Jim Bourg/Reuters | 15157
On 26 June 2015 the US Supreme Court decided 5-4 that individual state bans on gay marriage were unconstitutional, and that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution requires all 50 states to issue marriage licences to gay and lesbian couples.
The first legal gay marriages in the US were conducted in Massachusetts in 2004. By the time of the decision, 36 states and Washington DC were allowing same sex marriages.
The case was known as Obergefell versus Hodges.
The US became the 21st nation in the world to recognise same sex marriage throughout the country.
The author of the majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy, wrote:
The Court now holds that same sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry. No longer may this liberty be denied to them.
SV-Bilderdienst | 15156
The German Historical Museum in Berlin has opened an exhibition tracing 150 years of gay history in the country. The exhibition includes the first uses of the term “homosexual,” the brutal Nazi-era repression of gays and gradual moves toward legal equality starting in the 1960s.
The exhibition is a joint production with Berlin’s Gay Museum and has been four years in the planning.
“Homosexuality_ies,” runs through to Dec. 1, 2015. It features photo and film material, an electric shock device used for “aversion therapy” in the 1950s, other artifacts, and an “A to Z” section exploring issues ranging from gay marriage to censorship.
One of the earliest exhibits is a handwritten 1868 letter from Vienna-born writer Karl Maria Kertbeny to a German advocate of legal reform, Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, which is believed to be the oldest written record anywhere of the words “homosexual” and “heterosexual.”
It also features the work of scientists such as sex researcher Magnus Hirschfeld, whose pioneering Institute for Sexual Research was shut down and looted shortly after the Nazis took power in 1933. The Nazi regime toughened the 1872 law criminalizing sex between men; West Germany changed the so-called “paragraph 175” to decriminalize it only in 1969.
In the words of Visit Berlin, the exhibition
puts the political contribution the homosexual liberation movements made toward the development of our democratic society in the visual range of a broader public for the first time.
Queer Comrades | 15153
The Diplomat have been looking at the re-emergence of open homosexuality in China. Yuxin Zhang explains.
In ancient China, which was polygamous, same-sex sexual behaviors were well-received and tolerated. Positive descriptions of homosexual behavior, or Nan-Feng as it was called, in historical records and in Chinese literature can be dated back to the Han dynasty (206 BC–220 AD). … Traditional Chinese gay culture changed with the introduction of monogamy from the West, and the establishment of institutions and “ethical standards” that regulated sexual behavior, thus shaping contemporary Chinese attitudes and social values. This produced what we know of today as a “normal” (as it is perceived) sexual orientation, in turn contributing to the development of conservatism and homophobia.
Eleanor Roosevelt | The White House Historical Association | 15152
Former American First Lady Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was born on October 11, 1884 and died on November 7, 1962; Marc Peyser and Timothy Dwyer are the authors of “Hissing Cousins: The Untold Story of Eleanor Roosevelt and Alice Longworth”. They write in Huff:
June marks the start of Gay Pride season, with parades from Boston and Los Angeles to Tel Aviv and Oslo. It’s a good bet that somewhere over those rainbows, Eleanor Roosevelt’s spirit will be marching, too. She’s appeared off and on over the decades, whether loud and proud on posters reclaiming her as an uncelebrated lesbian or more demurely as a sort of mascot for branches of the Eleanor Roosevelt Democratic Club.
The First Lady’s sexuality remains shrouded in mystery. So why was she, in the White House, and at such a dangerous time for gay men and lesbians, such a champion of their rights?
Some would argue that was because the First Lady was a closeted lesbian. The most often-cited evidence is her intense friendship with an openly lesbian reporter named Lorena Hickok. Roosevelt and Hick worked together, vacationed together and wrote each other hundreds of letters, many of them as purple as a late-summer eggplant. “Gee! What wouldn’t I give to talk to you & hear you now, oh, dear one,” said one from Eleanor. “It is all the little things, tones in your voice, the feel of your hair, gestures, these are the things I think about & long for.” The First Lady got Hick a job reporting from around the country on the progress of the New Deal. Back in Washington, she bunked in a guest room at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And the rumors began. “And so you think they gossip about us?” Eleanor wrote to Lorena in November 1933. “I am always so much more optimistic than you are. I suppose because I care so little what ‘they’ say!”
Well worth reading.
Ian Burford and Alexander Cannell, Ken Livingstone, Linda Wilkinson and Carol Budd at the first ceremony | Mayor of London/BBC | 17171gh
In 2001 London Mayor Ken Livingstone introduced a partnership registration service for same sex couples. The registrations recognised the partnership of the individuals but did not confer any legal rights. The new register was called the London Partnerships Register. The register was open to heterosexual as well as gay couples.
The first couple to take advantage of the scheme, which pre-dated Civil Partnerships and demonstrated the need and desirability of giving same sex couples rights, were Ian Burford and Alexander Cannell, pictured above, who had been together already for 38 years.
They had a five-minute ceremony conducted by Rob Coward, a specially-trained officer with Greater London Authority.
Couples taking part in the ceremony received a certificate but the register was not made available to the public for confidentiality reasons. The register was designed to be self-financing, charging couples £85 to register their details.
The Greater London Authority was the first public body in the United Kingdom to recognise same-sex relationships as being on a par with heterosexual partnerships.
A scene from the play | O&M Co | 15147
A new play, “The twentieth century way” by Tom Jacobson is reviewed by The Daily Beast.
In 1914 the Long Beach Police Department recruited the services of two actors – one rugged, one more delicate – to act as bait to entrap men who had sex with men.
The actors recruited for the job were W.H. Warren and B.C. Brown.
The two would encourage their targets to show their penises through ‘glory holes’ between walls or stalls, after which they would score a cross on the men’s penises with a permanent marker. The men and their marked penises, indicative of their ‘guilt,’ would then be hauled down to the police station, and the men would be prosecuted for ‘social vagrancy.’