May 21 in LGBTQ History

1966: A coalition of homophile organizations across the country organizes simultaneous demonstrations for Armed Forces Day. The Los Angeles group holds a 15-car motorcade (which has been identified as the nation’s first gay pride parade) and activists hold pickets in the other cities.

1970: Bella Abzug-running for the 19th District congressional seat in New York City-addresses a meeting of the Gay Activists Alliance, becoming one of the first major U.S. politicians to openly court the gay vote.

1976: Democratic presidential candidate Jimmy Carter announces that if he’s elected he will support and sign a federal civil rights bill outlawing discrimination against gays and lesbians.

1979: Dan White is found guilty on two counts of voluntary manslaughter, not first-degree murder, in the shooting deaths of George Moscone and Harvey Milk. The verdict – precipitated in part by White’s claim that a steady diet of junk food diminished his capacity to act rationally on the day of the killings (the so-called “Twinkie Defense”) unleashes a wave of rage and disbelief in the gay community, culminating in a massive riot, the White Night Riot, at City Hall.  By the time the violence is over, gay demonstrators have burned a dozen police cars and more than 160 people, including 50 policemen, have been injured.

1985: The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Hardwick v. Bowers strikes down the state of Georgia’s sodomy law as unconstitutional.

1996: Hungary legalizes same-sex unions, first among the ex-communist countries, and as 5th country worldwide. The Parliament voted 207–73 in favor for the bill.

2003: Marilyn Musgrave, U.S. congresswoman from Colorado, introduces the Federal Marriage Amendment in the U.S. House of Representatives with 108 co-sponsors.

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