Pride Month - History of LGBT equalityWatch
Just a decade ago, the Obama administration signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which added gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability to the federal hate crime law. Since then, the Supreme Court issued two rulings on the subject of same sex marriage, firstly ruling that interpreting marriage and spouse to only apply to opposite sex unions was unconstitutional (United States v. Windsor) in 2013, then 2 years later ruling that the fundamental right to marry was guaranteed to same sex couples by the 14th amendment (Obergefell v. Hodges), which required all states to recognise and perform marriage for same sex couples.
Meanwhile in the UK, within two years of the stonewall riots in the US, the nullity of marriage act was passed, explicitly banning same sex marriage, leading to the first gay pride march in 1972, while homosexual acts were still criminalised until 1980, where in Scotland acts between two men over the age of 21 "in private" were decriminalised. A year later the European Court of Human Rights would strike down the criminalisation in Northern Ireland (Dudgeon v. United Kingdom), resulting in the decriminalisation a year later. However, under the Thatcher government, Section 28 was introduced - banning schools from teaching the acceptability of homosexuality; which would remain in British law until 2003 and resulted in the founding of Stonewall UK. In 1994, the age of consent for homosexual acts was lowered from 21 to 18, still 2 years older than that of heterosexual acts, until 2001 where the European Court of Human Rights ruling in 1997 against discriminatory ages of consent was passed through parliament.
In 2002, same sex couples were granted equal rights to adopt, and were allowed to gain civil partnerships two years later - the same year as the gender recognition act was passed, allowing trans people to legally change their gender. In 2010 the Equality Act would be passed, making discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity illegal, and 3 years later same sex marriage would gain royal assent in England and Wales, followed a year later by Scotland. Northern Ireland would also vote in favour of gay marriage equality, however the largest party in Stormont, the DUP would proceed to block any change to the law.
Globally now 29 countries recognise same sex marriage, while 14 retain the death penalty for homosexuality, while dozens of countries have decriminalised, in whole or in part, homosexuality since the stonewall riots.
What do you think the next 50 years will bring for LGBTQ+ equality?