish writer-director Eloy de la Iglesia whose films include the landmark El
Diputado (1978) dies.
April 2006: The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network confirms that the Pentagon carried out
surveillance against gay activists on several college campuses.
April 2006: A student at a small Baptist run university in Kentucky is expelled when he writes
about his boyfriend on his MySpace profile.
April 2006: The London Metropolitan Police asked their gay and lesbian officers to go public in
an effort to attract more recruits.
April 2006: Gay activist Julia Pell dies at age 52.
May 2006: Howard Dean fires his gay outreach adviser under controversial circumstances.
Dean introduced civil unions in Vermont as governor.
May 2006: A Senate panel approves the Federal Marriage Amendment.
May 2006: A federal court struck down an Oklahoma law that barred gay couples from adoption.
May 2006: Mary Cheney’s autobiography, Now It’s My Turn: A Daughter’s Chronicle of
Political Life is published.
May 2006: Bisexuality researcher Fritz Klein dies. He was the creator of the Klein Sexual
June 2006: The full Senate votes on the Federal Marriage Amendment. It failed again.
June 2006: Chicago White Sox Manager, Ozzie Guillen, refers to a reporter in a derogatory
manner, using the word “fag”. He later apologized and was fined.
June 2006: First same-sex divorce in Spain was recorded.
June 2006: Two Canadian Mounties were legally married.
July 2006: Lesbian tennis star, Amelie Mauresmo wins at Wimbledon and the Australian Open.
July 2006: Oklahoma and Alabama elect their first openly gay legislators. Al McAffrey (D-OK)
and Patricia Todd (D-AL) won their primaries and faced little opposition from Republican
July 2006: The Washington and New York state supreme courts rejected equal rights for samesex
July 2006: The government of Iran places a five year ban on a reporter for an article titled “Let’s
Make AIDS Public.”
July 2006: Gay author and traveler Hanns Ebensten dies at age 82.
August 2006: American Swimmer Daniel Veatch sets a world record in his age category at the
August 2006: Stanford University barred an all-male synchronized swimming team from
performing an exhibition at a meet.
August 2006: West Point military academy gives an award to a cadet whose thesis argued for the
end of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
August 2006: The USTA National Tennis Center was renamed for Billie Jean King.
August 2006: Tee Corinne was a lesbian feminist, artist, photographer, and writer. She died at
September 2006: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoes a bill that would have
prohibited antigay language in state textbooks.
September 2006: Former NJ Governor Jim McGreevey publishes his autobiography, telling his
coming out story.
September 2006: HRC’s Corporate Equality Index shows that more major American
corporations than ever are extending benefits and protections to their gay employees.
September 2006: A CNN Headline News anchor, Thomas Roberts, came out while speaking on
a panel at the annual National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association convention.
September 2006: Martina Navratilova wins a mixed doubles championship at the U.S. Open.
This becoming her 59th Grand Slam title.
September 2006: Gay GOP Patrick Guerriero leaves his post as the top dog with the Log Cabin
September 2006: Voguing guru Willi Ninja dies at age 45.
September 2006: Aleta Fenceroy cofounder and editor of the pioneering LGBT newsletter
October 2006: Republican Mark Foley resigns amidst controversy surrounding suggestive
messages with male congressional pages.
October 2006: California establishes a law allowing domestic partners to file joint state income
October 2006: New Jersey’s supreme court rules in favor of full marriage rights for gay and
lesbian couples. However, they left it up to the legislature to decide whether the title of
“marriage” would be granted.
October 2006: The Dutch grant political asylum to Iranian gays who fled persecution, including
death sentences, in their homeland.
October 2006: In Canada the first International Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce was
planned in Montreal.
October 2006: AIDS activist Jeff Getty who received a baboon bone marrow transplant died.
October 2006: Michael Sandy Ikea designer and hate crime victim died.
October 2006: Gerry Studds a Democratic congressman from Massachusetts died.
November 2006: Evangelical leader Ted Haggard resigns after a male escort from Denver
claims he had been paying him for sex.
November 2006: ESPN takes color commentator Brian Kinchen off the air after he refers to a
receiver’s “caress” of a caught football as “kind of gay.”
December 2006: Legal wedding ceremonies are now permitted in South Africa after the Civil
Union Act was signed into law on November 30. The country’s constitutional congress set a
December 1 deadline for legislation to be enacted allowing same-sex couples full marriage
December 2006: Bristol-Myers Squibb’s “Light to Unite” campaign donates $100,000 to the
National AIDS Fund for virtual candles lit on its web site.
January 4, 2007: The 110th Congress is sworn in with Nancy Pelosi -- in a baby-blue power suit
-- as House speaker. The same day Democrat Deval Patrick takes the oath of office as the first
African-American governor of Massachusetts -- and just the second black governor in U.S.
history. The gay-friendly Patrick ushers in a new age for the Bay State, which endured four years
of the homophobic Mitt Romney.
January 15, 2007: Two months after Grey’s Anatomy star Isaiah Washington spat out the other f
word during an on-set scuffle with costar Patrick Dempsey -- prompting series star T.R. Knight to
come out of the closet -- Washington drops that f bomb again at the Golden Globes telecast, then
lies to reporters about having used the word in the first place. Grey’s creator Shonda Rhimes
finally kicks him to the curb in June.
January 31, 2007: Overwhelmingly Catholic Mexico registers its first civil union when two 29-
year-old lesbians sign papers in Coahuila, the first of the nation’s 31 states to legalize gay unions.
February 2, 2007: “Gay American” and former New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey files for
divorce from wife Dina Matos. Dina later publishes a book blasting her husband and appears on
February 3, 2007: The president of the African nation of Gambia claims AIDS can be cured by a
green herbal ointment, a bitter yellow drink, and a banana chaser.
February 25, 2007: Finance guru and Oprah regular Suze Orman comes out in The New York
February 27, 2007: Having exited the closet earlier in the month, John Amaechi, the suave 6-
foot-10 former NBA center for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic, and Utah Jazz, tells The
Advocate, “I call on [gay NBA players] to try and live more openly…. I call on them not to lie
and become [outwardly] homophobic.”
February 28, 2007: Mr. Alva goes to Washington: Gay marine Eric Alva, the first American
soldier wounded in the Iraq war, urges Congress to abandon “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
March 2, 2007: Ann Coulter calls Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards a “faggot”
during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
March 21, 2007: Less than two months after Penn State settled a lawsuit by Jennifer Harris, a
former basketball player who accused coach Rene Portland of “humiliating, berating, and
ostracizing” her because she believed Harris was gay, Portland resigns.
March 21, 2007: Best-selling author Terry McMillan slaps gay ex-husband Jonathan Plummer
with a $40 million lawsuit, contending that he intentionally smeared her during their explosive
April 12, 2007: In a victory for all minorities, shock jock Don Imus is sent packing after referring
to the Rutgers University women’s basketball team as “nappy-headed ho’s.” Justice is shortlived;
Imus lands a new on-air job -- and a $20 million settlement from ex-employer CBS --
before the year’s out.
May 17, 2007: Dashing Ohio governor Ted Strickland, by executive order, bans discrimination
against LGBT state employees. Can you guess his party affiliation?
May 23, 2007: Second daughter Mary Cheney, with partner Heather Poe by her side, gives birth
to Samuel David Cheney.
May 23, 2007: Rosie O’Donnell is caught up in a knock-down, drag-out fight with View cohost
Elisabeth Hasselbeck over their differing stances on the Iraq war. It will be Rosie’s last day on the
June 8, 2007: Sweet irony! While roadies set up Vegas’s MGM Grand Garden Arena for the first
night of Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors tour -- donating $1 for each ticket sold to the Human Rights
Campaign -- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announces that he is not recommending another
term for the homophobic Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, Gen. Peter Pace, who had called
homosexual acts “immoral” in a Chicago Tribune article. Pace’s term would expire October 1.
June 21, 2007: Instead of seeing an innocent picture of two boys kissing, seniors at Newark,
N.J.’s East Side High School find a blacked-out box in their yearbooks. After the books had been
printed, the Newark superintendent of schools had pronounced the photo “illicit” and
inappropriate, ordering her staff to censor the image from every copy with black markers. The
school district soon apologizes to the gay grad, who had paid $150 for the personal page that was
to display the photo.
July 11, 2007: Republican Florida state representative Bob Allen is arrested in a public park
restroom for offering an undercover cop $20 to allow Allen to service him. His explanation?
There were “black guys around in the park” and he feared he “was about to be a statistic.” He was
found guilty of soliciting a sex act.
August 9, 2007: The Human Rights Campaign and Logo host a Democratic presidential debate
on LGBT issues. New Mexico governor Bill Richardson savors the taste of his own foot when he
declares being gay is a choice. He visits The Advocate’s Los Angeles office the next day to atone,
saying that flying red-eye had made him foggy.
August 27, 2007: The Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call hits the mother lode, breaking the news
that GOP U.S. senator Larry Craig of Idaho had been arrested in June for lewd conduct -- i.e.,
toe-tappin’ man love in adjacent bathroom stalls at the Minneapolis airport. Earlier in the month
Craig had quietly pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct. The antigay senator first
promised to resign his office, then took it back.
August 28, 2007: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.’s blowhard (Democratic!) mayor, Jim Naugle, is booted
from the city’s tourism board after a spate of antigay comments that began in July, when he
declared that gays are “unhappy” and that they habitually hump in public restrooms.
September 19, 2007: San Diego’s GOP mayor, Jerry Sanders, throws an emotional press
conference to announce his newfound support for same-sex marriage, saying he could no longer
justify denying his daughter and her partner equal rights.
September 24, 2007: Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has ’em rolling in the aisles
during his visit to Columbia University when he declares, “In Iran we don’t have homosexuals
like in your country.”
October 22, 2007: A new study published by a market research firm confirms that the GLBT
community is in fact quite diverse and defies a number of stereotypes. Among the findings a
majority of gays and lesbians live outside of big cities with a third of lesbians and a quarter of gay
men living in rural areas. As for coming out, the average age people reported realizing their
sexual orientation was 15.
October 22, 2007: Anti-gay groups in California have begun the process to try and overturn a
recently signed safe schools bill. Governor Schwarzenegger signed the law last week that
prohibits discrimination and educates teachers and administrators about their responsibilities to
October 22, 2007: An openly gay man has announced that he’s going to challenge North
Carolina Senator Elizabeth Dole for reelection. Jim Neal is an investment banker from Capitol
Hill who says he isn’t interested in hiding hi sexual orientation and he believes that voters are
concerned primarily about the issues.
October 23, 2007: Two North American dioceses of the worldwide Anglican Church have voted
to allow ministers to bless same-sex unions. The Diocese of California and the Diocese of
Montreal both voted for the change with overwhelming margins. The decision is sure to continue
the rift with more conservative elements of the church who have talked openly about splitting
over GLBT issues.
October 23, 2007: Elections in Poland this past weekend ended a notoriously anti-gay
government. The ruling far-right party was replaced with more moderate leaders – a move GLBT
leaders say is a good sign that some of the divisive politics seen in Poland may be ending.
October 24, 2007: A New York school board has filed a challenge against a state human rights
law that protects GLBT students. The Ithaca City School District says the law is in conflict with
a federal statute but Lambda Legal says only the state law protects GLBT students. Lambda says
attacking the state law puts those students at risk of losing protections.
October 24, 2007: The parliament in Singapore passed a revision that removed restrictions on
conduct between members of the opposite sex, but leaves in place the prohibitions for same-sex
October 25, 2007: Today is the one-year anniversary of the New Jersey Supreme Court decision
that led to civil unions in the Garden State. 405 organizations, together representing more than
one million New Jersey residents, have sent a letter to the Governor and legislative leaders
endorsing marriage equality for same-sex couples. They say it’s critical to enact a marriage
equality bill as soon as possible to replace the state’s failing civil unions law.
October 26, 2007: The Baltimore Sun reported that a group of straight black leaders in Maryland
have formed a new group to engage the black community on why it should support same-sex
marriage as a civil rights issue. The Maryland Black Family Alliance will be led by Elbridge
James who is the former political action chairman for the Maryland NAACP.
October 26, 2007: A new study shows that gay men on average make less money than their
married straight counterparts. The University of New Hampshire says that gay men earn twentythree
percent less than married men and nine percent less than straight un-married men.
October 26, 2007: The Austrian Parliament has a new civil partnership proposal before it, but the
bill’s prospects are unclear. The sponsor says the proposal would not alter marriage law but
would create a separate system to afford same-sex couples some rights under law.
October 29, 2007: Anti-gay groups scored a victory with a Federal Appeals Court on Friday in a
ruling on a school anti-harassment training. The Sixth Circuit ruled that a student can sue the
Boyd County School District with a claim that his speech rights were violated by the training,
which discussed GLBT issues. The case now goes back to the trial court for further review.
October 29, 2007: The one thousandth couple in New Zealand has taken advantage of that
country’s civil union law. The milestone comes two years after the laws enactment and
supporters are using the moment to reiterate that none of the "doom and gloom" scenarios
forecasted by opponents have come to fruition.
October 29, 2007: An international GLBT conference in Lithuania last week was disrupted by
smoke bombs. Organizers say they were targeted after city officials in Vilnius refused to allow a
planned march in the capitol. They are now discussing whether or not to bring a case under the
European Convention on Human Rights.
October 30, 2007: Senator Obama refused to remove Reverend Donnie McClurkin from last
weekend’s campaign tour, despite protests from GLBT groups that the Reverend was anti-gay.
At the event over the weekend McClurkin claimed that god delivered him from homosexuality.
The campaign did include an openly gay minister after protests.
October 30, 2007: A study at the University of Utah has altered the brains of certain worms,
causing them to become attracted to members of the same-sex. Researchers say its continued
evidence that sexual orientation may be hardwired in human brains.
October 30, 2007: The Chicago Diocese of the Episcopal Church is close to electing its next
bishop and a lesbian woman is one of eight finalists. During a tour to allow parishioners to ask
questions that ended on Sunday, the candidates were often questioned on GLBT issues. Reverend
Tracey Land says she is continuing to stand for election despite controversy in order to allow god
to lead the discussion.
October 31, 2007: The prime minister of Cambodia has disowned his lesbian daughter. He’s
taking legal action to ensure that the woman will not be able to make a claim on her inheritance.
Interestingly, the prime minister at the same time encouraged tolerance and respect for gays and
October 31, 2007: In Sweden, a large coalition formed to pass a marriage equality bill. Currently
the country offers a form of civil union one of the first worldwide to do so. But now six out of
the country’s seven political parties say they are willing to revisit the separate system and simply
allow all couples to marry.
October 31, 2007: The Syracuse, New York public school system will begin offering domestic
partnership benefits to same-sex couples at the first of the year. They become one of only a few
public employers in the state to offer such benefits. In comparison, over three hundred fifty
private employers in the state offer equal benefits.
October 31, 2007: Presidential candidate Fred Thompson was peppered with questions on civil
unions this week during a campaign stop in New Hampshire. The former Senator was asked how
he felt about a federal civil unions law that would recognize such unions where they exist like in
New Hampshire. Thompson said he would not support that and then pivoted to discuss same-sex
marriage, which he called a judge-made controversy.
October 31, 2007: A federal jury in Baltimore hands down a $10.9 million verdict against Fred
“God hates fags” Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church for picketing at the funeral of a fallen
marine. Guess God doesn’t hate karma.
November 7, 2007: After a protracted tug-of-war over whether to include transgender protections
in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the House passes Barney Frank’s noninclusive
ENDA bill. It’s in for an even tougher battle in the Senate, and Bushie says he’ll veto the bill if it
hits his desk.
December 2007: Federal domestic partner bill introduced.
January 5, 2008: Threats to attack Paris’s Eiffel Tower and the city’s gay mayor, Bertrand
Delanoë, are posted on a website catering to Islamic fundamentalists. The mayor -- who was
stabbed in a 2002 antigay attack -- later announces his interest in running for president of France.
January 14, 2008: E. Denise Simmons becomes the nation’s first openly lesbian black mayor
when the city council in Cambridge, Mass., appoints her to lead.
January 16, 2008: Keith Hill, who admitted to raping five young men in 2006, is found guilty of
sexually assaulting a 17-year-old at gunpoint and sentenced to 99 years in prison. The 20-year-old
says he targeted men instead of women during an eight-month spree in Baytown, Texas, because
“it would be less hard on them.”
January 22, 2008: Brokeback Mountain actor Heath Ledger is found dead in his New York City
apartment after an apparent accidental drug overdose. Ledger had just finished filming The Dark
Knight, in which he played the demented, mysterious Joker.
February 2008: In February, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Carolinas Gala honored two
community leaders and a church. Elke Kennedy, Q-Notes’ 2007 Person of the Year, and
Charlotte’s Myers Park Baptist Church were both honored with the Equality Award. Kennedy,
whose son Sean was killed in an anti-gay hate crime, has worked tirelessly to bring attention to
the need for hate crimes legislation in South Carolina. Myers Park took a courageous stand
against the North Carolina Baptist Convention by defending its LGBT members. For their public
stance, the church was dismissed from the association. The 2008 Trailblazer Award, which
recognizes an individual who has a record of consistent and significant contributions to the LGBT
community and is seen as a role model to others, was presented to the Rev. Dr. Bennie
Colclough, pastor of Providence Christian Church in Manning, S.C.
February 1, 2008: A New York appellate court rules that state agencies must recognize the
marriage of a lesbian couple married in Canada in 2004. In 2005, Patricia Martinez had sued her
employer, Monroe Community College, after the school denied health care benefits for her wife.
February 6-10, 2008: North Carolinian Mandy Carter was honored at the 20th anniversary
Creating Change conference, hosted by the Task Force, for her work with Southerners On New
Ground (SONG), a North Carolina-based rights group created at the 1993 Creating Change
conference hosted in Durham
February 10, 2008: The Israeli government allows same-sex couples to adopt children --
previously permissible only when one parent was biologically related to the child.
February 12, 2008: Out eighth-grader Lawrence King is shot in the head by classmate Brandon
McInerney at E.O. Green Junior High in Oxnard, Calif. He dies two days later. McInerney, 14,
awaiting trial, has been charged as an adult with first-degree murder with a hate-crime
February 19, 2008: Jason Bartlett breaks a double barrier when he comes out to his constituents
in Connecticut’s second district -- becoming the first openly gay African-American state
legislator in the nation. Bartlett later wins re-election in November with 54% of the vote.
February 22, 2008: Gay teenager Simmie Williams Jr. is found slain in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. His
mother, Denise King, tells the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, “I gave him two dollars for the bus
and he never came back.” She adds that she wasn’t aware that he often dressed as a woman. His
killer is still being sought.
March 5, 2008: In an historic occasion for the LGBT community of the Palmetto State, the
Columbia City Council passed new public accommodations and housing ordinances banning
discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender-identity
March 7, 2008: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledges $100 million to innovative
research projects dedicated to fighting tuberculosis, HIV, infectious diseases, and drug resistance
March 7, 2008: Oklahoma state legislator Sally Kern is heard on an audio recording telling
fellow Republicans that gays pose “the biggest threat our nation has, even more so than terrorism
and Islam,” and that gays will “destroy this nation.” Kern added that gays have higher suicide
rates, feel more discouraged, are more frequently ill, and have shorter lifespans. Despite
widespread outrage, Kern wins reelection in November with 58% of the vote.
March 8, 2008: Openly gay community leader Tim Griffin was honored with the 2008
Neighborhood Leader Award. The award was presented by the City of Charlotte’s Neighborhood
Development department at its 13th Annual Neighborhood Symposium.
March 12, 2008: New York governor Eliot Spitzer, once dubbed the “Sheriff of Wall Street” for
his aggressive ethics reform, announces his resignation after a federal investigation uncovers
attempts to conceal thousands of dollars in financial dealings traced to a high-end prostitution
ring. Lt. Gov. David Paterson takes over and quickly becomes a gay rights ally.
March 31, 2008: A gay couple from New York, whose wedding image was used by Polish
president Lech Kaczynski in a March 19 television address to deride gay marriage, trek to
Warsaw to meet with him. Brendan Fay and Tom Moulton’s trip sparks a media frenzy.
April 9, 2008: PlanetOut Inc., parent company of The Advocate and Out, announces the sale of
its publishing properties to Regent Entertainment, owner of here! TV.
April 18, 2008: CNN reporter Richard Quest is arrested in Central Park with a rope tied around
his neck and genitals and a sex toy in his boot. He’s charged with possessing methamphetamine
April 19, 2008: An openly gay freshman at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro
(UNCG) won the student government spring election for student body president by an
April 24, 2008: Conservative group Protect Marriage submits more than 1.1 million signatures to
place a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage -- later known as Proposition 8 --
on California’s November ballot. Out-of-state religious organizations contributed to the signature
April 28, 2008: The highest court in the Presbyterian Church rules that the Reverend Jane Adams
Spahr did not violate denominational law by officiating same-sex commitments because the
unions were not legally recognized. The Louisville, Ky., court emphasizes that same-sex
ceremonies cannot be marriages under church law.
May 9, 2008: Khadijah Farmer, who was ejected from the women’s bathroom at New York
City’s Caliente Cab Company restaurant for looking too masculine, receives $35,000 in a
settlement from the eatery.
May 13, 2008: Maryland becomes the 11th U.S. state to establish anti-bullying laws. The bill
requires schools to develop violence prevention programs addressing students, staff, volunteers,
May 14, 2008: New York governor David Paterson orders state agencies to recognize same-sex
marriages performed elsewhere.
May 15, 2008: California’s supreme court rules in a 4–3 decision that banning same-sex marriage
in the state is unconstitutional, making the Golden State the second, after Massachusetts, to
establish marriage equality. Weddings commence when the ruling takes effect in mid June.
May 29, 2008: Attorneys general from 10 states—Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Michigan,
Nebraska, New Hampshire, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah—ask the California supreme
court to delay same-sex marriages until after the election, ostensibly to give their states time to
determine whether they will recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.
June 4, 2008: U.S. representatives Tammy Baldwin and Barney Frank unveil the LGBT Equality
Caucus, a new bipartisan group aimed at educating lawmakers on LGBT-related issues and
repealing discriminatory laws. Fifty fellow legislators join.
June 10, 2008: Darren Manzella, a decorated Army medic who revealed his sexual orientation to
his commander in August 2006—and on 60 Minutes in December 2007—is finally discharged,
after a second tour of duty in Iraq, for “homosexual admission.”
June 12, 2008: Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick’s 18-year-old daughter Katherine reveals
that she is a lesbian to the local gay newspaper Bay Windows.
June 12, 2008: Glenn Murphy Jr., former chair of the Clark County, Ind., Republican Party,
pleads guilty to criminal deviate conduct for having performed nonconsensual oral sex on a
sleeping man in 2007.
June 16, 2008: Phyllis Lyon marries Del Martin, her partner of 55 years, in a ceremony
performed by Gavin Newsom at San Francisco City Hall. Fellow lesbian activists Robin Tyler
and Diane Olson, together 15 years, tie the knot in Beverly Hills. More than 18,000 same-sex
couples wed between June and November.
July 3, 2008: The American Family Association calls for a boycott of McDonald’s after Richard
Ellis, VP of communications for the chain’s U.S. operations, joins the board of the National Gay
and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. The AFA ends the boycott after Ellis steps down and
accepts a post with the corporation’s Canadian division.
July 4, 2008: Former U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms died. The LGBT community erupted with joy.
However disrespectful it might have been, the relief of knowing one of history’s most anti-gay
bigots had finally passed was like music to many queer folks’ ears.
July 22, 2008: A Greek court rules that a local gay rights group can use the word “lesbian” in its
name, rejecting a claim by residents of the island of Lesbos that such use damages their identity.
July 26, 2008: In its third successful year under the direction of Charlotte’s Lesbian and Gay
Community Center, the 2008 Pride Charlotte festival enjoyed another record turnout. According
to Charlotte Mecklenburg Police, 10,000 people attended the day-long festival at uptown
July 30, 2008: Congress lifts the blanket U.S. ban on HIV-positive travelers as part of its
reauthorization of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. PEPFAR’s $48 billion fiveyear
budget triples the amount of global relief allocated in 2003, but maintains that recipients
must spend at least 50% of funds on abstinence-only programs.
July 31, 2008: Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick signs a bill repealing a 1913 law that
prohibited out-of-state same-sex couples from marrying in the state. The law was originally
intended to keep interracial couples from coming to Massachusetts to marry.
August 2, 2008: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials announce that the annual
HIV infection rate is 40% higher than previously reported. African-Americans and men who have
sex with men are said to be most affected.
August 9, 2008: Transgender woman Angie Zapata, 18, is laid to rest in front of 200 mourners in
Greeley, Colo. According to officials, Allen Ray Andrade, 32, charged with second-degree
murder, told police he met Zapata over the Internet for a date, then beat her to death after learning
she was biologically male.
August 13, 2008: America’s Next Top Model announces its first transgender contestant, Isis
King. King, 22, is the fifth of 14 contestants to be booted, but on November 18, Tyra Banks
surprises King on her TV talk show with the news that she is to receive free gender-reassignment
August 16, 2008: Comedian Ellen DeGeneres and her partner, actress Portia de Rossi, wed in an
intimate ceremony at their Beverly Hills home.
August 19, 2008: Decorated veteran Diane Schroer testifies in federal court that the Library of
Congress denied her a job as a terrorism research analyst because of her gender identity. In 2004,
Schroer, who then identified as David, told his presumed future boss that he planned to undergo
sex reassignment; she rescinded his job offer the following day. The LOC lobbies to have the
case thrown out, but Schroer wins the suit in September.
September 8, 2008: Answering the prayers of many liberals (and ironically, Pat Buchanan),
brainy lesbian commentator Rachel Maddow launches the first episode of MSNBC’s news
program The Rachel Maddow Show. It is a virtual overnight hit.
September 10, 2008: A Florida circuit court judge rules that the state’s law barring gays from
adopting children is unconstitutional, allowing a gay Key West resident to adopt the teenage boy
he has fostered since 2001. At a hearing earlier in the year, the boy said he wanted the man to be
his “forever father…because I love him.”
September 10, 2008: Where the Wild Things Are author Maurice Sendak mentions to The New
York Times that he is gay. The octogenarian says he had never been asked about it and “just
didn’t think it was anybody’s business.” Sendak lived with his partner, psychoanalyst Eugene
Glynn, for 50 years before Glynn passed away in May 2007.
September 12, 2008: Twenty-five people die and 135 are injured in a commuter train crash in
Los Angeles after engineer Robert M. Sanchez crashes into an oncoming freight train. It is later
revealed that Sanchez, among the dead, was gay and had a tragic past. His partner had hanged
himself in their garage on Valentine’s Day in 2003.
September 16, 2008: Easy, breezy, beautiful Ellen DeGeneres announces during her daytime talk
show that CoverGirl has selected her to be its latest spokes model. Ads featuring DeGeneres will
begin airing in January 2009.
September 26, 2008: Richard Grenell, a Bush-appointed spokesman for the U.S. ambassador to
the United Nations, leaves his post after a four-year fight with the State Department to recognize
his partner in the U.N.’s Blue Book, which lists diplomatic personnel and their spouses.
October 10, 2008: The Connecticut supreme court rules that excluding same-sex couples from
marriage violates the state constitution’s guarantee of equal protection. On November 4, voters
turn down a proposed constitutional convention, thereby keeping marriage equality safe from a
citizen-driven ballot initiative.
October 13, 2008: In response to an HIV exposure scare, St. Louis’s Normandy High School
notifies parents that it will be the first U.S. high school to offer an HIV-testing center. About 5%
of HIV diagnoses in the St. Louis region occur among teenagers.
October 20, 2008: Milton Lindgren, 70, and Eric Hendricks, 73, are found dead in their
Indianapolis home after reportedly enduring months of antigay harassment.
October 22, 2008: Carol Anne Burger, a veteran journalist and Huffington Post contributor, stabs
ex-spouse Jessica Kalish 222 times, according to police, and attempts to conceal the body. Burger
kills herself two days later.
November 2, 2008: Actor Sacha Baron Cohen, disguised as flamboyantly gay Austrian fashion
reporter “Bruno,” crashes a Los Angeles rally for supporters of California’s Proposition 8.
November 4, 2008: Democrat Barack Obama wins election to become the 44th president of the
United States. Meanwhile, same-sex couples are stripped of their right to marry in California;
Florida and Arizona also enact marriage bans; and Arkansas bars unmarried couples from
adopting or fostering children.
November 10, 2008: Forty-four California legislators submit a friend-of-the-court brief urging
the state supreme court to hear cases challenging Proposition 8.
November 15, 2008: Join the Impact launches simultaneous nationwide city hall demonstrations
to protest the antigay ballot initiatives that won on Election Day. Hundreds of thousands of LGBT
people and allies take to the streets to demand equality.
November 18, 2008: Out poet Mark Doty receives the National Book Award for his poetry
collection Fire to Fire.
November 19, 2008: California’s top court announces it will hear arguments in March to
consider invalidating Proposition 8.
November 19, 2008: eHarmony agrees to offer dating services to gays and lesbians after a user,
who was rejected from the site because of his sexual orientation, filed a discrimination suit.
December 9, 2008: Cleveland City Council's vote to create a domestic partner registry is a first
step in recognizing gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender partnerships.
December 10, 2008: In honor of Day Without a Gay, people call in “gay” to work and use their
personal time to support gay causes.
December 11, 2008: A retired police officer has been detained in connection with the murders of
13 gay men in a low-income suburb of Sao Paulo Brazil.
December 13, 2008: Hong Kong hosted its first official gay-pride.
December 23, 2008: Gay and lesbian activists say a speech by Pope Benedict XVI comparing
homosexuality to global warming was irresponsible and encouraged homophobia.
January 2009: A new study by the NGLTF shows that party, ideology, frequency of religious
service attendance, and age drove the vote on Prop 8.
January 8, 2009: Bob Barr, the author of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, now believes it’s
time for the law to be repealed. Writing at the Los Angeles Times, Barr said that he agreed with
President-elect Barack Obama’s pledge to repeal the 12-year-old anti-gay law.
January 8, 2009: Nine men, including a prominent activist, have been convicted of homosexual
acts and sentenced to eight years in prison in Senegal. The convictions were overturned in April.
January 9, 2009: PlanetOut, the parent of Gay.com and PlanetOut.com, will merge with Here
Networks and its parent, Regent Entertainment.
January 12, 2009: In Michigan six weeks after passing a gay rights law, the Kalamazoo City
Commission has voted to rescind it. The commission voted Dec. 1 to make it a civil offense in
the city of 7,200 to discriminate in housing, public accommodations or employment based on
sexual orientation or being transgender. The American Family Association of Michigan
submitted petitions with about 1,600 signatures seeking the law’s repeal. If officials found at least
1,273 signatures valid, the commission would have had to rescind the law or put it on the ballot.
The commission voted 7-0 Monday night to rescind it.
January 28, 2009: Johanna Sigurdardottir became Iceland’s interim prime minister and is an
openly gay former flight attendant who rose through the political ranks to lead a new leftist
government. The island nation’s 66-year-old social affairs minister, began as an union organizer
for flight attendants and is now among the country’s longest-serving lawmaker.
February 2, 2009: In a report released in Ireland almost 20 per cent of gay, lesbian, bisexual and
transgender people have attempted suicide and almost all saw this as related to their sexual
identity and the experiences of being abused and feeling isolated. The study, Supporting LGBT
Lives: A Study of the Mental Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People, also
found almost one-third of respondents had self-harmed at least once.
February 3, 2009: The gay couple whose court battle led to the legalization of same-sex
marriage in Massachusetts has filed for divorce. Hillary and Julie Goodridge, who share custody
of their 12-year-old daughter, filed divorce papers in Suffolk Probate Court.
February 6, 2009: Many pupils in Wales feel their school is not a safe place to be openly gay, a
survey suggests. The survey of 600 pupils was carried out during Safe Space, a workshop aimed
at tackling homophobic bullying. Some 79% thought their school was not safe for lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people to be open about their sexuality.
February 10, 2009: Utah’s governor supports civil unions and backs Equality Utah’s Common
Ground Initiative, a legislative effort that would provide some rights to gay and transgender
Utahns. Even more, the Republican governor favors civil unions. It’s a position that runs counter
to his political party and against the majority of Utahns — 70 percent of whom oppose civil
unions, according to a recent Salt Lake Tribune poll.
February 11, 2009: Fred Davie, an out gay man who has served in New York City government
and the philanthropic sector, will selected to serve on President Barack Obama’s Policy Council
on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
February 12, 2009: Marriage bill fails in Wyoming, despite financial support from Focus on the
February 18, 2009: Businesses in Utah will continue to be allowed to fire someone for being
gay. A House committee voted down a bill 5-8 Tuesday that would have made discriminating
against someone in the workplace based on sexual orientation or gender identity illegal. House
Bill 267 also would have made it illegal for landlords to discriminate against gay and transgender
February 23, 2009: Sean Penn wins an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Harvey
MILK. Dustin Lance Black also won an Academy Award for Best Screenplay.
February 2009: Republican U.S. House Rep. Virginia Foxx, representing portions of Winston-
Salem, Forsyth County and the northwest Piedmont, claimed the 1998 Matthew Shepard hate
crime was a “hoax.” Foxx eventually made a half-hearted apology to Shepard’s mother, Judy, but
continued to make often outrageous and controversial statements throughout the year.
March 4, 2009: Gays can serve in the Philippine army.
March 5, 2009: A proposal to offer gender-neutral housing for Yale upperclassmen in fall 2009
has been tabled, the Yale Daily News reports. School officials say they need more time to form a
task force and study the implementation of similar programs at peer schools. Gender-neutral
housing permits students of different genders to share dorm rooms, an accommodation primarily
meant to minimize conflicts for transgender students.
March 9, 2009: In Sydney more than 300,000 people attended the annual Gay and Lesbian
Mardi Gras. More than 130 floats and 9,500 people participated in the procession, which began as
a protest march in 1978 by homosexual and transsexual men and women and has flourished into
one of the world’s largest and most flamboyant gay pride events.
March 10, 2009: Ebru Soykan, a prominent transgender human rights activist, was murdered.
News reports and members of a Turkish human rights group said that an assailant stabbed and
killed Ebru, 28, in her home in the center of Istanbul.
March 11, 2009: Openly gay former Knesset member Uzi Even and his life partner can legally
adopt their 30-year-old foster son, the Tel Aviv family court in Israel ruled today, making them
the first same-sex male couple in the country whose right of adoption has been legally
March 11, 2009: The state of Washington Senate approves domestic partner expansion.
March 12, 2009: A Senate bill in Kentucky that would have banned gay couples from adopting
or fostering children appears to be dead this legislative session. The measure’s sponsor,
Republican Sen. Gary Tapp of Shelbyville, said Senate leaders will not bring Senate Bill 68 to a
vote in the final four days of the legislative session.
March 16, 2009: The National Insurance Institute authorized Israel’s first-ever “maternity”
leave for a male couple. Yonatan Gher, director of Jerusalem’s nonprofit Open House Pride and
Tolerance organization, has received institute approval of a 64-day leave from work on the
occasion of the birth of his biological son, born of a surrogate mother in India. His partner of
seven years commenced formal adoption procedures, so that the child will be formally recognized
as his as well.
March 16, 2009: Miguel Antonio GalÃ¡n has become the first openly gay politician to run for a
mayorship in Mexico.
March 17, 2009: Oklahoma teacher fired for showing the Laramie Project.
March 18, 2009: The Obama administration will endorse a U.N. declaration calling for the
worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality that then-President George W. Bush had refused
March 24, 2009: The former Highland home of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother has become
embroiled in an equality row after opening its doors to Christian weddings, while refusing to hold
ceremonies for homosexual or lesbian couples.
March 25, 2009: Married lesbian couples in New York City can now be listed as parents on
birth certificates as soon as their children are born. Before, the women would have to go through
an adoption process to be listed as the official parents. The city Board of Health voted Tuesday to
make the change.
March 26, 2009: Serbian lawmakers narrowly gave final approval Thursday to an antidiscrimination
law that is part of pro-Western reforms but was strongly opposed by the Serbian
Orthodox Church and other conservatives. The law bans any kind of discrimination, whether
based on race, religion, sexual orientation or gender or other factors.
March 26, 2009: The Hawaii Senate rejected an effort to force a vote on same-sex civil unions,
essentially killing the measure, even though a majority had indicated it supports the unions.
March 27, 2009: Japan has given the green light for its nationals to marry same-sex foreign
partners in countries where gay marriage is legal. Japan does not allow same-sex marriages at
home and has so far also refused to issue a key document required for citizens to wed overseas if
the applicant’s intended spouse was of the same gender.
March 27, 2009: The fear that transgender individuals would be able to use any bathroom
prompted state House lawmakers to kill legislation Thursday that extended legal protections to
them in New Hampshire.
March 29, 2009: The world’s oldest GLBT bookstore in New York City closed after 41 years.
Oscar Wilde Bookshop owner Kim Brinster says “tough times” are the reason for the Manhattan
March 30, 2009: The new mayor of Zurich will for the first time be a woman and openly gay
person. Voters in Switzerland’s largest city elected Corine Mauch of the centre-left Social
Democrats to replace Elmer Ledergerber of the same party.
April 2, 2009: The European Parliament adopted the report by Dutch Green MEP Kathalijne
Buitenweg, which extends discrimination protection beyond the labour market to goods and
services for the discrimination grounds of sexual orientation, disability, age and religion/belief.
April 1, 2009: Sweden’s parliament voted by a wide majority in favour of a gay marriage bill
that allows homosexuals to wed in either a religious or civil ceremony. The law will go into effect
on May 1.
April 2, 2009: A gay couple (Tim Wilson and his partner, Shane McCollum) in Australia won a
landmark anti-vilification case against former Brisbane neighbours who had publicly abused
them, calling them “faggots” “poofs” and “girls”.
April 3, 2009: The Iowa Supreme Court says the state’s same-sex marriage ban violates the
constitutional rights of gay and lesbian couples, making it the third state where gay marriage is
legal. In a unanimous ruling issued, the court upheld a 2007 Polk County District Court judge’s
ruling that the law was unconstitutional.
April 7, 2009: Vermont became the fourth state to legalize same-sex marriage, following swift
legislative action moments ago. Earlier in the day, Gov. Jim Douglas vetoed a bill permitting gay
marriage. The state legislature responded by overriding the veto, 23-5 in the state Senate and 100-
49 in the House. Vermont now joins Massachusetts, Connecticut and Iowa as states allowing gays
and lesbians to marry.
April 8, 2009: The New Hampshire House has reversed itself and passed a bill extending antidiscrimination
protections to transgender individuals by a single vote.
April 8, 2009: The White House is allocating tickets for the upcoming Easter Egg Roll to gay
and lesbian parents as part of the Obama administration’s outreach to diverse communities.
April 9, 2009: A group called the National Organization for Marriage, which worked to overturn
gay marriage in California, comes out with a controversial new ad that suggests opponents of
same-sex marriage are now being victimized for their beliefs. “There’s a storm gathering,” one
woman says as the spot opens.
April 9, 2009: A bill that expands the rights of same sex and unmarried couples in Colorado was
signed by Governor Bill Ritter. The legislation allows for individuals to legally identify a
‘designated beneficiary’ with many of the rights and privileges of a married spouse, including the
right to inherit property, to act as a medical proxy, to be designated as a beneficiary in retirement
plans and pensions, and to visitation in a hospital or other medical facility.
April 13, 2009: A landmark trial started in Weld County, Colo. It is believed to be the first
murder prosecution under hate-crime laws that involves a transgender victim. The case is last
year’s brutal killing of Angie Zapata, an 18-year-old transgender woman who was attacked in her
Greeley apartment. The suspect in the case is charged with a number of crimes, including firstdegree
murder and a “bias-motivated” or hate crime.
April 14, 2009: Gay domestic partners who co-own homes will be exempted from the state
inheritance tax, under legislation approved by the Maryland General Assembly.
April 15, 2009: In a groundbreaking victory for transgender people born in California, the
California Court of Appeal ruled that any person can amend their California birth certificate
regardless of their current state of residence. Previously, only current California residents could
amend their California birth certificates.
April 15, 2009: Five young men attacked an 18-year-old University of Virginia student and his
friend while yelling anti-gay slurs. The police have are calling the attack a hate crime.
April 23, 2009: The same day a Colorado man became the first in the nation to be convicted of
the hate-crime murder of a transgender person, Gov. Chris Gregoire signed a law paving the way
for similar kinds of prosecutions in Washington. Senate Bill 5952 added “transgender” to the
definition of sexual orientation in the state’s hate crime law, meaning people who commit violent
crimes against someone because of gender identity or expression can be charged with hate crimes
and face harsher penalties. Washington on Wednesday became the 12th state to have such a law.
April 27, 2009: More than 60 national and international rights groups have slammed a measure
making homosexuality a crime punishable by jail, which was signed into law last week in
May 2009: Local news station in Raleigh,WRAL, runs a story about gay marriage featuring two
local NC State alums that recently got married in Massachusetts.
May 1, 2009: Republican Rep. Virginia Foxx said during debate in the NC House that Matthew
Shepard’s 1998 death wasn’t a hate crime and claims that a Wyoming college student was
murdered because he was gay a “hoax.”
May 6, 2009: Washington DC city council voted to recognize same-sex marriages conducted in
other US states.
May 6, 2009: Gay marriage legal in Maine. The Senate passed the bill, LD-1020 “An Act to
End Discrimination in Civil Marriage and Affirm Religious Freedom,” with a vote of 21 to 13.
Shortly after, Governor Baldacci quickly signed the bill into law despite having ten days to take
May 14, 2009: Peru has announced that it will ban homosexuals from the police force for
damaging the image of the institution. The law is one of several new regulations put forward by
the Interior Minister, Mercedes Cabanillas.
May 15, 2009: Uruguay lifted a ban on homosexuals joining the armed forces. The decree signed
by President Tabare Vazquez and Defense Minister Jose Bayardi lifts the ban imposed by the
1973-85 military dictatorship.
May 20, 2009: New Hampshire lawmakers unexpectedly rejected a bill that would have made
the state the sixth in the United States to authorize gay marriage.
May 21, 2009: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has promised to provide equal benefits to
partners of homosexual US diplomats stationed overseas, a congressman said Wednesday.
Howard Berman, head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, had sought to require the State
Department to offer benefits such as medical care, transport between postings and security
training to partners regardless of sexual orientation.
May 26, 2009: The California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8’s ban on same-sex marriage
but also ruled that gay couples who wed before the election will continue to be married under
May 28, 2009: An openly gay man was voted prom queen at Los Angeles’ Fairfax High School
in a campaign that began as a stunt but ended up spurring discussion on campus about gender
roles and teen popularity. Sergio Garcia, 18, was crowned queen at the Hollywood Roosevelt
June 1, 2009: A candidate for chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party sued a radio
show host and a company that owns Wilmington radio stations for libel over a letter that the
candidate said claimed he is gay. Tom Fetzer, a former Raleigh mayor, said yesterday he filed the
lawsuit late on June 1 in Wake County Superior Court seeking a jury trial and monetary damages
to defend and protect his name. He accuses Curtis Wright, who hosts a morning drive-time show
aired on two stations, of forwarding an anonymous letter about Fetzer that Wright knew to be
June 2, 2009: President Obama has issued a proclamation honoring “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Transgendered Pride Month 2009.” Gay pride month is observed every June to commemorate the
“Stonewall riots,” an uprising that took place in 1969 when police tried to arrest gay patrons at
the Stonewall Inn in New York City.
June 5, 2009: The West Virginia Supreme Court ruled in favor of a same-sex couple fighting to
retain custody of an 18-month-old foster child. In an unsigned opinion issued Friday, the court
barred enforcement of a Fayette County Circuit Court order that the girl should be taken away
from Kathryn Kutil and Cheryl Hess.
June 11, 2009: The United States condemned alleged violence and abuse against homosexuals in
Iraq, adding the US embassy in Baghdad has raised the issue with Iraqi government officials.
June 19, 2009: The number of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people killed in biasmotivated
incidents increased by 28 percent in 2008 compared to a year ago, according to a
national coalition of advocacy groups. Last year’s 29 killings was the highest recorded by the
National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs since 1999, when it documented the same number
of slayings, according to a report released by the coalition. “What we’re also seeing, more
disturbingly, is the increase in the severity of violence,” said Sharon Stapel, executive director of
the New York City Anti-Violence Project, which coordinates coalition.
June 23, 2009: Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, announced he now
supports gay marriage, changing his initial position.
June 24, 2009: Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) announced the introduction of a bill that would make
discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace illegal. The
revised version of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) has 114 co-sponsors in
Congress, including openly gay members Frank, Tammy Baldwin and Jared Polis.
June 29, 2009: President Obama invited some of the national GLBT organization leaders to an
East Room reception to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, the 1969
Greenwich Village demonstrations that gave birth to the modern gay rights movement.
June 2009: President Obama signs a presidential memorandum to extend benefits to same-sex
partners of federal employees, but he will stop short of pledging full health insurance coverage.
June 2009: The anti-bullying legislation (School Violence Prevention Act) in North Carolina has
passed both the House and Senate and was signed into law by Governor Perdue.
July 2009: The state of Massachusetts sued the U.S. government over a federal law (DOMA) that
defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
July 1, 2009: Wisconsin becomes the first state with a constitutional amendment banning samesex
marriage and civil unions to put in place domestic partnerships for same-sex couples.
Wisconsin is also the first Midwestern state to legislatively put in place legal protections for
July 2, 2009: An Indian court ruled gay sex between consenting adults was not a crime, ordering
that the rights of citizens were violated by parts of a 150-year-old colonial-era law that made it
July 7, 2009: A gay marriage bill went into effect in the District of Columbia. Congress, which
has final say over the city's laws, had 30 days to review the bill and took no action. DC will now
recognize gay marriages performed in other states.
July 14, 2009: Former President Bill Clinton has come out in support of same-sex marriage.
July 15, 2009: A global schism in the worldwide Anglican Communion looked set to widen after
its U.S. branch, the Episcopal Church, approved a resolution to ordain gay and lesbian clergy.
July 17, 2009: A judge agreed to remove the state of California as a defendant in a lawsuit
challenging the 1996 law that prevents the U.S. government from recognizing same-sex
marriages. U.S. District Judge David Carter says the state is no longer an appropriate target in the
case because the gay couple who brought it got married in California last year before voters
approved a ban on same-sex unions.
July 22, 2009: The World Out Games were held in Copenhagen, which included an importance
conference on GLBT rights.
July 23, 2009: Lesbians in the District no longer need the written consent of their partners to
adopt children born to their partners through artificial insemination, under a new law that took
effect. The name of a consenting spouse or unmarried partner will appear on the child’s birth
certificate as the legal parent, a status that previously had to be obtained by same-sex parents
through a complicated adoption process.
July 27, 2009: Nine years after it lifted its ban on homosexuality, the Armed Forces of the
United Kingdom celebrated its diversity by putting James Wharton, a gay serviceman, on the
front cover of Soldier magazine.
July 27, 2009: E. Lynn Harris, whose best-selling novels explored the lives of black men in gay
relationships, died at age 54.
July 28, 2009: The United Nations granted official status to a gay and lesbian organization from
Brazil, allowing it to participate in U.N. meetings ranging from health to human rights. The
victory for the Brazilian Association of Gays, Lesbians and Transsexuals marks the third
consecutive year the U.N. Economic and Social Council has overturned a decision by a 19-
country committee blocking gay groups from participating in the global body’s debates.
July 28, 2009: HBO tops the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s third annual
Network Responsibility Index, a study that evaluates the quantity, quality and diversity of images
of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people on television.
July 30, 2009: Albania’s governing Democrats proposed a law allowing same-sex civil
weddings in the small, predominantly Muslim country.
July 31, 2009: Portugal’s Constitutional Court upheld the country’s ban on gay marriage,
rejecting a challenge by two lesbians who are seeking to wed.
August 2009: The GLBT Center at NC State University is featured in the Annual Manual of the
Independent Weekly newspaper.
August 2009: President Obama awards Harvey Milk and Billie Jean King the Presidential
Medal of Freedom.
August 2009: Two youth were killed and ten injured in a brutal shooting attack at a GLBT youth
center in Israel.
August 2009: Homosexuals in Burundi say that their lives have been marked with increased
discrimination and fear following the East African country’s move to ban homosexual practices.
Burundi officially passed the law criminalizing homosexuality in April this year.
August 2009: The nation’s largest Lutheran denomination will consider lifting its ban on gay
and lesbian clergy who are in lifelong, monogamous relationships as it gathers this month for a
church wide meeting.
August 2009: Gay Iraqi men are being murdered in what appears to be a coordinated campaign
involving militia forces, the group Human Rights Watch says. It says hundreds of gay men have
been targeted and killed in Iraq since 2004. So-called honour killings also account for deaths
where families punish their own kin in order to avoid public shame. The report says members of
the Mehdi Army militia group are spearheading the campaign, but police are also accused – even
though homosexuality is legal.
August 1, 2009: The mayor of Amsterdam married five American-Dutch gay couples in an
implicit criticism of the lack of same-sex marriage in many U.S. states.
August 2, 2009: Only weeks after the Episcopal Church ended a de facto moratorium on
promoting gay men and lesbians into the church hierarchy, church leaders in Los Angeles
nominated two openly gay priests as assistant bishops.
August 4, 2009: The Census Bureau will for the first time publicly release the number of gay
marriages reported in a decennial census, as it plans to release raw data about same-sex
relationships in the 2010 headcount, according to new guidelines released.
August 5, 2009: The American Psychological Association clarified its position on how mental
health professionals should work with people who come to them struggling with being gay.
Mental health professionals should avoid telling clients that such so-called reparative therapy
works, according to an APA statement.
August 6, 2009: A gay-friendly online high school in Maplewood Minnesota is believed to be
the first of its kind. The school was created to cater to students who have been harassed in
August 10, 2009: A federal judge has ruled that the Gay-Straight Alliance of Yulee High School
in Nassau County Florida is allowed to meet on school grounds and be allowed the privileges as
other student groups.
August 18, 2009: Mayor Dan Sullivan of Anchorage vetoed an ordinance banning
discrimination against gays, lesbians and bisexuals, citing negative comments and arguing that
there is no need for the measure.
August 24, 2009: Nevada couples could begin registering as domestic partners in advance of a
new law that takes effect in October. Same- and opposite-sex couples who apply soon could
receive their certificates of domestic partnership as early as Oct. 1. That’s the day a new state law
goes into effect extending rights similar to those held by married couples to cohabitating couples,
whether gay or straight, who register.
September 2009: TV’s `Newlywed Game’ features first gay couple. George Takei, who played
Mr. Sulu on “Star Trek,” will appear with his partner, Brad Altman.
September 2009: Gay couples in Scotland are to be given the same rights as heterosexual
couples to adopt children under new legislation. The change in the law will enable same-sex
couples to adopt jointly for the first time. Before the change a gay person could only apply to
adopt as an individual, with their partner having no legal responsibility for the child. Such
adoptions have been rare in Scotland however. In Edinburgh, there have only ever been two such
cases and in Glasgow just one.
September 2009: The city of Cleveland, Ohio, USA, has been chosen by the Federation of Gay
Games (FGG) to host the 2014 Gay Games.
September 1, 2009: Gay marriages begin in Vermont.
September 4, 2009: A British court issued a landmark ruling Friday, allowing a transsexual
prisoner serving life for manslaughter and attempted rape to be transferred to a women’s prison.
September 9, 2009: With the Senate’s final approval Uruguay is the first country in Latin
America to allow gay and lesbian couples the opportunity to adopt. The executive branch now
will decide when the law takes effect. The change is supported by socialist President Tabare
Vazquez’s Broad Front coalition, while the Roman Catholic Church has voiced strong
disapproval. Under Vazquez, Uruguay already legalized gay civil unions and ended a ban on
homosexuals in the military.
September 15, 2009: The Ohio House passed a gay rights bill barring employment and housing
discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
October 2009: Homophobic crime in London has risen by nearly a fifth.
October 2009: The British House of Commons is to be opened up for gay weddings.
October 11, 2009: Tens of thousands convene in Washington DC to rally and march for GLBT
equality. The first of its kind in ten years. President Obama spoke to leaders prior to the event to
help ease concerns about his administration.
October 13, 2009: Arnold Schwarzenegger, the governor of California, signed a law setting
aside a day to commemorate Harvey Milk, a gay San Francisco politician who was shot dead
three decades ago. Under the measure, May 22nd will be declared Harvey Milk day in California,
coinciding with Milk’s birthday. While it will not be a state holiday, schools will be encouraged
to hold lessons “remembering the life of Harvey Milk, recognizing his accomplishments and
familiarizing pupils with the contributions he made to this state”.
October 13, 2009: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill recognizing gay marriages
sanctioned in other states during the nearly five months such unions were legal in California.
Schwarzenegger says the action is consistent with a state Supreme Court ruling upholding the
marriages of same-sex couples who tied the knot in California before voters approved Proposition
October 23, 2009: A Danish movie about a gay love affair between two members of a neo-Nazi
group won top honors Friday at the Rome Film Festival, while Helen Mirren won the best actress
award. Mirren won for her depiction of Leo Tolstoy’s wife in Michael Hoffman’s “The Last
Station,” while Meryl Streep picked up a career achievement award. The winning movie,
“Brotherhood,” takes a hard look at the neo-Nazi group that the leading character, Lars, joins
after leaving the army.
October 28, 2009: The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Act was signed into law by
President Obama at 2:51pm.
October 29, 2009: First openly gay US Attorney begins job in the state of Washington.
October 29, 2009: Kenya is to carry out a census of its gay population in an effort to bolster the
fight against HIV/Aids – despite homosexuality being against the law.
October 30, 2009: “Golden Girls” star Bea Arthur’s generosity lives on. The actress, who died
in April, included in her will a $300,000 donation to New York’s Ali Forney Center, an
organization supporting homeless LGBT youth.
November 2009: Life imprisonment is the minimum punishment for anyone convicted of having
gay sex, under an anti-homosexuality bill currently before Uganda's parliament. If the accused
person is HIV positive or a serial offender, or a "person of authority" over the other partner, or if
the "victim" is under 18, a conviction will result in the death penalty. Members of the public are
obliged to report any homosexual activity to police with 24 hours or risk up to three years in jail –
a scenario that human rights campaigners say will result in a witch-hunt. Ugandans breaking the
new law abroad will be subject to extradition requests.
November 2009: Election results from across the country....
In Maine, voters approved Question 1 by a narrow margin of 57% to 43%, a measure
that overturns the state's marriage equality law passed earlier by their state legislature and
signed by the Governor.
In Washington state, voters approved Referendum 71, a measure that would expand
domestic partnerships to have every state-level right and benefit afforded to married
In New Jersey, Governor Jon Corzine – endorsed by HRC – lost his re-election bid. He
has been a strong ally for LGBT people in New Jersey, and he had pledged repeatedly to
sign a marriage equality bill that could still be passed by legislators later this year.
In Virginia, HRC endorsed Creigh Deeds for governor but unfortunately lost his bid.
Deeds was also a supporter for the LGBT community.
In Kalamazoo, Michigan, 65% of Kalamazoo voters disagreed and voted to approve
Ordinance 1856, expanding the city's existing anti-discrimination law to include sexual
orientation and gender identity.
November 2009: Mark Kleinschmidt was elected as the mayor of Chapel Hill and is the third out
mayor in NC. It was a close race (49% to 43%).
November 2009: Austin City Manager Marc Ott notified the Austin City Council on Monday,
November 2, 2009 that COBRA-like benefits will be made available to the same-sex domestic
partners of City employees. This benefit will make available healthcare coverage to same-sex
partners of City employees in case of the employee’s termination, divorce, or death. The City of
Austin will be the first city in Texas to offer this benefit to its employees. The City of Austin has
had domestic partner benefits since 2006.
November 2009: Sweden’s Lutheran church ordained its first openly gay bishop, just two weeks
after it gave priests the right to wed same-sex couples. Eva Brunne was ordained as bishop of
Stockholm’s diocese in a ceremony
November 11, 2009: Rhode Island Governor vetoes same-sex funeral rights.
November 11, 2009: The Australian Capital Territory has become the first region in Australia to
legalize civil partnership ceremonies for same-sex couples.
November 12, 2009: Purdue University students protest librarian’s anti-gay blog post.
November 17, 2009: The nation’s largest publisher of newspapers serving the gay and lesbian
community has shut down and plans to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
November 18, 2009: Broward County Florida elected first openly gay mayor.
November 20, 2009: Tampa city council approves transgender protections.
November 23, 2009: The FBI is blaming sharp increases in hate crimes involving gays and
religious groups for an overall rise of about 2 percent in hate crimes last year. Data released today
indicate that hate crimes based on sexual orientation rose nearly 11 percent, while religion-based
crimes were up nearly 9 percent.
December 2009: Anti-gay hate crimes surge in Honduras.
December 2009: New York lawmakers rejected a bill on Wednesday December 2, 2009 that
would have allowed gay marriage to be recognized in the state. The measure failed by 12 votes.
NY does not allow civil unions, but has several laws, executive orders and court decisions that
grant many of the rights to gays that heterosexual couples are afforded by civil marriage. If it had
passed, NY would have been the 6th state allowing marriage recognition to same sex couples
(CT, IA, MA, VT, and NH starting in January).
December 2009: The U.S. Supreme Court announced that it has agreed to decide whether a
California law school can legally deny recognition to a Christian students' group because it bars
gay and lesbian members for religious reasons.
December 2, 2009: Members of Cleveland’s transgender community will be protected against
discrimination under legislation passed unanimously by the city council.
December 2, 2009: Homosexuals and transsexuals “will never enter the kingdom of heaven”, a
leading Roman Catholic cardinal said. Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan said that while the
Church regarded homosexuality as an “insult to God”, this did not justify discrimination against
gay and transsexual people.
December 2, 2009: Campbell California elects nation’s youngest gay mayor.
December 12, 2009: The city of Houston TX elected an openly lesbian mayor, former
Comptroller Annise Parker. She soundly defeated her opponent attorney Gene Locke. She is the
first out candidate elected in a large U.S. city. Houston in the past has rejected giving benefits to
same-sex partners of city workers and the state of TX has outlawed gay marriage.
December 15, 2009: The D.C. City Council voted 11-2 in favor of granting marriage licenses to
December 22, 2009: A Chinese city with one of the nation’s highest rates of AIDS has opened a
government-funded gay bar in an outreach effort that has stirred debate over the use of taxpayers’
money. The health department in Dali, a picturesque city on a lake in southwestern Yunnan
province, funded the bar to reach out to China’s increasingly open gay community. Dali is one of
the 10 cities in China most affected by AIDS. Same-sex transmission accounts for about one-third
of new HIV infections in China, the minister of health said this month.