Prior to the 1990s, there had been a general agreement among gay liberation/civil rights
groups that priority should be given to:
Repealing restrictive state sexual laws;
Promoting anti-discrimination laws to protect gays in employment and
Promoting hate-crimes legislation that would assign extra penalties for
criminal acts motivated by homophobia.
Those within the movement were surprised when three same-sex couples
applied for marriage licenses in Hawaii. Most gays and lesbians figure that
the question of same-sex marriage would not be raised until sometime in the 21st
Developments during the 1990s:
same-sex couples (Ninia Baehr, Genora Dancel, Tammy Rodrigues, Antoinette
Pregil, Pat Lagon and Joseph Melilio) applied for marriage licenses from
the State of Hawaii. They were refused.
group challenged the state's decision in circuit court in 1991. They lost.
Simon LeVay published the results of a study which showed that the
brain structures of heterosexual and homosexual men differed.
The Canadian Armed Forces ceased discrimination against
gay and lesbian soldiers. Lieut. Michelle Douglas, had been removed from
service because she is a lesbian. She won a lawsuit against the Armed
The U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) issued a report stating
that almost 17,000 soldiers had been discharged during the 1980s due to
their homosexual orientation.
Supreme Court ruled on MAY-27 that the state's refusal to grant
marriage licenses was unconstitutional. It violated the Hawai'ian
Constitution's equal protection guarantees against gender discrimination.
A TV ad for a Danish
newspaper, Politiken, featured a male couple kissing. This is
believed to have been a world first.
Dean Hammer published the results of his study that found a "gay
gene" on the X chromosome of males.
The U.S. Congress voted to implement the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell,
Don't Pursue" policy concerning gays in the military. Discharges
increased under the policy.
In July, the American Psychological Association released a Statement on
Homosexuality. It stated that homosexuality is neither
a mental illness nor moral depravity. It is a normal way by which a
minority expresses love and sexuality. Gay men and lesbians "function
every bit as well as heterosexuals." Sexual orientation is not
chosen, but is determined "very early in the life cycle, possibly
even before birth."
In August, The APA sent a proposal to one of its committees
that would declare as unethical both attempts by a psychologist to
change a person's sexual orientation through therapy, and referral of a patient to a therapist or organization who
attempts to change people's sexual orientation.
Also in August, Jay
Brause and Gene Dugan -- two gays -- challenged an Alaskan 1996
law that restricted marriage as being between only between one man and one woman.
Ikea placed an ad
on TV which featured two men shopping for a table together. It was one
ad in a series which was designed to show that all kinds of people shop
for furniture at Ikea. This is believed to be the first TV ad which
portrayed two gays as an ordinary couple.
A British gay group Outrage! revealed that eight Anglican
bishops were closeted gays.
The U.S. Supreme Court, in Romer vs. Evans
overturned the anti-gay Colorado Amendment 2 which prohibited
municipalities from passing anti-discrimination laws to protect gays and
lesbians. The ruling specified that gays and lesbians are a group worthy
On December 3, Hawaiian Judge Kevin Chang of Circuit Court issued a
46 page ruling that the
State of Hawaii failed to show a "compelling state interest" to
justify the continuation of the ban against same-sex marriages. He
wrote: " ...there is a diversity in the structure and configuration of
families" today, including single parents, divorced parents,
stepparents, adoptive parents and gay and lesbian parents.
During April, the Dutch
House of Representatives passed two resolutions. One asked the
government to submit a bill which would recognize gay and lesbian
relationships. It stated in part: "There is no objective
justification for the ban on marriage of couples of the same sex."
The other called for legislation that would give equal adoption rights
for both homosexual couples and single people.
In June, the Unitarian Universalist Association approved a
resolution at their general meeting
in favor the legalization of
On the MAY-30 episode of
Ellen, Ellen DeGeneres became the first openly lesbian actor to
play the lead role as a lesbian in a TV sitcom. Chrysler, Mazda, Wendy's
and J.C. Penney withdrew their ads from this episode. However, ABC did
not lose any advertising revenue. They charged replacement advertisers
twice the normal rate.
On JUL-4, the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA)
was founded. 1
On JUL-22, two lesbian couples and one gay couple in Vermont brought
a lawsuit to force the state to issue them marriage licenses.
On AUG-14, the APA published a news release about a recently
passed resolution "on so-called reparative therapy." The
resolution "raises ethical concerns about attempts to change
sexual orientation, reaffirms psychology's opposition to homophobia
and client's rights to unbiased treatment." 2
Voters in Alaska approved Ballot Measure 2 which amended the state constitution
to outlawed same-sex marriage.
It was the first time that an
identified group has been stripped of constitutional rights in Alaska, and
assigned second-class citizen status.
Voters in Hawaii approved an amendment allowing the state legislature
to ban same-sex marriages.
An NBC sitcom, Will
and Grace was aired. It is structured around two gay men and a couple
of heterosexual women. It debuted in the fall and is still being
produced as of 2002-JUL.
On July 21st, Waheed Alli became the first openly gay member of the
House of Lords in Britain.
On Jan-30, the German government honored lesbian and gay victims of
the Nazi Holocaust.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, American
Counseling Association, American Association of School Administrators,
American Federation of Teachers, American Psychological Association,
American School Health Association, Interfaith Alliance Foundation,
National Association of School Psychologists, National Association of
Social Workers and National Education Association jointly issued a document titled: "Just
the facts about sexual orientation." 3They:
expressed concern about harassment of gay and lesbian youth.
transformational ministries as representing only one part of
Christianity -- those faith groups which view homosexuality as
outside God's will, and incompatible with Christianity. They cite
other denominations as supporting equal rights, and protection
against discrimination, for gays and lesbians.
Roman Catholic Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of
the Faith (CDF) released a "Notification Regarding Sister Jeannine
Gramick, SSND, and Father Robert Nugent, SDS" on JUL-13. They had organized New Ways Ministry in
order to promote "justice and reconciliation between lesbian and gay
Catholics and the wider Catholic community." The CDF concluded that Gramick
and Nugent disregarded "the intrinsic evil of homosexual acts
and the objective disorder of the homosexual inclination." The CDF permanently prohibited
them "from any pastoral work
involving homosexual persons and are ineligible, for an undetermined period, for
any office in their respective religious institutes."
On December-20, the Vermont Supreme Court ruled that the current
marriage law in the state unfairly discriminated against gay and lesbian
couples. They ordered the legislature to either:
Widen the definition of
marriage to include same-sex couples, or
To create a new law allowing
them to enter into civil unions which would grant them the same rights
The legislators elected to do the latter.
The Queer as Folk
TV program debuted in England. "Its steamy, pill popping, no
holds-barred depiction of life in Manchester's club scene had tongues
wagging as soon as it was commissioned, and the rumormongers weren't