Key Dates for Gay-Rights Movement in US
1950: Mattachine Society, widely considered first national gay rights organization, is formed.
1957: Frank Kameny is fired from job as government astronomer because he’s gay; his appeal later reaches Supreme Court before being denied.
1969: Stonewall Inn riots break out after patrons of New York City gay bar protest police harassment.
1977: After campaign led by Anita Bryant and other conservatives, Miami-area voters overturn ordinance banning anti-gay discrimination.
1978: In San Francisco, Mayor George Moscone and pioneering gay politician Harvey Milk are assassinated.
1979: First national gay-rights march on Washington.
1985: Rock Hudson dies, after acknowledging he had AIDS
1986: U.S. Supreme Court upholds Georgia anti-sodomy law criminalizing consensual gay sex
1987: Second national gay-rights march on Washington; AIDS memorial quilt displayed on National Mall
1993: "Don’t ask, don’t tell" policy implemented for U.S. military, allowing gays to serve but not to be open about their sexual orientation.
1996: Congress passes Defense of Marriage Act, stipulating that federal government will not recognize same-sex marriages.
1997: Ellen DeGeneres comes out publicly as lesbian in appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
1998: Gay university student Matthew Shepard killed in Wyoming.
2000: Vermont becomes first state to establish civil unions; Supreme Court upholds Boy Scouts’ right to exclude gays.
2003: Supreme Court strikes down Texas law criminalizing consensual gay sex.
2004: Same-sex marriages start in Massachusetts in compliance with state high court ruling; many other states adopt bans on same-sex marriage.
2008: California court orders legalization of same-sex marriage; voters overturn the ruling by approving Proposition 8 limiting marriage to one man, one woman.
2010: Appeals court strikes down Florida’s three-decade-old ban on adoptions by gays.
2011: Military’s "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy is repealed; New York becomes largest state to approve same-sex marriage.
2012: President Barack Obama endorses same-sex marriage; voters approve it in referendums in Maine, Maryland and Washington state.
2013: Rhode Island, Delaware, Minnesota raise number of states with same-sex marriage to 12; Boy Scouts vote to let openly gay boys participate.