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THE GAY LIBERATION MOVEMENT DURING THE 1990s

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Prior to the 1990s, there had been a general agreement among gay liberation/civil rights groups that priority should be given to:

bulletRepealing restrictive state sexual laws;
bulletPromoting anti-discrimination laws to protect gays in employment and accommodation, and
bulletPromoting 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 century.

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 Developments during the 1990s:

bullet1990: Three 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.
bullet1991:
bullet The Hawaiian group challenged the state's decision in circuit court in 1991. They lost.
bulletSimon LeVay published the results of a study which showed that the brain structures of heterosexual and homosexual men differed.
bullet1992:
bulletThe 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 Forces.
bulletThe 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.
bullet1993:
bulletThe Hawaii 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.
bulletA TV ad for a Danish newspaper, Politiken, featured a male couple kissing. This is believed to have been a world first.
bulletDean Hammer published the results of his study that found a "gay gene" on the X chromosome of males.
bulletThe 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.
bullet1994:
bulletIn 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."
bulletIn 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.
bulletAlso 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.
bulletIkea 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.
bulletA British gay group Outrage! revealed that eight Anglican bishops were closeted gays.
bullet1996:
bulletThe 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 of protection.
bulletOn 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.
bulletDuring 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.
bulletIn June, the Unitarian Universalist Association approved a resolution at their general meeting in favor the legalization of same-sex marriages.
bullet1997:
bulletOn 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.
bulletOn JUL-4, the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) was founded. 1
bulletOn JUL-22, two lesbian couples and one gay couple in Vermont brought a lawsuit to force the state to issue them marriage licenses.
bulletOn 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
bullet1998:
bulletVoters 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.
bulletVoters in Hawaii approved an amendment allowing the state legislature to ban same-sex marriages.
bulletAn 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.
bulletOn July 21st, Waheed Alli became the first openly gay member of the House of Lords in Britain.
bullet1999:
bulletOn Jan-30, the German government honored lesbian and gay victims of the Nazi Holocaust.
bulletThe 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." 3 They:
bulletexpressed concern about harassment of gay and lesbian youth.
bulletcondemned reparative therapy as potentially harmful and of little or no effectiveness
bulletdescribe 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.
bulletRoman 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." More details.
bulletOn 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:
bulletWiden the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples, or
bulletTo create a new law allowing them to enter into civil unions which would grant them the same rights as marriage.

The legislators elected to do the latter.

bulletThe 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 disappointed."

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Related essays in this web site:

bulletSame-sex marriage and civil unions
bulletSame-sex marriage in Alaska
bulletSame-sex marriage in Hawaii
bulletSame-sex marriage in Vermont

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References:

  1. The International Lesbian and Gay Association has a web site at: http://www.ilga.org/default.htm
  2. "APA Council of Representatives Passes Resolution on So-Called Reparative Therapy," APA news release. See: http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/
  3. "Just the facts about sexual orientation," can be read  at: http://www.glsen.org/binary-data/ This is an Acrobat PDF file. You can obtain a free software to read these files from Adobe Acrobat reader.

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Copyright 2002 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2002-JUL-23
Latest update: 2002-JUL-23
Author: B.A. Robinson

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