The Spark That Lit The Gay Rights Movement

2164 words - 9 pages

As New York City was waking up on Saturday, June 28, 1969, the New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in Greenwich Village. The raid led to riots and protests that lasted several days. Such police harassment was hardly uncommon at the time, but this particular raid proved to be the last straw. What could have been a quickly forgotten brawl instead became “the beginning of the modern struggle for gay civil rights” (Teal). The Stonewall Riots pushed the gay rights movement to the forefront of hot-button topics in the United States, where it has remained ever since (Teal).
The gay rights movement has slowly achieved success since it began gaining momentum after World War II. Despite harassment and police raids on gay bars like the Stonewall Inn, “there was [great] political activity [. . .], aimed in large measure at decriminalizing sodomy” (Levy). While gay rights organizations won some legal reforms in Europe in the mid-twentieth century, American groups still fought for rights as basic as freedom of speech. One, a national gay periodical, had to go to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1958 simply to be given the right to mail its magazine through the American postal service (Levy).
After the Stonewall Riots, the 70s and 80s saw the rapid growth of gay-rights organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign which demanded social and legal reforms. These groups encourage gay men and women to campaign for government positions, leading to the elections of prominent gay rights activists like Harvey Milk and Barney Frank (Levy). In 1993, the Supreme Court of Hawaii indicated a belief that denying marriage to same-sex couples could be sex discrimination, becoming the first state to address the issue. Although voters approved a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage before any changes could be made, the action sparked national debate and led Congress to pass the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996, defining marriage as between a man and a woman (“Hawaii”). Not until 2003 did the Supreme Court rule the anti-sodomy laws still in use in 12 states unconstitutional in Lawrence v. Texas (Levy). The year proved to be momentous for the gay rights movement when the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage unconstitutional (“Goodridge v. the Department of Public Health”). Since then sixteen other states have legalized same-sex marriage, many within the past year, but the battle is not over—not with 33 states maintaining a ban on same-sex marriage (“Defending Marriage”).
Marriage has become the core of the gay rights movement. Early gay-rights activism focused more on acceptance and eliminating discrimination than on access to institutions such as marriage. Today, concerns include “anti-gay bullying at schools, transgender rights, HIV and AIDS issues, and the need for more laws against anti-gay discrimination” (Crary), but marriage equality tends to take precedence over other issues. This...

Find Another Essay On The Spark That Lit the Gay Rights Movement

Ember: The Spark That Started It All

1158 words - 5 pages spells and all. With the anniversary of the games nearing, they seem to be getting worse. It's hard to believe but it's been three years since I was first put in that hellhole. Two years since the Quarter Quell. A little less than a year since we won the rebellion. It's shocks me that its been years; at night, it seems like it was just yesterday. The nightmares bring everything back like a flood; gruesome deaths of past tributes, being able to

The Civil Rights Movement Essay

2482 words - 10 pages rights worker has said, "After a period of time we saw that spark, and that spark became a blaze in our hearts and in the hearts of our brothers and sisters" (Wells, 62). Continuing this idea, she says "One of the greatest things that was so important about (the civil rights movement) was being able to educate, motivate and inspire people from different areas to get up and do something, to take some initiative for themselves" (Wells, 63). The

The Civil Rights Movement

1706 words - 7 pages they would name this park ‘White Park’” the young boy thought to himself. When he asked his parents as to why it was not named green, brown, blue, or yellow park, but instead “White Park” they did not want to explain to their young child the ongoing issue of segregation that was going on in their present day world (Watson). The Civil Rights Movement was a movement to fight for the end of segregation between blacks and whites and additionally

The Civil Rights Movement

3343 words - 14 pages During the 1950s and 1960s, the Civil Rights Movement took place. Black citizens of America were all part of a large, organized struggle for justice and equality. The burden of racism became too much to bear and black Americans, tired of waiting for change, joined forces to protest. It is often acknowledged that the nation that was built on the principles of liberty and democracy was the nation that denied certain people their right to those

The Civil Rights Movement

1810 words - 7 pages , such as those mentioned above, provided the Civil Rights Movement with a great deal of publicity and revealed the intense violence that these activists were faced with. Another such series of events took place in Birmingham, Alabama in the spring of 1963. Considered to be the most segregated city in the country, Martin Luther King, Jr., Reverend Ralph D. Abernathy, and Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth decided to lead a series of marches and protests

The Civil Rights Movement

977 words - 4 pages The first ten amendments to the United States Constitution form what is known as the Bill of Rights. In essence it is a summary of the basic rights held by all U.S. citizens. However, Negro citizens during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950-70’s felt this document and its mandate that guaranteed the civil rights and civil liberties of all people; were interpreted differently for people of color. The freedoms outlined in the Constitution were

The Civil Rights Movement

982 words - 4 pages The Civil Rights Movement The 13th amendment, passed on the first of January, 1865 abolished slavery throughout America. Although African Americans were considered free after this amendment was passed, they still had a long and arduous struggle to absolute freedom. Before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, segregation in the United States was commonly practiced throughout many of the Southern and Border States. Schools, bathrooms, libraries, and even

The Civil Rights Movement - 1705 words

1705 words - 7 pages The Civil Rights Movement “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” This was a speech by Martin Luther King Jr. Even one hundred years after slavery was banned, African Americans were still being treated unfairly. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the most famous leaders of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960’s

The civil rights movement

626 words - 3 pages not easy. He and his family were often in danger. Some people didn't agree with Dr. King's ideas about using nonviolence to gain equality for black people. The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., changed our nation forever. All over our country, people of all races are able to play together and work together because Dr. King had a dream, that all men would be treated equally

The Woman’s Rights Movement

948 words - 4 pages the Constitution, there granting women the rights to vote. In conclusion, the Women’s Right Movement was a success event in the American history. The changes of the r ights to vote for women did not occur with just one request in a day, instead it took women suffragist 144 years to ratify the federal woman suffrage amendment. The women suffragists faced many challenges and obstacles, but their determination has won the fight. Although, today the rights for women to vote is not that important, it was once the famous and revolutionary event in the American history.

The Civil Rights Movement - 1662 words

1662 words - 7 pages thousands of people gathered at the monument about their struggles and ideas about segregation and discrimination. Selections were read, tributes were given, and speeches were articulated, many of which impacted the outcome of the Civil Rights Movement significantly(Official Program for the March on Washington). Out of all of the speakers that day Martin Luther King Jr., president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, evidently had

Similar Essays

The Movement That Revolutionized The Civil Rights: Black Panthers

1672 words - 7 pages The Black Panther Movement made a progressive contribution to the US and civil rights. In order for a person to understand what the Civil Rights movement was, they would need to understand what political movements were involved, that made a big impact on the Black Community. What was the Civil Rights movement? The Civil Rights movement lasted from the late 1960s and early 1970s. But, the Civil Rights was not born during that time. When Abraham

This Essay Deals With The Civil Rights Movement. It Talks About Events That Define That Era

648 words - 3 pages described in these pages obviously fit the era of the 1960s and early 1970s very well. The focus of history textbooks and classroom discussions of this time period are the protests that took over our nation. The main point of Civil Rights movement was to gain equality and a voice in the community. The 1960s was a time of change, and due to the Civil Rights movement, changes occurred in great numbers, and the black community was victorious. In

Accounts Of The Civil Rights Movement: This Essay Is An Account Of The Civil Rights Movement As Told By African Americans Living In The Us At That Time

780 words - 3 pages understand how we got to the point that we atnow. Our ancestors shaped not only American society but global society. One of these life-changing events was the civil rights movement. African American's lives were forever changedby several courageous and heroic actions. The importance of these actions are preserved throughmovies, books, and physical evidence. The most important aspect of preserving these memoriesis speaking to the people who lived through

The "Spark" That United America Essay

1012 words - 4 pages , merchants, journalists, lawyers, and other powerful persons. Associations known as the Sons of Liberty were formed to organize opposition to the Stamp Act. Merchants boycotted English goods and stamp distributors were forced to resign and stamps were destroyed. The Stamp Act Congress adopted the Declaration of Rights and Grievances, which declared that freeborn Englishmen could not be taxed without their consent, and, since the colonists were not