Lesbian and Gay Rights
When I was sixteen years old, I came out and told my family and friends that I was a lesbian. Three months later, my thirteen year old brother came out as well. There was some backlash to this, but not near as much as there no doubt would have been had we grown up twenty years or so earlier. Most people didn't act surprised or didn't seem to care about our sexual orientation. I've heard many people refer to our generation as "the Will & Grace generation" because gays were portrayed so much in the media during our formative years that being around homosexuals became just another part of life. The people who seemed to have issue with my sexual orientation were the older generation, mainly a few of my teachers. For most of my junior year of high school I had been involved in the early childhood education program and held a student teaching position at the local preschool and one of the fourth grade classrooms. I went from being the top student in the program, loved by all of the teachers, to being shunned by most of the staff until I felt so unwelcome that I finally resigned. I spent the rest of my senior year and much of my earlier adulthood battling depression even though most of my friends and family were very supportive of my lifestyle. It took several years to bounce back and be happy with who I am and I find with each passing year, less and less people judge me based on my sexual orientation.
Political Steps Forward for Gay Rights
- Vermont became the first state to legally recognize civil unions between gay couples
- The Supreme Court ruled in Lawrence v. Texas that sodomy laws were unconstitutional
- Same-sex marriage became legal in Massachusetts
- Civil unions became legal in Connecticut and New Jersey
- The House of Representatives approved a bill ensuring equal rights in the workplace for gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals
I'd like to point out that this is the point Barack Obama was elected, and how much more gets accomplished for gay rights from here on out.
- A New York State appeals court unanimously voted that valid same-sex marriages performed in other states must be recognized by employers in New York
- The Supreme Court of Connecticut ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry
- Same-sex marriages began to be officially performed in Connecticut
- The Iowa Supreme Court unanimously rejected the state law banning same-sex marriage. Twenty-one days later, county recorders are required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples
- New Hampshire is the sixth state in the nation to allow same-sex marriage
- President Obama signed a referendum allowing the same-sex partners of federal employees to receive benefits
- Congress approved a law signed in December 2009 that legalizes same-sex marriage in the District of Columbia
- The U.S. Senate voted 65 to 31 in favor of repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell
- New York passes a law to allow same-sex marriage
- The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California ruled 2–1 that Proposition 8, the 2008 referendum that banned same-sex marriage in state, is unconstitutional because it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment
- Washington state became the seventh state to legalize gay marriage
- Maryland became the eight state to legalize gay marriage
- President Barack Obama endorsed same-sex marriage. "It is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married," he said.
- President Obama is re-elected and democrats gain control of the senate. This can only mean good things for gay rights!