Love is free, but not everyone is free to express their love. This country has a past checkered with inequality and discrimination, but officials continue to work to rid the U.S. of prejudice. With recent laws enacted, it seems same-sex rights will be guaranteed for a long time to come. This is a brief recap of the fight for love in America:
1924: Henry Gerber forms the very first gay-rights organization in the country. The organization eventually disbands in Chicago due to pressure from police.
1969: The Stonewall Riots begin. A protest by a small group of activists, turned into widespread chaos. During a June raid, NYPD forces were overwhelmed by more than 2,000 gay, lesbian, and transgender supporters.
1976: Harvey Milk won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Milk is credited with creating a gay rights ordinance, which protected gays and lesbians from being discriminated against in the workplace. Only a few years later, Milk was shot and killed by a fellow politician.
1993: The “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is implemented in the United States Military. This new policy allowed homosexuals to serve, but banned any homosexual activity while serving.
2000: Vermont becomes the very first state to legalize civil unions. According to this law, same-sex couples will now be ensured the same rights as other married couples.
2004: Massachusetts legalizes same-sex marriage. Many states had already recognized civil unions, but until this decision was made, some states did not feel inclined to actually honor these unions as “marriages.” This was the first step in the right direction towards total equality.
2013: NBA player, Jason Collins becomes the first openly gay athlete in professional sports. Collins made the announcement in Sports Illustrated, letting the world know that he was a 34-year-old gay man playing professional basketball. Collins’ announcement is met with overwhelming support from fellow athletes and fans around the world.