Showing posts with label Gay Rights History. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gay Rights History. Show all posts

May 10, 2019

“Lavender Scare” Bill Looks To Address The Witch Hunt of the Government's Purge on Gays in Government

                               Image result for lavender scare

By Julie Moreau
Democratic lawmakers are trying to make amends for a dark period in U.S. history — when thousands of federal employees were fired or forced to resign between the late 1940s and 1960s because they were thought to be gay.
The reintroduced Lavender Offense Victim Exoneration Act, or LOVE Act, aims to redress the harms done during the so-called Lavender Scare. At least 1,000 people were purged from the State Department alone.
Senators Kenneth Wherry, left, and J. Lister Hill conducted the first congressional investigation into homosexuality in the federal workforce.
Senators Kenneth Wherry left, and J. Lister Hill conducted the first congressional investigation into homosexuality in the federal workforce.U.S. Senate Historical Office
“It is long past time for the U.S. government to recognize the stories of the LGBTI members of the State Department who were treated unfairly during the ‘Lavender Scare,’ and to offer them and their families a measure of justice,” stated Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., one of the bill’s sponsors and the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relationships Committee.
If passed, the legislation would have the State Department “review all employee terminations that occurred after January 1, 1950, to determine who was wrongfully terminated owing to their sexual orientation, whether real or perceived.” The bill contains several provisions to address the wrongful termination of employees perceived to be gay. It calls on Congress to issue a formal apology to these employees, and it establishes a reconciliation board that would contact them or their families and corrects their employment records to reflect the board’s findings if desired.
The legislation also creates a permanent museum exhibit about the Lavender Scare in the U.S. Diplomacy Center and sets up an advancement board to review difficulties facing current LGBTQ diplomats and their families. Finally, it mandates a review of countries that currently refuse to issue visas to the same-sex spouses of Foreign Service personnel.
The LOVE Act was first introduced in 2017, shortly after then-Secretary of State John Kerry formally apologized for the State Department’s institutional discrimination in the past against gay and lesbian federal workers. The bill has more co-sponsors this time around — 19 Democratic senators, several of whom are running for president, including Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Kamala Harris of California, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and Cory Booker of New Jersey. Michael Guest, the former U.S. ambassador to Romania under President George W. Bush, called the legislation “overdue.”
“The country has come such a long way in understanding sexuality,” Guest told NBC News. “It's appropriate that there be some sort of effort made for the families of those involved.”
Guest, who was the first openly gay ambassador to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate, said that even when he entered the State Department in the 1980s, fears lingered that something like the Lavender Scare could return and that many still believed that being known as gay or lesbian could “hurt their careers.”
Guest said he is pleased that Senate Democrats have reintroduced the legislation but “disappointed” that no Republicans had signed onto the bill. Because of this, he said, it has a “very slim chance of moving.” However, he added, he is “hopeful there will be similar legislation on the House side” in order to broaden the conversation about this portion of American history.


Image result for lavender scare
The guy on the right was Trump's Lawyer and Trump says He was This Lawyer's Protege (Roy Cohn, gay himself), The one on the left Congressman (McCarthy) who went after gays in every profession

The bill recognizes the “shameful” history of what has come to be called the Lavender Scare, a name that comes from the color lavender’s association with homosexuality. The term “lavender lads,” for example, was used by politicians at the time to refer to gay men in the State Department, according to David K. Johnson, a history professor at the University of South Florida and author of “The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays.”
The so-called Lavender Scare, Johnson explained, was “a fear that permeated political culture that gay people had infiltrated the national government, and they posed a threat to national security and needed to be removed from public service.”
“It involved a whole government apparatus to implement,” he added, which amounted to a government-sanctioned “systematic campaign to remove every suspected gay and lesbian from the federal government.”
The persecution of gays and lesbians was part of Joseph McCarthy’s attempts to identify and expunge those with suspected Communist affiliations from the U.S. government. In 1953, then-President Dwight Eisenhower signed an executive order that included “sexual perversion” as grounds for dismissal. The order was enforced until 1965, when Bruce Scott, a gay man fired from the federal government because of his sexual orientation, won a lawsuit that forced the civil service to change its policy, Johnson explained. While it is estimated that approximately 1,000 gay men and lesbians, like Scott, were fired from the State Department because of their sexuality in the ‘50s and ‘60s, Johnson estimated that anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 people were fired throughout the U.S. government during that time.
Johnson also said an unknown number of people who were under investigation by the State Department committed suicide. He said the State Department was well aware of the harm done by the investigations into employees’ sexuality. In his book, Johnson highlights the case of Andrew Ference, an administrative assistant at the U.S. embassy in Paris, who killed himself after two days of interrogations into his sexuality. The State Department, Johnson said, covered up the cause of his death and lied to his family.


While the Lavender Scare ostensibly ended by the 1970s, the LOVE Act states that government employees were being purged by the State Department as late as the 1990s because they posed “security risks.”
As a result of this, Guest said, the government was deprived of expertise, and the Foreign Service became further entrenched in white male conservatism.
Under the Trump administration, the State Department has reversed course on many LGBTQ issues.
In October of last year, for example, the department ended a policy implemented by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that allowed unmarried same-sex partners of staff from U.S.-based international organizations — such as the United Nations, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund — to obtain a spousal visa.
And just this week, the State Department announced it would appeal a California court’s ruling to grant U.S. citizenship to a married same-sex couple's child conceived via surrogate.
“Our nation is at its best when we live up to our values and highest aspirations,” Menendez shared in a statement about the reintroduction of the LOVE Act. “With this legislation, Secretary [Mike] Pompeo and every Member of the Trump administration can make certain that our LGBTI diplomats and development professionals are fully respected as full members of the State Department family.”
When asked for comment on the LOVE Act, a State Department spokesperson told NBC News, “We decline to comment on pending legislation.”

July 27, 2017

Theresa May, On The End of 50 yrs of Gay Persecution and Celebrates the Decriminalization on England, Wales

On the right there is a scientist and mathematician, modern father of the computer and military codes was forced to be castrated and at the end not able to see others like him committed suicide. On the left a famous gay movie star on his first break, His career was impacted by talks and suspicions about being gay. You could be gay in the studios as long as no one found out. Lives' negatively impacted by England's archaic gay laws. The United States and most of the West was no different.

The Conservative Party has been "wrong" on gay rights in the past - but can be proud of the role it has played in recent years, Theresa May has said.
Marking 50 years since the partial decriminalization of homosexuality in England and Wales, the PM said she and the party had both "come a long way".
Mrs. May said there will "justifiably be skepticism" about the way she voted on some LGBT issues.
PinkNews also carries comments from the Labour leader and three ex-PMs.
The Sexual Offences Act was introduced on 27 July 1967 under Harold Wilson's Labour government.
It decriminalized homosexual acts in private between men aged 21 and over.
Mrs. May said: "I am proud of the role my party has played in recent years in advocating a Britain which seeks to end discrimination on the grounds of sexuality or gender identity, but I acknowledge where we have been wrong on these issues in the past." 
As an MP in 1998, Mrs. May voted against reducing the age of consent for homosexual acts from 18 to 16 and four years later opposed allowing gay couples to adopt. 
She was also absent for several votes affecting LGBT rights - but in 2004 backed civil partnerships, and as a member of the coalition government supported a succession of measures including same sex-marriages.
She told PinkNews: "There will justifiably be skepticism about the positions taken and votes cast down through the years by the Conservative Party, and by me, compared to where we are now.
"But like the country we serve, my party and I have come a long way."

'Long journey'

Mrs. May's predecessor David Cameron told PinkNews the Same Sex Marriage Act, which legalized gay weddings in England and Wales in 2013, was one of his "proudest achievements".
"Marriage is a great institution and I have long believed that it should be there for everybody; it now is and Britain led the way," he said.
Tony Blair said: "We have come a long way over the last 50 years and it's right to celebrate, but while there are still challenges, such as pupils subject to homophobic and transphobic bullying... there is still further to go." Sir John Major said the act was "the start of a long journey that would have been inconceivable in 1967". 
He said: "We are what fate made us. And, whatever that may be, we are entitled to give and receive affection."
In a separate article, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the anniversary was a time to "recognize the great strides towards equality that have been made".
He said: "I am proud of the role the Labour Party played in these advances... but this progress is not down to MPs in Parliament... these achievements belong first and foremost to the LGBT community who have persevered against prejudice for many years."
Mr. Corbyn also urged the prime minister to stand up "in the strongest terms" to US President Donald Trump on LGBT issues, saying he had "incited hatred and discrimination".

May 14, 2017

The Very Original Modern Day Gay Rights Movement After WWI

world war one WWI WW1 trench trenchesNational Library of Scotland via Flickr
One of the World War I’s most enduring legacies is largely forgotten: It sparked the modern gay rights movement.
Gay soldiers who survived the bloodletting returned home convinced their governments owed them something – full citizenship. Especially in Germany, where gay rights already had a tenuous footing, they formed new organizations to advocate in public for their rights.
Though the movement that called itself “homosexual emancipation” began in the 19th century, my research and that of historian Jason Crouthamel shows that the war turned the 19th-century movement into gay rights as we know it today.

A death in Russia

In the winter of 1915, a German soldier died in a field hospital in Russia. The soldier, whose name is missing from the historical record, had been hit in the lower body by shrapnel when his trench came under bombardment. Four of his comrades risked their lives to carry him to the rear. There, he lay for weeks, wracked by pain in the mangled leg and desperately thirsty. But what troubled him most was loneliness. He sent letters to his boyfriend whenever he could manage it.
“I crave a decent mouthful of fresh water, of which there isn’t any here,” he wrote in his final letter. “There is absolutely nothing to read; please, do send newspapers. But above all, write very soon.”
This soldier, who had to keep his relationship hidden from those around him, was just one of the approximately two million German men killed in World War I. His suffering is not unlike what many others experienced. What his loved ones made of that suffering, however, was different, and had enormous consequences.
His boyfriend, identified in surviving documents only as “S.,” watched the man he loved go off to serve in a war that he did not fully endorse, only to die alone and in pain as S. sat helplessly by hundreds of miles away. S. told their story in a letter to the Scientific Humanitarian Committee, which published it in April 1916.
The Scientific Humanitarian Committee was then the world’s leading homosexual emancipation group, boasting a membership of about 100 people. The soldier’s story took a cruel twist at its very end: S.‘s loving replies were lost in the chaos of the war and never reached the soldier.
“He died without any contact from me,” S. wrote.

Demanding the rights of citizens

After the war, many believed the slaughter had been for nothing. But S. saw a lesson in his partner’s suffering and death.
“He has lost his bright life … for the Fatherland,” wrote S. That Fatherland had a law on the books that banned sex between men. But the sodomy law was just the tip of the iceberg: S. and men like him generally could not reveal their love relationships in public, or even to family members. Homosexuality meant the loss of one’s job, social ostracism, the risk of blackmail and perhaps criminal prosecution.
S. called it “deplorable” that “good citizens,” soldiers willing to die for their country, had to endure the status of “pariahs.” “People who are by nature orientated toward the same sex … do their duty,” he wrote. “It is finally time that the state treated them like they treat the state.”

A new phase of gay rights

gay rights ww1 A magazine put out by the League for Human Rights in 1930A magazine put out by the League for Human Rights in 1930 Laurie Marhoefer/The Conversation
Many veterans agreed with S. When the war ended, they took action. They formed new, larger groups, including one called the League for Human Rights that drew 100,000 members.
In addition, as I argue in my book, the rhetoric of gay rights changed. The prewar movement had focused on using science to prove that homosexuality was natural. But people like S., people who had made tremendous sacrifices in the name of citizenship, now insisted that their government had an obligation to them regardless of what biology might say about their sexuality.
They left science behind. They went directly to a set of demands that characterizes gay rights to this day – that gay people are upstanding citizens and deserve to have their rights respected. “The state must recognize the full citizenship rights of inverts,” or homosexuals, an activist wrote in the year after the war. He demanded not just the repeal of the sodomy law, but the opening of government jobs to known homosexuals – a radical idea at the time, and one that would remain far out of reach for many decades.

Respectable citizens

Ideas of citizenship led activists to emphasize what historians call “respectability.” Respectability consisted of one’s prestige as a correctly behaving, middle-class person, in contrast to supposedly disreputable people such as prostitutes. Throughout the 20th century, gay rights groups struggled for the right to serve openly in the military, a hallmark of respectability. With some exceptions, they shied away from radical calls to utterly remake society’s rules about sex and gender. They instead emphasized what good citizens they were.
In 1929, a speaker for the League for Human Rights told an audience at a dance hall, “we do not ask for equal rights, we demand equal rights!” It was, ironically, the ghastly violence and horrible human toll of the World War I that first inspired such assertive calls, calls that characterized gay rights movements around the world in the 20th century.
It would take nearly a century for these activists to achieve one of their central goals – the repeal of sodomy laws. Germany enjoyed a 14-year period of democracy after World War I, but the Nazis came to power in 1933 and used the sodomy law to murder thousands of men. A version of the law remained in force until the 1990s. The United States struck down its sodomy laws only in 2003.

By Laurie Marhoefer, The Conversation, lastly posted on Business Insider

May 4, 2016

Pres. Obama to Declare First Gay Rights Monument

Gay marriage supporters hold a gay rights flag in front of the Supreme Court before a hearing about same-sex marriage in Washington, April 28, 2015. (Reuters/Joshua Roberts)

President Obama is poised to declare the first-ever national monument recognizing the struggle for gay rights, singling out a sliver of green space and part of the surrounding Greenwich Village neighborhood as the birthplace of America’s modern gay liberation movement.

While most national monuments have highlighted iconic wild landscapes or historic sites from centuries ago, this reflects the country’s diversity of terrain and peoples in a different vein: It would be the first national monument anchored by a dive bar and surrounded by a warren of narrow streets that long has been regarded the historic center of gay cultural life in New York City.

Federal officials, including Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), will hold a listening session on May 9 to solicit feedback on the proposal. Barring a last-minute complication — city officials are still investigating the history of the land title — Obama is prepared to designate the area part of the National Park Service as soon as next month, which commemorates gay pride.

Protests at the site, which lasted for several days, began in the early morning of June 28, 1969 after police raided the Stonewall Inn, which was frequented by gay men. While patrons of the bar, which is still in operation today in half of its original space, had complied in the past with these crackdowns, that time it sparked a spontaneous riot by bystanders and those who had been detained.

Although national monument designations are partly symbolic, backers of the move said it could bolster the fight against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, which led to the landmark 2015 Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. 

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced in May 2014 a study to find landmarks important to LGBT history for inclusion in the national parks program. President Obama is expected to declare the site of the Stonewall riots a national monument.  (US Department of the Interior)

“We must ensure that we never forget the legacy of Stonewall, the history of discrimination against the LGBT community, or the impassioned individuals who have fought to overcome it,” Nadler, who has co-authored legislation that would make it a national park, said in a statement. “The LGBT civil rights movement launched at Stonewall is woven into American history, and it is time our National Park system reflected that reality.”

The president has described Stonewall as a critical event along the nation’s path to become “a more perfect union,” both in his second inaugural speech and when celebrating the 50th anniversary of the march on Selma, Ala. 

Interior Department spokeswoman Amanda Degroff said Obama “has made clear that he’s committed to ensuring our national parks, monuments and public lands help Americans better understand the places and stories that make this nation great” — though at the moment the administration has no official announcement on the designation.

Noting that Jewell and Jarvis are attending next week’s public meeting at the invitation of Nadler and federal, state and local officials, Degroff added, “Insights from meetings like this one play an important role in identifying the best means to protect and manage significant sites like Christopher Park, whether a designation is established by Congress or through executive authority.”

Nadler and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) have asked the president to protect the site under the 1906 Antiquities Act. In a sign of how much has changed since 1969, the three officials who represent the area — City Council member Corey Johnson, state assembly member Deborah Glick and state senator Brad Hoylman — are all openly gay and endorse the idea of making it a monument, as does the local community advisory board.

The decision to recognize a critical moment in the fight for gay rights, at a time when politicians in several states are moving to strip away legal protections for transgender, gay, lesbian and bisexual residents, enjoys considerable support within the administration. But the path to declaring the monument has been a complicated one, largely because the site involves private property and a dense urban area where land-use planning is never simple.

But late last month, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed legislation, backed by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) and several state lawmakers, that would allow the city to transfer ownership of Christopher Park to the federal government should it become designated as a monument. That patch of green, spanning less than two-tenths of an acre, lies opposite the Stonewall Inn.
In the same way Chicago’s Pullman National Monument — which Obama declared last year to highlight the struggle for labor and civil rights in the late 1880s — encompasses a federally owned former railroad-car factory and part of the surrounding neighborhood, the proposed monument would include several streets that served as a battlefield between activists and law enforcement.

“History’s messy,” said David Stacy, government affairs director of the Human Rights Campaign, whose group has pushed for the designation along with others such as the National Parks Conservation Association and Gill Foundation. “This raised the consciousness of people throughout the country. It said to people, you don’t have to be quiet. You don’t have to stay in the closet.”
The site has become a gathering place following victories in the fight for LGBT equality: Many came there after key court rulings in 2014 and 2015, and Cuomo officiated at a same-sex wedding outside the Stonewall Inn last summer.

 Gill Foundation president and chief executive Courtney Cuff, whose group helped fund a two-year study to identify what LGBT sites might qualify for National Park Service recognition, said a monument designation would mean “interpreters will be talking to visitors about the LGBT community and the contributions of the LGBT movement writ large.”

Hoylman, who lives in the neighborhood with his husband and 5-year-old daughter Silvia, said he has her there and “tried to explain her how important it is to her daddy and her papa.”

“The president has mentioned Stonewall along with Selma and Seneca Falls in his second inaugural. So it’s fitting that he would be the president to bring this forward,” he said. “It’s breathtaking how far we’ve come, in so short a time.”


September 7, 2015

This is where the Gay Rights Movement commenced in the USA: on ‘Science Fiction Novels’

It sounds like a dystopian science fiction novel: Writers in crowded basements, operating under pseudonyms and code words to build networks with the like-minded without attracting the ire of a watchful government.
But it’s true – gay and lesbian writers and activists who wanted to connect with others in the LGBT community in the 1940s could only do so with pseudonyms and double entendre. And they were able to do it with the help of another burgeoning movement with roots in Los Angeles – science fiction.
Jim Kepner's "Toward Tomorrow" magazine. Courtesy ONE Archives/USC.
“Everybody in this particular time is using a pseudonym to cover for their gay activities,” says Joseph Hawkins, professor at University of Southern California and director of the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at USC. “So, if they openly go out and do gay activities, they get blacklisted by the American government.”
Deep within the ONE archives, Hawkins made a discovery. Jim Kepner is famous in LGBT history for co-founding the nation’s first gay magazine, as Lisa Ben (whose real name is Edythe Edye) is for founding the first lesbian magazine. But these two LGBT revolutionaries found an unlikely ally in the science fiction community, which not only allowed them to imagine a more equal future, but connect with others under their pseudonyms: Jyke (Kepner) and Tigrina the Devil Doll (Ben).
“I’ve always been completely obsessed with science fiction,” says Hawkins. “And then when I began to realize how much Kepner was and how much Lisa Ben was - they were actually using science fiction publications to figure out what they wanted to do with gay and lesbian magazines.”
Lisa Ben -- an anagram for “lesbian” -- would go on to found the nation’s first lesbian magazine, "Vice Versa," in 1947. Six years later, Jim Kepner would co-found "ONE Magazine," dubbed “the homosexual magazine,” which was in circulation for over a decade. Their revolutionary work would spur the early gay rights movement, as well as win the first Supreme Court cases for LGBT people.
A page from a science fiction fan zine from the 1940s, with Ray Bradbury and Tigrina (Lisa Ben). Courtesy ONE Archives/USC
“Each of them has these particular science fiction covers, so Lisa Ben writing as Tigrina or Kepner writing as Jyke will produce these incredible fan zines.” Hawkins said. Both Kepner and Ben were well-known science fiction writers in Los Angeles, writing in well-known magazines and members of fan clubs, along with Ray Bradbury and L. Ron Hubbard.
“This provides a sort of proving ground where they learn how to organize, how to create networks for publication,” Hawkins says. “If you think about it, Lisa Ben and "Vice Versa," and "ONE Magazine" owe, to some extent, their foundation to that early science fiction publication.”
But Ben and Kepner didn’t just save their activist writing for "Vice Versa" and "ONE." Their science fiction writing was full of their desires for a more equal world.
“It was all over the place,” Hawkins said. “Some of it is clouded, some of it’s not. Kepner and Lisa Ben weren’t just talking about gay rights, they were talking about feminism, racial equality – the thing is science fiction was a place they could do all that because they were imagining a new world.”
Courtesy ONE Archives/USC.
Kepner and Ben, as Jyke and Tigrina, were both devoted members of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society, which met weekly in the basement of the Prince Rupert Arms near downtown Los Angeles to imagine a future of technological marvels and social equality.
The society still exists. Now in Van Nuys, it’s the oldest running science fiction society in the world, and holds members just as devoted as Kepner and Ben once were, like June Moffatt, who joined the society in August 1947 when she was a teenager. She says she “only met Tigrina once” but she knew Kepner quite well.
“He was good fun,” says Moffatt. Moffatt knew Kepner was gay and an activist, but he was still just “one of the gang. I remember once sitting down next to [Kepner] and telling him he was in danger,” Moffatt says, laughing. “I was flirting with him.” 
Mark Pampanin

January 12, 2015

It’s 1958 and the Supreme Courts Convened to Face a Gay Rights Decision

The road to gay rights at the U.S. Supreme Court began not in San Francisco or New York, but in a small downtown Los Angeles office, where volunteer writers and editors in 1953 launched a new "magazine for homosexuals."

ONE, as it was called, offered thoughtful articles, defiant editorials and none of the racy photos or sex ads often found in the gay press. "The first issue was sold in bars in the Los Angeles area for 25 cents, about the price of a draft beer," said Michael C. Oliveira, an archivist at the magazine’s archives housed at the USC Library. 
High court justices meet to decide whether to hear gay marriage case
Yet in an era when FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was routing out "sex deviates" from the government and homosexuality was a crime in every state, the journal quickly drew negative attention, culminating with a U.S. Post Office ban of the magazine as "obscene." The cover story of the first issue censored by the postmaster proved decades ahead of its time, asking "Homosexual Marriage?"

To the rescue came a young, straight California attorney fresh out of law school.

The result was a little-noticed, one-line Supreme Court ruling in 1958 that didn't mention the word "homosexuality" and was largely forgotten until recently, but nevertheless scored the first gay rights victory at America's highest court.

Fifty-seven years later the high court is expected to revisit the gay rights issue, deciding soon whether to hear a case to determine whether gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry nationwide.

But the story of ONE vs. Olesen, hailed by the gay rights movement as a forgotten landmark, remains "the seminal gay rights case in America" because it extended free speech protection to the gay press, said Jonathan Rauch, a scholar at the Brookings Institution. “It put gay people on the path to freedom." 
Eric Julber, now 90 and living with his wife in Carmel, Calif., is a surprising hero in the ONE saga. A new attorney with an interest in civil liberties, he was asked to write an article for ONE about the threat of government censorship and how to avoid it. His piece, titled "You Can't Print It!," became the cover story of the October 1954 issue — and the second target of a postal service seizure.

Julber, who was 30 at the time, promptly agreed to represent the magazine's editor pro bono.

"I said I would take their case, and I wouldn't charge a fee," said Julber, who grew up in Los Angeles, where his musician father worked at a Hollywood studio. "I thought they had a strong case. They were not running a night club. They were writing a magazine. It was a very conservative magazine. It was just the subject matter — homosexuality — that made it 'obscene.'"

Georgia federal judge allows same-sex marriage case to proceed
Few other legal experts at the time agreed. Fellow attorneys ribbed him for representing a gay journal and predicted no judge would take his side. Even the American Civil Liberties Union office in Los Angeles rebuffed him. "I guess it was too hot to handle for them," Julber said.

Undeterred, Julber filed suit against Los Angeles Postmaster Otto Olesen, contending the seizure of the magazine violated the constitutional principles of free speech and equal protection. His suit contended ONE was subjected to discriminatory treatment because of prejudice against gays.

Federal judges in California were not ready to approve this type of magazine. U.S. District Judge Thurmond Clarke in Los Angeles handed down a two-page opinion in March 1956 upholding the Post Office's decision that ONE was "non-mailable matter." As evidence of obscenity, he cited one piece of fiction in which a woman recalls an affair with her college roommate and decides to live with the woman rather than marry a high school boyfriend.
This was "obviously calculated to stimulate the lust of the homosexual reader," Clarke said. He also cited as "filthy" a bawdy poem called "Lord Samuel and Lord Montagu" and an ad for a Swiss magazine which could, he said, "lead to the obtaining of obscene matter."

Clarke concluded: "The suggestion advanced that homosexuals should be recognized as a segment of our people and be accorded special privilege as a class is rejected."

Julber appealed to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, but lost in a 3-0 decision handed down in February 1957.

The 9th Circuit's decision could well have been a death sentence for ONE, whose circulation had reached 2,000. The magazine was having trouble delivering issues to its readers. To get around the postal ban, ONE continued to sell copies on news stands and sent copies in brown envelopes from various post offices in other locations, Oliveira said.

Julber persuaded ONE's founding editors, Dale Jennings and Don Slater, to appeal the 9th Circuit's decision to the Supreme Court. "They agreed to pay my expenses to travel back to Washington. That's the way you had to do it then. I took along a copy of the magazine," he recalled.

He told them the rulings by the California-based judges reflected an intense prejudice against homosexual people and predicted the Supreme Court would take a "rational view of the matter."

Julber wrote a petition asking the high court to consider, for first time, whether homosexuality could be openly discussed in literature without being automatically banned as obscene.

Lower courts had allowed publications advocating nudism and polygamy, he argued. So why had the 9th Circuit "singled out and discriminated against" ONE because it dealt with homosexuality, he asked.

His petition was filed on June 13, 1957. By coincidence, the Supreme Court was struggling at the same time with the question of obscenity in a case involving Samuel Roth, a New York book dealer, who was appealing his conviction for selling sexually explicit books. In a 6-3 decision, the justices upheld his conviction, but also sharply narrowed the definition of what is considered obscene.

"All ideas having even the slightest redeeming social importance — unorthodox ideas, controversial ideas, even ideas hateful to the prevailing climate of opinion — have the full protection of the guaranties" of the 1st Amendment, said Justice William J. Brennan in Roth vs. United States, handed down on June 24, 1957. "Sex and obscenity are not synonymous," he added.

First Amendment experts cite the decision as a landmark. "Roth was a revolution in obscenity law," said Robert Corn-Revere, a Washington law who specializes in the 1st Amendment. In its wake, the court limited prosecutions to sexually explicit, "hard core" pornography.

With that ruling fresh in their minds, several Supreme Court law clerks read Julber's petition — as well as the magazine itself — and advised the justices it was not obscene.

"This was an easy one for the liberal justices. It was a speech case," recalled Norman Dorsen, who was then a law clerk to conservative Justice John Marshall Harlan and would go on to lead the national ACLU from 1976 to 1991. But even the conservatives were not in favor of censorship practiced by the Post Office.

"The conservatives on the court then — Felix Frankfurter, Potter Stewart and Harlan — were not like the real conservatives we have now. They were more tolerant,” he said. 

Brennan, the author of the Roth opinion, looked at all the petitions on his own. He would have seen the magazine and its supposedly obscene articles. After taking several votes, the justices decided on a simple, one-line ruling issued on Jan. 13, 1958, reversing the 9th Circuit decision.

The magazine reported the "electrifying news" in the next issue. “For the first time in American publishing history, a decision binding on every court now stands … affirming in effect that it is in no way proper to describe a love affair between two homosexuals as constitut(ing) obscenity." 

USC law professor David Cruz said the ONE decision was most important not as a matter of legal doctrine but because of "its on-the-ground effects."

"By protecting ONE," he continued, "the Supreme Court facilitated the flourishing of a gay and lesbian culture and a sense of community at a time when the federal government was purging its ranks" of suspected gays.

Julber said he was delighted to win, but disappointed the court had not issued a written opinion explaining its reasons. He was honored at a banquet sponsored by ONE, and he went on to have a long career as a personal injury lawyer. But he never again had a case go to the Supreme Court.

Though his high court victory garnered little attention at the time, Julber said he was proud of what he had accomplished. "I always thought it was a major case because it said homosexuals had a right to express their own views and a right to their own literature."

September 24, 2014

The Gay marriage Case that will be chosen for Histoy


“As I would read their briefs,” Mr. Campbell said of his dueling adversaries, “I would write in the margin: ‘That’s an implicit dig at this case’ and ‘That’s a dig at that case.’ ”

Evan Wolfson, the president of Freedom to Marry and one of the architects of the political and legal push for same-sex marriage, said there would be plenty of glory to go around should his side prevail. A victory, after all, he said, would be the culmination of a joint effort that was decades in the making.

“Every attorney in the world, it seems, is now eager to be the one that stands before the court in the freedom to marry case, but what really counts is the compelling collective presentation we will all make, no matter which case it is,” Mr. Wolfson said.

The lawyers challenging the same-sex marriage bans are confident they will win in the Supreme Court, which is why they have all urged the justices to hear their cases even though they had won in the lower courts.

The justices will consider whether to hear one or more of the cases at their first private conference of the new term, next Monday, and they may announce their choice or choices in the following weeks. If they do, they could hear arguments this winter and announce a decision by June.

The arguments for and against same-sex marriage are by now familiar to the justices, who considered but sidestepped them in a case from California last year.

Theodore B. Olson, a former United States solicitor general in the administration of George W. Bush, argued that case for the challengers of the California ban, and he is now one of the lawyers challenging Virginia’s ban. As before, he is joined by David Boies, his adversary in Bush v. Gore, the 2000 decision that delivered the presidency to Mr. Bush.

On the phone the other day, Mr. Olson listed the reasons to pick his case. It includes a class action, he said. It presents not only the issue of the right to marry but also that of whether states must recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.

Continue reading the main story
Virginia, he pointed out, was home not only to several of the giants who wrote the Constitution but also to Mildred and Richard Loving, who successfully challenged the state’s ban on interracial marriage in Loving v. Virginia in 1967.

“It’s pretty potent stuff,” he said of his case’s connection to another civil rights movement.

Mr. Olson was quick to add that the ultimate goal was victory, whatever the vehicle. “We have great respect for the lawyers in the other cases,” he said, “and we would be quite supportive of them if that’s what the justices want to do.”

A second set of challengers is also involved in the Virginia case. Their lead lawyer is Paul M. Smith, who argued Lawrence v. Texas, the 2003 decision that struck down laws making gay sex a crime. That team also includes lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal.

Mr. Smith told the justices that “the collective experience of counsel” in the two Virginia challenges mattered, as their groups “have litigated every major gay rights case decided by this court” from 1996 on.

Roberta A. Kaplan said that a case from Utah was the leading candidate to go before the justices. Credit Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Logo Tv
Independent observers said a second case, from Utah, is the leading candidate. “Maybe if they want to be neutral they’ll pick Utah just because they were first,” said Roberta A. Kaplan, who successfully argued last year’s challenge to a key provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

The Utah case, Herbert v. Kitchen, No. 14-124, was the first to strike down a state marriage ban after Ms. Kaplan’s victory. It is also much less complicated than the one from Virginia, which features three separate petitions from government officials seeking review of the appeals court’s ruling. One of the petitions, from the state’s attorney general, seeks to have the ban overturned. The others, from court clerks, seek to have it upheld.

There are two sets of plaintiffs, too. Mr. Olson represents two gay couples. Mr. Smith represents a class of gay couples who seek to marry.

By contrast, lawyers in the Utah case told the court, their case has “just one set of plaintiffs and one set of respondents.”

But Mr. Olson’s brief, in Rainey v. Bostic, No. 14-153, said the complications in his case were a virtue, as “all sides of this important issue would be vigorously represented.” The class-action aspect of the case, he added, would mean “there is no risk that this case would become moot — due, for instance, to the unforeseen end of a couple’s relationship — during the pendency of this appeal.”

The lead lawyer in the Utah case is Peggy A. Tomsic of Salt Lake City, and her team includes Neal K. Katyal, a former acting United States solicitor general; Mary L. Bonauto, who argued the 2003 case that established same-sex marriage in Massachusetts; and lawyers for the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

“The obvious thing about the Utah case is that it is being defended by state officials,” said Shannon P. Minter, a lawyer with the lesbian rights center. “It’s a very clean vehicle.”

Continue reading the main storyContinue reading the main storyContinue reading the main story
Still, he added, “we’re long past the point where it would matter which case or which lawyer.”

Ms. Bonauto agreed. “Our case is an appropriate case,” she said. “All of the cases are appropriate cases.”

The justices will also consider cases from Indiana, Oklahoma and Wisconsin. In the Oklahoma case, the challengers are represented by Jeffrey L. Fisher, a law professor at Stanford who won a unanimous ruling in June requiring the police to get warrants to search the cellphones of people they arrest.

Mr. Fisher devoted 11 of his brief’s 32 pages to showing that his case was the right choice — or at least that it should be in the mix.

His case, Mr. Fisher wrote, presented only the straightforward question of whether Oklahoma must allow same-sex marriages to be performed in the state. “Some of the plaintiffs from the Utah and Virginia cases, by contrast, raise another claim,” he wrote, that of whether states must recognize marriages performed elsewhere.

Mr. Fisher assured the justices that they would receive “full and focused briefing and argument” on the core issue if they picked his case, Smith v. Bishop, No. 14-136.

Mr. Olson drew the opposite conclusion from the same set of facts. Hearing the Virginia case, he told the justices, would “enable the court to resolve all aspects of the marriage-equality question in a single opinion without leaving lingering questions and uncertainty for lower courts, states and the American public.”

On this, at least, the lawyers in the Utah case agreed. “Piecemeal review risks that litigation will drag on for years,” they wrote.

A version of this article appears in print on September 23, 2014, on page A19 of the New York edition with the headline: Seeking a Same-Sex Marriage Case Fit for History. 

May 28, 2014

The Main Reasons Why Gay Marriage is Winning



The following article just appeared at Religion News Service BY KEVIN ECKSTROM. I endorse it because it carries us through those moments of tears and smiles, the shaking of hands and the CRUNCHING of fists. As this story reaches a stoning crescendo  is good to look back and see why things happen, who screw up and who made those home runs.

WASHINGTON — What a difference 10 years makes.

In May 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to allow same-sex marriage. Six months later, with dire warnings about schoolchildren being forced to read “Heather Has Two Mommies” and threats of legalized polygamy, so-called “values voters” passed bans on same-sex marriage in 11 states and ushered George W. Bush to another four years in the White House.

Fast-forward to 2014, and the cultural and legal landscape could hardly be more different. Today, 19 states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriage, and federal courts have struck down bans in 11 more states. The U.S. Supreme Court ordered the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages after ditching a central portion of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act last year, and 44 percent of Americans now live in states that allow same-sex marriage.

After four same-sex couples filed suit May 21 challenging Montana’s ban on same-sex marriage, neighboring North Dakota is the only state that isn’t facing a challenge to its gay marriage ban – at least not yet.

So what changed? The issue is far from settled – and some conservatives insist that it never will be – but pro-gay groups clearly have the momentum. Here’s why:

Rapid cultural shifts

The culture changed faster than conservatives thought possible. Led by the popular gay characters on “Will & Grace” and “Glee,” gays and lesbians are more visible in public life, and Americans are growing increasingly comfortable with that. A generation ago, coming out as gay was a career-killer; now it’s almost trendy.

Within religion, the 2003 election of openly gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson dramatically shifted the conversation about gays in leadership, and Presbyterians and Lutherans voted to allow gay clergy with barely a shrug. The wildly popular Pope Francis changed the tenor of the discussion by famously asking “Who am I to judge?” as his church struggles to reclaim its moral credibility on sexual ethics in the wake of the clergy abuse scandal.

Coupled with an aggressive campaign targeted at gays and lesbians to come out to their families and colleagues, America now has innumerable friends, co-workers, celebrities, siblings and children that are the new face of the gay movement. And that, says Evan Wolfson of New York-based Freedom to Marry, carries more weight than any court ruling or legislative vote.

“There’s no question that popular culture and celebrities and religious figures who speak out create the air cover for the ground game of personal conversations,” said Wolfson, whose group has been at the forefront of the legal fights over marriage. “And that is what really closed the deal.”

An ally in the White House       

It’s hard to overestimate the power of a bully pulpit, and there’s no bigger microphone than the chief executive’s. While President Obama may be the country’s first black president, he will also be remembered as the most pro-gay occupant of the Oval Office – even if it took him time to get there.

Obama’s White House shaped the cultural narrative around gay rights by ending the 17-year Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell ban on gays and lesbians serving in the military. Like Obama, millions of Americans reached the same conclusion: If gay men and women can die for their country, why shouldn’t they be allowed to get married? And if it’s OK for the military, why not for everyone else?

Perhaps most significantly, Obama’s Justice Department dropped its defense of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, concluding that the federal ban on same-sex marriages was unconstitutional. Attorney General Eric Holder encouraged state attorneys general to do the same, and when the attorneys general in Pennsylvania and Oregon followed Holder’s advice, federal courts swiftly struck down bans in both states.

“No one defended the law in court,” fumed Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, the Catholic bishops’ point man on same-sex marriage. “Is this justice, or just a farce?”

Whatever it was, it worked for the gay rights side.

“If we would have known 10 years ago that the rule of law would no longer be in play, maybe we would have had a different strategy,” added Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, who accused Obama of “unleashing lawlessness on the country.”

A problem of overreach

Starting with the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, conservative activists concluded that the only solution to stopping gay marriage was a nationwide ban. A federal constitutional ban on same-sex marriage has languished in Congress for years – and now Russell Moore, head of the Southern Baptists’ Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, calls such a strategy “a politically ridiculous thing to talk about right now.”

In addition, conservative groups resisted moves to compromise on a half-measure like civil unions; Perkins’ organization calls civil unions nothing more than “a slow-motion surrender.” And that, said veteran gay marriage proponent Jonathan Rauch, was a critical mistake.

“They set an impossible goal for themselves by saying from day one that the goal of success would be not one gay marriage on not one square inch of American soil, and that was never going to happen,” said Rauch, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Brookings Institution.

That, in turn, only strengthened the resolve of gay rights groups, even if it meant passing gay marriage state by state, or mounting legal challenges one ban at a time.

“I don’t think a lot of gay people are really in a mood to say `Let’s meet the other side halfway’ because the other side has never been interested in meeting us halfway,” Rauch said.

Religious influence rises – and falls

In 2004, popular support for same-sex marriage was stuck in the low 30s. According to the latest Gallup Poll released this week, that number is now at 55 percent. It’s now rare to see a poll that finds only minority support for gay marriage.

But another poll number may be more telling about the underlying cultural shift: A decade ago, 71 percent of Americans said religion was “increasing its influence” on American life. Today, nearly the exact opposite is true – 77 percent of Americans say religion is “losing its influence” on public life.

In short, Americans have concluded that while marriage may well be a sacred institution, couples tying the knot have to seek a marriage license at the courthouse, not the altar. With the moral influence of organized religion on the wane, more Americans have decided that there’s a difference between marriage rights – and all the legal and financial benefits that go with them – and matrimonial rites.

“Some of our citizens are made deeply uncomfortable by the notion of same-sex marriage,” federal Judge John E. Jones III ruled in striking down Pennsylvania’s gay marriage ban. “However, that same-sex marriage causes discomfort in some does not make its prohibition constitutional. Nor can past tradition trump the bedrock constitutional guarantees of due process and equal protection.”

‘Hateful and bigoted’

Perhaps the biggest obstacle facing proponents of traditional marriage was a negative image that they were never able to overcome. While chafing at comparisons to racism and Jim Crow laws, the matriarch of the traditional marriage movement, Maggie Gallagher, concedes that her side has been labeled as “hateful and bigoted.” It’s no accident that opponents of Proposition 8 – the 2008 ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage in California – adopted the logo of “No H8T.”

Some conservative activists say they brought it on themselves.

“There was the evangelical belligerence, often, in the last generation that spoke, for instance, about the gay agenda, in which there was this picture, almost as though there is a group of super villains in a lair, plotting somewhere the downfall of the family,” Moore told a gathering of journalists in March.

Conservatives also weathered a host of guilt-by-association charges, which were equally hard to dislodge. In Arizona, a bill that supporters said would protect religious freedom was conveyed as license to turn gays away from public businesses. Evangelical opposition to homosexuality was exported to Africa, which took the form of harsh laws to jail or even sentence to death known homosexuals.

In short, it was no longer popular or politically correct to stand against popular culture and a swiftly changing popular opinion.

“They showed no compassion for gay people, they didn’t offer any substitutes like protecting gay families or gay kids,” Rauch said. “That lack of compassion came through. It took a little while to register, but the American public does not like lack of compassion.”

Featured Posts

Two Gay GOP's Get Married by Their GOP Libertarian Friend Denver Riggleman, But The GOP Now Wants Riggleman OUT

 VICE When Anthony “Rek” LeCounte and Alex Pisciarino tied the knot last summer, they didn’t expect their weddi...