The Lgbt Civil Rights Movement Essay

The Lgbt Civil Rights Movement Essay

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It would be difficult to cite an historical example of social progress in the United States that advanced more rapidly than LGBT rights. Erupting in 1969 with the Stonewall riots, the LGBT civil rights movement has made immense progress in its forty-six year history. Compared to the time frame of the women’s rights movement, where it took roughly 71 years to achieve the right to vote (given that the movement’s true beginning was in 1848 with the Declaration of Sentiments), LGBT Americans have gained significant access in a short period of time to the rights afforded to other American citizens despite considerable social and legal opposition. From the military to marriage, the LGBT population in the United States has made substantial progress in achieving the equality guaranteed to them under the same Constitution to which all other citizens are subjected, with the most recent development being Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), which granted same-sex couples the right to marry in all 50 states.
It would discredit the experiences of LGBT Americans to say that they did not face discrimination and bigotry prior to the Stonewall riots of 1969. These violent demonstrations simply brought to the public’s attention the injustices being served to Americans based on their sexual orientation. After police raided the Stonewall Inn, a well-known gay bar in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City, the patrons of the bar resisted police intervention resulting in riots attracting a considerable number of gay men and women. The riots lasted for days, bringing to the public eye the many injustices faced by LGBT Americans (like the illegality of “gay” establishments, among too many others). Despite the violence, the Stonewall riots are seen b...


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...rriage debate is over, there is still much work to be done for the LGBT community to achieve true equality in the public and legal eye.
To say that Obergefell v. Hodges was significant to the LGBT civil rights movement would be an understatement. The effects of the decision extend far beyond the realm of marriage equality. It reflects a serious change in tone of Americans toward not only same-sex couples, but LGBT issues as a whole. With increased media attention on injustices served to the LGBT community in the wake of Obergefell, it will be no surprise to see the advancement of the constitutional rights that are guaranteed to LGBT Americans just as much as they are to any other Americans. As attorney and activist Dan Gorton notes, it is “only when hatred is considered the natural order of things [that] equality seem[s] like a loss of freedom for anyone” (Gorton).

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