Gay people and marriage in America: ‘We’ve come a long way, baby.’



Gay Marriage: Seventy Years from Disease to Presidential Blessing (CenarioMT, Brazil)


“In the U.S., the elimination of the definition of homosexuality as an illness by the American Psychiatric Association only occurred in 1973, but it had been written with ink so durable that one year later, 37 percent of psychiatrists who registered with the association tried to re-include it in its manuals - although without success.”


By Alexandre Martins


Translated By Brandi Miller


May 10, 2012


Brazil – CenarioMT – Original Article (Portuguese)

Marchers for homosexual rights in San Francisco, 1978. For the American gay community, it has been a remarkable few decades of progress.

BBC NEWS VIDEO: Obama's gay marriage comments trigger global response, May 10, 00:05:31RealVideo

The statement made yesterday U.S. President Barack Obama in defense of marriage between people of the same sex is an important milestone in his country’s struggle for equal rights. And it happened only 70 years since homosexuality was considered a disease by North American psychiatrists.


“Homosexuality is a disease.” In 1942, this idea was defended by the American Psychiatric Association. It took seventy years for a U.S. president to assert for the first time, and without the artifice of the “language of Washington” - which comedian George Carlin referred to when he said, “They speak of course with great caution, as they have to take care not to actually say anything” - that “people of the same sex should be allowed to marry.”


In the U.S., the elimination of the definition of homosexuality as an illness only occurred in 1973, but it had been written with ink so durable that one year later, 37 percent of psychiatrists who registered with the association tried to re-include it in its manuals, although without success. In 1975, it was time for the American Psychological Association to follow the same path: homosexuality was no longer considered a disease and came to be understood as “a normal variant of human sexuality.”


By this time, the equal rights movement had won victories that carried national repercussions. Harvey Milk - the politician whose story is told in the 2008 Gus Van Sant film and who became the first openly-gay man to be elected to political office in the state of California. But history puts another name at the top of the list of American pioneers who started the trend of coming out of the closet: Kathy Kozachenko, elected in April 1974 in the city of Ann Arbor, Michigan, on the Human Rights Party ticket.


The decade of the 1970s - troubled but full of breakthroughs in the fight for equal rights - culminated in a 50,000-person march on Washington, with the goal of “putting an end to any type of social, economic or legislative oppression of the gay and lesbian community.” This 1979 demonstration infuriated the more conservative sectors of the country, of which Reverend Jerry Falwell was one of the greatest exponents. In response to the march on Washington, Falwell uttered a phrase that would linger in the country’s imagination: “God did not create Adam and Steve, but Adam and Eve.”


The following decade was marked by the two events that are bound together: the gay community’s first cases of HIV and the Reagan Administration’s ban on admitting homosexuals into the military - a law that would be slightly retouched in 1993 by Bill Clinton: if before homosexuals were prohibited from taking part in military life, from that year on, they could be recruited provided they didn’t publicly display their sexual orientation. The law became known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and was only overturned last year by the Obama Administration. Starting September 20, 2011, homosexuals could join the U.S. Armed Forces.


NU, The Netherlands: Marriage in America: ‘Man, Woman and God’
Guardian, U.K.: How Obama's Gay Marriage Move Changes Presidential Race
CenarioMT, Brazil: Gay Marriage: 70 Years from Disease to Presidential Blessing
The Zimbabwe Mail, Zimbabwe: Obama's Gay Stance Called ‘Worst Form of Satanism’
La Informacion, U.S.: In Latin America, Only Argentine Leader Stands with Obama
Liberation, France: Mr. Obama and Gay Marriage: ‘Courage’
Mail & Guardian, South Africa: South Africa: Pride, Vigilance, on Gay Rights
Globa & Mail, Canada: From Obama, a Bid to Broaden Stream of American Life
Toronto Star, Canada: Obama Tilts Scales Toward Compassion and Equity
Macleans, Canada: Obama Passes the Leadership Test
Irish Times, Ireland Mr. Obama's 'Brave and Welcome' Move
Irish Examiner, Ireland: Let's Be Honest About How We Live Our Lives
Independent, U.K.: 'Full Marks' to President Barack Obama
Independent, U.K.: At last, Obama Asks U.S. to Open Door to Acceptance
Guardian, U.K. Obama's Historic Affirmation of Gay Marriage
Economist, U.K.: Good for Obama; But Bad for Gay Marriage
Telegraph, U.K.: Import of U.S. Culture War Backfires on Cameron



Despite advances over the past four decades, it was only in 2003that sodomy stopped being a crime in 14 U.S. states – and only by decision of the Supreme Court. In 2012, same-sex marriage is legal in six U.S. states: New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont and New Hampshire. In the rest of the country, is also permitted in the capital, Washington D.C., and among the Suquamish Indian tribes (Washington) and Coquille (Oregon). Although Oregon prohibits this type of matrimony, the Coquille Tribe is recognized as a sovereign nation within the state, so is not bound by its constitution.




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[Posted by Worldmeets.US May 11, 8:09pm]



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