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The Goals, Accomplishments, and Turning Points for Homosexuals

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"Gay liberation is a radical movement that advocates a radical change in society-its social structures, power structures, its racism and sexual dogmas. We have a commitment not just to homosexual liberation but to total human liberation" wrote Len Richmond and Gary Noguera in The Gay Liberation Book. This quote represents the gay liberation movement better than any other quote out there. Homosexuals face a battle in this age, and it has been going on for longer than 2,000 years. In recent years, however, gays and lesbians don't have to deal with being burned at the stake or being murdered in their sleep. Now, they fight for the right to adopt, marry, fight in the military, and to be treated as equals.

Mention of homosexuality dates all the way back 2200 B.C.E., in 6th Dynasty Egypt, when King Neferkare and General Sisene allegedly had an affair (Aaron's Timeline). Parts of Sappho's songs describe lesbian acts, and Plato's Symposium discusses homosexual love (Aaron's Timeline). Alcman wrote a hymn about two females falling in love and getting married (Aaron's Timeline). In 570 B.C.E., homo eroticism is the main theme to decorate pottery with (Aaron's Timeline).

Moving forward many more years, to colonial America, procreation and family life were the main ideas of the time. Homosexual acts were viewed as criminals, and in 1610, it was officially punishable by death (ProQuest Timeline). The Massachusetts Bay Colony provided the verse from Leviticus in the Old Testament of the Bible, stating that if a man sleeps with another man, it should be punishable by death (ProQuest Timeline). Women were treated less harshly than males when it came to this law, however the New Haven Colony became the first (and only) colony to make lesbian acts illegal (ProQuest Timeline). This was soon repealed, however. Acceptance of gays was first sparked by Pennsylvania banning the death penalty for gay acts in 1786 (ProQuest Timeline). The modern day movement, though, was started by the Stonewall Riots in New York City.

On June 28, 1969, some gay customers at the Stonewall Inn were arrested for dressing up as the opposite sex (ProCon Marriage). As justification, the policemen said they had entered the bar because the owner was selling liquor without a liquor license ('Village' Raid New York Times). The policemen, though, were unnecessarily rude to the clientele. The men got mad and began throwing bricks, bottles, and many other things at the policemen ('Village' Raid New York Times). Soon, the crowd grew to nearly 400 people, all enraged ('Village' Raid New York Times). After this, homosexuals fought harder than ever to make things the way they should be. "But I say this, we have made progress and we will make more," Obama says at the White House, at an event celebrating the 40th year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots (Martin, Stonewall). The progress he is talking about is working hard to remove DOMA.

On September 21, 1996, Bill Clinton signed the federal Defense of Marriage Act into law. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) states that marriage is a legal union between two different genders, or a "traditional" marriage. It also says that the state does not have to recognize gay marriage. This prevents same-sex partners from visitation rights if one were to get sent to the hospital, taxation rights, and being a part of family health care. In some cases, states offer civil unions instead of marriage. However, gay couples do not always like this other option, Ellen Degeneres is an example. "It feels when someone says you can have a contract, and you'll still have insurance and you'll get all that, it sounds to me like saying, 'well you can sit there, you just can't sit there.'"

The debate on same-sex marriage first sparked when Hawaii's supreme court said that the state could not ban same-sex marriages without a "compelling reason" to do so. Massachusetts then became the first state to legalize gay marriage on May 17, 2004. In the trial of Goodridge versus Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Massachusetts states "barred access to the protections, benefits, and obligations of civil marriage, a person who enters into an intimate, exclusive union with another of the same sex is arbitrarily deprived of membership in one of our community's most rewarding and cherished institutions. That exclusion is incompatible with the constitutional principles of respect for individual autonomy and equality under law."

Since then, gay marriage has been legalized in eight other states, as well: Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Washington, and Maryland. Other states have voted to ban same-sex marriage. On July 19, 2011, President Obama announced that he supports repealing DOMA. If gay marriage is allowed in more states, it will make same-sex adoption easier to get.

When people push against same-sex adoption, it's usually discrimination against homosexuals than the well-being of the child. People are afraid that if gays and lesbians adopt, the children they raise will be gay/lesbian as well. However, "research suggests that sexual identities (including gender identity, gender-role behavior, and sexual orientation) develop in much the same ways among children

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