Timeline on the gay rights movement
A look at key moments over the past 50 years in the advancement of gay rights in the United States.
• 1960: All 50 states have anti-sodomy laws, many of which target intimate acts between persons of the same sex.
• 1969: Members of the gay community in New York riot after police raid the Stonewall Inn, a bar in Greenwich Village frequented by homosexuals. The demonstrations become a catalyst for the gay liberation movement.
• 1970-73: Courts in Minnesota, Washington, and Kentucky rebuff lawsuits filed by same-sex couples seeking marriage licenses.
• 1986: 57 percent of Americans think homosexual relations between consenting adults should not be legal, while 32 percent believe they should be legal.
• 1991: Three gay couples in Hawaii challenge the constitutionality of laws limiting marriage to one man and one woman.
• 1993: Hawaii Supreme Court provisionally rules in favor of same-sex marriage.
• 1996: Congress passes the Defense of Marriage Act, which bars same-sex married spouses from obtaining the same federal benefits as heterosexual married spouses.
• 1996: 68 percent of Americans think same-sex marriage should not be legal.
• 1997: Comedian Ellen DeGeneres announces she's gay on her TV show.
• 1998: Hawaii voters approve a constitutional amendment allowing state lawmakers to ban same-sex marriage, which they do. Alaska voters pass a similar amendment.
• 1999: The Vermont Supreme Court rules that the traditional definition of marriage discriminates against same-sex couples. It gives the Legislature the option of amending the law or creating a new institution that provides them with the benefits of marriage.