April 26 in LGBTQ History

1980: CBS broadcasts an hour-long documentary entitled “Gay Power, Gay Politics” that alleges to be about the emergence of gay political clout in San Francisco, but instead focuses obsessively on more lascivious aspects of gay sexuality, making them seem like the focus of the entire gay rights movement. In one segment, close-ups track the arrival of drag queens at the city’s Beaux Arts Ball while voice-over narration compares modern-day San Francisco to the decadence of 1930s Berlin.  The program outrages the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, which sends an angry letter of protest to CBS. Later, reacting to a complaint from the National Gay Task Force, the National News Council rules that CBS did indeed unfairly “exaggerate political concessions to gays and make those concessions appear as threats to public morals and decency…. Justification cannot be found for the degree of attention given to sadomasochism or the treatment of the Beaux Arts Ball and the Halloween sequences.” The network is also faulted for doctoring the show’s soundtrack in such a way as to bolster its conclusions.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gay_Power,_Gay_Politics

1994: The United States Coast Guard makes public a memo issued by Commandant Thomas Fisher barring anti-gay discrimination against the service’s civilian employees. Uniformed personnel are still subject to discharge under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”.

2000: Vermont becomes the first state in the U.S. to legalize civil unions and registered partnerships between same-sex couples.

2005: Civil unions begin in New Zealand.

2007: The legislature of New Hampshire passes legislation for civil unions, which give same-sex couples many state rights of marriage.

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