gay couple

The History of Homosexuality: Same-Sex Marriage in the USA

The first legal challenges to the ban on same-sex couples marrying in the US came in the early 1970s, without success: Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in 1971 that a ban on SSM wasn’t unconstitutional, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case regarding SSM in 1972, “for want of a substantial federal question.” That denial blocked lower federal courts from addressing the matter of same-sex marriage for decades. (more…)

same sex marriage uk

The History of Homosexuality: Same-Sex Marriage in the UK

Civil partnerships have been legal in England and Wales since 2005. CPs granted many of the same rights as marriages, without permitting the use of the word itself. The 2004 Civil Partnership Act also prohibited religious iconography or terminology being used in CP ceremonies. They were strictly secular, robbing LGBT couples of reciting the same time-honoured vows as straight folk. Nonetheless, within the first decade, over 60,000 civil partnerships had been formed. (more…)

gay rights civil partnerships

The History of Homosexuality: Civil Partnerships

One of the core aims of the queer emancipation movement, following the decriminalisation of homosexuality, was same-sex partner recognition. Marriage, the state previously reserved for long-term heterosexual domestic partners, has obvious religious connotations, but it also comes with a number of additional rights granted by the state, including but not limited to tax-free inheritance, next-of-kinship (which enables everything from hospital visitation to deciding if it’s time to pull the plug), joint tax filing, joint insurance, joint ownership of property, and so on. (more…)

judge gavel legal

The History of Homosexuality: Legal Challenges

The queer emancipation movement has had more dealings with the courts than the decriminalisation of homosexuality and the legalisation of same-sex marriage. First after decriminalisation was an equal age of consent. It took a 1997 ruling by the European Commission of Human Rights to confirm that the UK’s unequal age of consent was a violation of the European Convention of Human Rights, a wrong which wasn’t corrected until 2000. (more…)

gay rights protest

The History of Homosexuality: Radicalisation vs Assimilation

For hundreds of years when being queer was criminal in western society, the public face of queerfolk was the most visible members of the community, those who were unable to hide by passing as heterosexual and consequently, those most often brought before the law. Trans* individuals, cross-dressers, and those who eschewed the gender binary were obvious, easy targets. When the political climate became unbearably repressive, and the civil rights movement to emancipate other minorities took off, one of the first acts of the community was to change the image of queerness in the public consciousness. (more…)

gay pride born this way

The History of Homosexuality: Gay Pride

The hundred-year period leading up to 1970 was a hugely significant one for queerfolk. From a series of small, disparate socio-sexual communities with no real sense of wider identity or framework for understanding their orientation, to an established subculture with a naming convention, identity, and political presence. In response to a repressive legal atmosphere in the UK and USA, “homophile organisations” such as the Mattachine Society and Daughters of Bilitis were formed with the aim of politically liberating queerfolk. While other rallys and marches had been organised in the past, it was the uprising following the botched raid of the Stonewall Inn in New York which really provided the catalyst for the modern Pride movement. (more…)