Bil Browning

A Big Funking Step

Filed By Bil Browning | October 24, 2005 1:25 AM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
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I was bored and browsing the internet tonight and found myself at HistoryChannel.com. I'm a big fan of the network, but I was one of those kids who loved history class. On a whim I decided to search their database for "gay history." That took me to an article entitled "ENCYCLOPEDIA: CIVIL RIGHTS AND CIVIL LIBERTIES."

The bottom of the page has a clear disclaimer on it that the content for the page was provided by Funk & Wagnall's New Encyclopedia. My mental picture of encyclopedias is of "stuffy and conservative." Boy, was it empowering to get to the bottom of the article. It's nice to see that gay rights have already earned a place in the history books. Notice the fact that we suffer discrimination because of our sexual orientation isn't even disputed - it's just fact. As a people, we are making strides lest we forget...

Rights of Other Minorities.

The struggle for civil rights has not been confined to blacks, Hispanics, Asian-Americans, and women. American Indians for decades were forcibly deprived of their lands and denied civil rights. In 1968 Congress enacted the Indian Civil Rights Act, and the federal courts have heard a number of suits designed to restore to Indian tribes their rights to ancestral lands.

The elderly have also been deprived of their rights, especially in employment and to some degree in housing. Federal and state laws have been only partially successful in solving this problem. Former prisoners and mental patients have suffered legal impediments, and resident aliens are often denied equal employment and other opportunities. Disabled persons have also endured discrimination, which the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 was intended to remedy (see Disability).

Homosexuals, historically, have not had full civil rights because of social and sexual taboos. The number of judicial decisions and laws enacted at the local level to protect gay men and women from discrimination has increased, but homosexuals in the U.S. remain the targets of discrimination in employment, housing, and other areas, as well as the victims of verbal and physical abuse. By the 1990s, gays and lesbians had organized more effectively than ever before in the effort to assert their rights. In 2003, the Supreme Court ruled, for the first time, that the right of homosexuals to engage in private consensual behavior was constitutionally protected (see Homosexuality).


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