Slide Show: Gay Rights Now | The Nation

Slide Show: Gay Rights Now

  • Slide Show: Gay Rights Now (1 of 12)

    Following the disappointing Clinton and hostile Bush years, LGBT Americans are hopeful that President Obama's administration will herald a new age of equality. But to date, progress has been slow and in some cases non-existent. Institutional prejudice and discrimination remain prevalent and unchecked in American society. As we round out 2009, we highlight the successes, failures and possibilities of the gay rights movement.
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  • Slide Show: Gay Rights Now (2 of 12)

    Candidate Barack Obama, despite having been progressive on gay rights issues as a state senator, becomes less so during the 2008 presidential campaign, citing a faith-based opposition to gay marriage. Still, he throws his weight behind repealing the Defense of Marriage Act and "Don't Ask Don't Tell." For that and for the significant outreach effort his campaign makes to court gay voters, Obama wins kudos from LGBT activists.
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  • Slide Show: Gay Rights Now (3 of 12)

    A deeply disappointing counterpoint to the historic election of America's first African-American president is the surprising success of the anti-gay marriage Prop 8 resolution in California. Despite Obama's resounding victory in the state and stated opposition to the discriminatory ballot measure--it succeeds in overturning the California Supreme Court decision making same-sex marriage legal.

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  • Slide Show: Gay Rights Now (4 of 12)

    Obama shocks many of his supporters by inviting evangelical pastor Rick Warren, who has a history of making unabashedly homophobic statements, to give the invocation at his inaugural address. The president-elect tries to buttress some of the criticism by giving openly gay bishop V. Gene Robinson an opportunity to give prayer during the proceedings--but for many in the gay community this incident is a disheartening sign.

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  • Slide Show: Gay Rights Now (5 of 12)

    In August 2009, following the popular success of an Academy Award-winning biopic about Harvey Milk and the thirtieth anniversary of Milk's tragic assassination, President Obama pays tribute to the gay rights icon by awarding him a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor an American civilian can receive.

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  • Slide Show: Gay Rights Now (6 of 12)

    The fight for marriage equality gets a major boost when the Iowa Supreme Court legalizes gay marriage statewide. Even more encouraging than the decision itself is the relatively muted response from the opposition.

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  • Slide Show: Gay Rights Now (7 of 12)

    Despite the victory in Iowa, the marriage equality cause suffers a serious blow when in May of 2009 (ironically the same day as President Obama's groundbreaking nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the US Supreme Court) the California Supreme Court upholds the legality of the Prop 8 resolution from the previous year.

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  • Slide Show: Gay Rights Now (8 of 12)

    Former Army National Guard Lt. Dan Choi (pictured), an Arabic-speaking specialist, is just one of several US military personnel dismissed through the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) policy, first enacted under President Clinton and continued by President Obama. Despite repeatedly pledging to repeal the DADT, the president is inactive on the issue, which has become a consistent thorn in the side of LGBT activists.

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  • Slide Show: Gay Rights Now (9 of 12)

    Lost amid the contentious debate over same-sex marriage and gays in the military is the fact that gay rights has grown increasingly less controversial within younger generations. This open-mindedness could bode well for the future of the struggle.

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  • Slide Show: Gay Rights Now (10 of 12)

    On October 10 and 11, a massive National Equality March is held to call attention to gay rights issues and concerns. For much of the straight population it is their first exposure to the growing anger and frustration the LGBT community feels when it comes to the Obama administration.

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  • Slide Show: Gay Rights Now (11 of 12)

    In a heavily hyped speech before the gay rights group the Human Rights Campaign, President Obama recommits himself to the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell," and reportedly reaches out to Sen. Joe Lieberman (who sits on the Armed Services committee) to take a leadership role on the legislative end. Still, LGBT activists feel they've heard this song and dance before and skepticism remains.

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  • Slide Show: Gay Rights Now (12 of 12)

    While the president's rhetoric has often been quite inspiring on the issues of gay rights and equality--his administration has either been slow or silent on embracing key reforms that could significantly improve the lives of LGBT Americans. It's become increasingly evident that activists who want real change will have to rely on pressure from the grassroots, not just the White House.

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