May 6 in LGBTQ History

1868: In a letter to an early sex-law reformer, Karl Maria Kertbeny is first known to have privately used the new terms “Homosexual” and “Heterosexual”, the words aren’t in print publicly until the following year.

1933: In Berlin, young Nazis attack and destroy the Institute of Sexual Research. A few days later, the institute’s priceless collection of more than 20,000 publications and 5,000 photographs is burned in a public ceremony.

1971: The Gay Activists Alliance “Firehouse” – a combination gay community center and social club, meant as an alternative to New York’s bars and baths (many of which were operated by organized crime) – opens in SoHo at 99 Wooster Street.

2008: The Michigan Supreme Court rules that the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage also bars public sector employees from offering domestic partnership benefits.

2009: Maine governor John Baldacci legalizes same-sex marriage in that state, becoming the first governor in the nation to sign a same-sex marriage law.  However, citizens vote to overturn that law when they go to the polls in November and Maine became the 31st state to ban marriage equality.

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