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a chronology of the ancient and turbulent relationship
between the Church and LGBT people


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Spanish Inquisition | Colonial America | World War II | Stonewall | Reagan years | Post 9/11

Updated 2022.02.13

  41 ● Claudius distinguishes himself by being the only emperor reigning in the first two centuries of the Roman empire who is thought not to have sexual relationships with men.

  91 ● A Jewish historian writing for a broad Greco-Roman audience, Flavius Josephus helps popularize the idea that the sin for which Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed was homosexuality, rather than simply unconscionable behavior toward strangers. Largely because of this, the term that would later be known as “sodomy” passes into Greek and Latin.

~300 ● The Christian “union” of Sergius and Bacchus.

 342 ● The Christian emperors Constantius II and Constans declare the death penalty for a male who takes on the passive role of a bride (rather than marry as equals with another man).

 498 ● In spite of the laws against gay sex, the Christian emperors continued to collect taxes on male prostitutes until this year during the reign of Anastasius I, who finally abolishes the tax.

 529 ● The Christian emperor Justinian I (527-565) makes homosexuals a scapegoat for problems such as “famines, earthquakes, and pestilences.”

 651 ● The canonical text of the Qur'an, the foundation of Islam, is established, containing several negative references to sex between men as practiced by “the people of Lut [Lot].” No punishment, however, is explicitly mandated.

 693 ● In Iberia, Visigothic ruler Egica of Hispania and Septimania, demands that a Church council confront the occurrence of homosexuality in the Kingdom. The Sixteenth Council of Toledo issues a statement in response, which was adopted by Egica, stating that homosexual acts be punished by castration, exclusion from Communion, hair shearing, one hundred stripes of the lash, and banishment into exile.

 789 ● Charlemagne decreed that divorced men and women could not remarry, even if the divorce was due to a spouse’s adultery.

 799 ● After several previous marriages and concubines, Charlemagne married his lover of five years just before Pope Leo III arrived for a state visit. Pope Leo III subsequently crowned Charlemagne Holy Roman Emperor on Christmas Day 800 CE.

1007 ● The Decretum of Burchard of Worms equates homosexual acts with other sexual transgressions such as adultery and argues, therefore, that it should have the same penance (generally fasting).

1051 ● Peter Damian writes the treatise Liber Gomorrhianus, in which he argues for stricter punishments for clerics failing their duty against “vices of nature.”

1061 ● April 16 — A same-sex marriage between the two men Pedro Díaz and Muño Vandilaz in the Galician municipality of Rairiz de Veiga in Spain occurs. They are married by a priest at a small chapel. The historic documents about the church wedding were found at Monastery of San Salvador de Celanova.

1073 ● Pope Gregory VII orders Sappho’s works, the world’s oldest poetry of love between women, destroyed in public bonfires in Rome and Constantinople.

1120 ● Baldwin II of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, convenes the Council of Nablus to address the vices within the Kingdom. The Council calls for the burning of individuals who perpetually commit sodomy.

1164 ● The English monk, Aelred of Rievaulx writes his De spiritali amicitia giving love between persons of the same gender a profound expression.

1212 ● The Council of Paris, a local church body, forbids nuns from sleeping in the same bed and mandates that a lamp be left burning through the night in convent sleeping quarters.

1232 ● Pope Gregory IX starts the Inquisition in the Italian City-States. Some cities called for banishment and/or amputation as punishments for 1st- and 2nd-offending sodomites and burning for the 3rd or habitual offenders.

1265 ● Thomas Aquinas argues that sodomy is second only to murder in the ranking of sins.

1292 ● September 28 — Ghent (in present-day Belgium): John, a knife maker, is sentenced to be burned at the stake for having sex with another man. This is the first documented execution for sodomy in Western Europe.

1321 ● Dante’s Inferno places sodomites in the Seventh Circle.

1347 ● Rolandino Roncaglia is tried for sodomy, an event that caused a sensation in Italy. He confessed he “had never had sexual intercourse, neither with his wife nor with any other woman, because he had never felt any carnal appetite, nor could he ever have an erection of his virile member”. After his wife died of plague, Rolandino started to prostitute himself, wearing female dresses because “since he has female look, voice and movements—although he does not have a female orifice, but has a male member and testicles—many persons considered him to be a woman because of his appearance”.

1395 ● John Rykener, known also as Johannes Richer and Eleanor, a transvestite prostitute working mainly in London (near Cheapside), but also active in Oxford, is arrested for cross-dressing and is interrogated.

1424 ● April 9 — Bernardino of Siena preached for three days in Florence, Italy against homosexuality and other forms of lust, culminating in a pyre in which burned cosmetics, wigs and all sorts of articles for the beautification. He calls for sodomites to be ostracized from society, and these sermons alongside measures by other clergy of the time strengthens opinion against homosexuals and encourages the authorities to increase the measures of persecution.

1476 ● Florentine court records show that Leonardo da Vinci and three other young men were charged with sodomy twice, and acquitted.

1483 ● The Spanish Inquisition begins. “Sodomites” were stoned, castrated, and burned. Between the years 1540 and 1700, more than 1,600 people were prosecuted for sodomy.

1492 ● Desiderius Erasmus writes a series of love letters to a fellow monk while at a monastery in Steyn in the Netherlands.

1497 ● In Spain, Ferdinand and Isabella strengthen the sodomy laws hitherto applied only in the cities. An increase is made in the severity of the crime equating to treason or heresy, and the amount of evidence required for conviction is lowered, with torture permitted to extract confession. The property of the defendant is also confiscated.

1532 ● Holy Roman Empire makes sodomy punishable by death.
● The Florentine artist Michelangelo begins writing over 300 love poems dedicated to Tomasso dei Cavalieri.

1533 ● Henry VIII’s government transfers authority for prosecuting “buggery” from the Church to civil courts. The new law makes anal intercourse punishable by hanging.

1551 ● Portuguese missionary Father Pero Correia, writing from Brazil, asserts that same-sex eroticism among indigenous women is quite common, in fact as widespread as in Africa, where he was previously stationed. Native Brazilian women, he observes, carry weapons and even form same-sex marriages.

1566 ● Pope Pius IV begins a campaign in Rome to rid the city of “Sodomites.”

1596 ● Francis Cabral, a Catholic missionary, informs the Vatican in a letter that the casual attitude toward same-sex relations he sees everywhere in Japan is a major barrier to Japanese acceptance Of Christianity.

1611 ● The original “King James” Bible is translated under the authorization of King James I who is a known homosexual. His scholars who did the translation deliberately mistranslate the Hebrew word qadesh into “Sodomite” as a warning to the king that God would not tolerate his behavior. The definition of qadesh according to Strongs Concordance (#6945) is: a sacred person, a male devotee (by prostitution) to licentious idolatry. Whereas sodomite is simply an Old English word for a man who has sexual relations with another man, based on a flawed understanding of why Sodom was destroyed. Its Old English definition does not appear in the Bible in either testament, but unfortunately because of these unscrupulous scholars, “Sodomite” has falsely been enshrined as a biblical term.

1624 ● Richard Cornish of the Virginia Colony is tried and hanged for sodomy.

1649 ● March — The first known conviction for lesbian activity in North America occurs when Sarah White Norman is charged with “Lewd behaviour with each other upon a bed” with Mary Vincent Hammon in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Hammon was under 16 and not prosecuted.

1778 ● March 11 — Lt. Gotthold Enslin is the first U.S. soldier to be dismissed for homosexuality.

1785 ● Jeremy Bentham is one of the first people to argue for the decriminalization of sodomy in England.

1791 ● Revolutionary France (and Andorra) adopts a new penal code which no longer criminalizes sodomy. France thus becomes the first West European country to decriminalize homosexual acts between consenting adults.

1801 ● Murray Hall, a prominent Tammany Hall politician in New York, was posthumously discovered to have been a woman. Hall dressed in men’s clothing, lived as a man, and was married twice, both times to women. Hall also voted in elections, which was illegal for women at the time.

1814 ● The term “Crime against nature” is first used in the Criminal code in the United States.

1852 ● Austria makes sex between women illegal for the first time, while reducing the penalties for male-male relations. Johann Ludwig Casper, a specialist in forensic medicine, is the first in Germany to state that the tendency to be attracted to members of one’s own sex is inborn.

1856 ● The first known reference to lesbians in Mormon history occurred, when a Salt Lake man notes in his diary that a Mormon woman was “trying to seduce a young girl”.

1861 ● Presbyterians divide over the issue of slavery.

1867 ● August 29 — Karl Heinrich Ulrichs becomes the first self-proclaimed homosexual to speak out publicly for homosexual rights when he pleads at the Congress of German Jurists in Munich for a resolution urging the repeal of anti-homosexual laws.

1869 ● German physician Dr. Karl Friedrich Otto von Westphal publishes an article in a scholarly journal that is one of the first works to look at homosexuality (which he calls “contrary sexual feeling”) through the sights of the infant science of psychiatry. In terms that suggest homosexuality is a mental illness rather than a moral failing, he recommends that governments decriminalize same-sex acts so that homosexuals will be more likely to seek medical treatment.

1889 ● The maximum sentence for sodomy in Scotland is reduced from hanging to a prison sentence.

1892 ● The words “bisexual” and “heterosexual” are first used in their current senses in Charles Gilbert Chaddock’s translation of Kraft-Ebing’s Psychopathia Sexualis.

1897 ● George Cecil Ives founds the first homosexual rights group, the Order of Chaeronea. Members include Charles Kains Jackson, Samuel Elsworth Cottam, Montague Summers, and John Gambril Nicholson.

1916 ● In Sydney, Australia, Charles Webster Leadbeater founds the Liberal Catholic Church, the first religious group to minister openly to gay men and lesbians.

1917 ● Russia: Bolshevik leaders reportedly say that “homosexual relationships and heterosexual relationships are treated exactly the same by the law.”

1922 ● A new criminal code comes into force in the USSR officially decriminalizing homosexual acts.

1929 ● May 22 — Lesbian, Katharine Lee Bates, author of America the Beautiful dies.
● October 16 — Germany: a Reichstag Committee votes to repeal Paragraph 175; the Nazis’ rise to power prevents the implementation of the vote.

1933 ● February 23-24 — Adolf Hitler’s government launches the Nazi persecution of homosexuality with directives of closing gay and lesbian clubs, banning pornography and homophile publications, and dissolving homosexual rights groups.
● May 6 — Nazis attack and destroy Magnus Hirschfeld’s Institute for Sexual Research. A few days later, the institute’s priceless collection of more than 20,000 publications and 5,000 photographs is burned in a public ceremony.

1934 ● June 28 — Some 300 Nazi Party members are arrested and murdered in a purge ordered by Adolf Hitler that comes to be known as the Night of the Long Knives. The most prominent victim of the purge is SA chief Ernst Rohm, a gay man whom Hitler accuses of having formed a subversive “homosexual clique.”

1937 ● This is the first use of the pink triangle for gay men in Nazi concentration camps.

1945 ● Upon the liberation of Nazi concentration camps by Allied forces, those interned for homosexuality are not freed, but required to serve out the full term of their sentences under Paragraph 175.

1948 ● The Kinsey Report surprised almost everyone with its findings that 4% of men identified themselves as exclusively homosexual, while 37% of men had sexual relationships with other men in their adult lives.

1952 ● Christine Jorgensen (formerly George William Jorgensen, Jr.) becomes the first widely publicized person to have undergone sex reassignment surgery, in this case, male to female.
● October 15 — Members of the Mattachine Society, including Dorr Legg, Dale Jenning and five others, meet and form One, Inc. to promote gay education and research.

1953 ● April 27 — President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs Executive Order 10450, mandating the dismissal of all federal employees determined to be guilty of “sexual perversion.” As a result, more than 640 federal employees lose their jobs over the next year and a half.

1954 ● June 7 — Mathematical and computer genius and hero Alan Turing commits suicide by cyanide poisoning, 18 months after being given a choice between two years in prison or libido-reducing hormone treatment for a year as a punishment for homosexuality.
● June 14 — The U.S. Pledge of Allegiance is modified by act of Congress from “one nation, indivisible” to “one nation under God, indivisible”.

1956 ● January 10 — About 30 people attend the first public meeting of the Mattachine Society held at the Diplomat Hotel.
● July 30 — “In God We Trust” is designated the U.S. national motto, replacing e pluribus unum.

1957 ● Psychologist Evelyn Hooker publishes a study showing that homosexual men are as well adjusted as non-homosexual men, which becomes a major factor in the American Psychiatric Association evolving on the issue of homosexuality in the 70’s.

1959 ● May — The first homosexual uprising in the US occurs at
Cooper Do-nuts in Los Angeles.

1961 ● The Vatican declares that anyone who is “affected by the perverse inclination” towards homosexuality should not be allowed to take religious vows or be ordained within the Roman Catholic Church.
● The first openly gay person runs for U.S. public office (drag queen José Sarria, running for San Francisco city supervisor).

1962 ● January 1 — Illinois’ new criminal code goes into effect, making it the first state in the United States to strike down sodomy laws.

1963 ● August 28 — Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington that takes place is organized by activist, master strategist and openly-gay man, Bayard Rustin.

1964 ● June 26 — Life magazine runs a positive cover story on “Homosexuality in America”.

1965 ● September 26 — Thirty people picket Grace Cathedral to protest punitive actions taken against Rev. Canon Robert Cromey for his involvement in the Council on Religion and the Homosexual, an alliance between LGBT people and religious leaders.

1966 ● April 7 — The first “Gay Community Center” is opened in the United States. It is located in the city of San Francisco.

1967 ● “John” becomes “Joan” at Johns Hopkins Hospital after a circumcision accident, that when published, widely impacts gender theory.
● April 19 — The Student Homophile League of Columbia University becomes the first gay group to obtain a campus charter.
● September — “The Los Angeles Advocate,” a local newsletter alerting gay men to police raids in L.A. gay bars begins publication. It later becomes The Advocate.

1968 ● The American Psychiatric Association moves homosexuality from “sociopathic” category to “sexual deviation”.
● October 6 — Metropolitan Community Church holds its first service. It is the first “gay” church.
● December 3 — Metropolitan Community Church holds its first same-sex union ceremony.

1969 ● April 12 — The Council for Christian Social Action of the United Church of Christ adopted the “Resolution on Homosexuals and the Law.”
● May 15 — Canada decriminalizes private same-sex acts.
● June 27 — Police finalize preparations for their raid on Stonewall Inn. The resulting riot is a turning point in the history of the struggle for gay and lesbian rights.

1970 ● May 11 — “The Late, Great Planet Earth” by Hal Lindsey is published.
● July 25 — The Vatican confirms its condemnation of homosexuality stating that it is a “moral aberration that cannot be approved by human conscience.”
● Unitarian Universalist Association becomes first U.S. mainstream religious group to recognize LGB clergy and laity within its ranks and to demand an end to anti-gay discrimination.

1971 ● March 18 — Idaho repeals its sodomy law, then re-instates it because of outrage among Mormons and Catholics.
● April 1 — French newspaper Tout calls for complete sexual liberation in France. Police seize the publication calling it an “outrage to public morals.”
● Liberty University is founded by Jerry Falwell

1972 ● March 6 — The American Bar Association passes a resolution recommending that consensual sex acts between people of the same sex be decriminalized.
● April 30 — Rev. William R. Johnson becomes the first openly gay minister to be ordained in the United Church of Christ.
● June — “Ithaca Statement on Bisexuality,” by the Quaker Committee of Friends on Bisexuality, is published in The Advocate.
● November 1 — “That Certain Summer” airs on ABC. The ending was changed from the son being guilt-ridden at failing to say goodbye to his father to one where he shows no regret, in order to “avoid controversy.”

1973 ● January 15 — Lance Loud comes out on the PBS series “An American Family”. He’s the first person to come out on national television.
● December 15 — The governing board of the American Psychiatric Association votes to recommend a change in the classification of homosexuality, to remove it from its list of mental illnesses.

1974 ● February — The PTL television ministry is founded by Jim Bakker.
● April 8 — The American Psychiatric Association removes its “sickness” definition of homosexuality.
● Robert Grant founds American Christian Cause to oppose the “gay agenda”, the beginning of modern Christian politics in America.

1975 ● March 26 — A county clerk in Boulder Colorado issues a marriage license to two gay men shortly after the local district attorney’s office ruled that there were no county laws preventing two people of the same sex from marrying.
● July 2 — The 10th General Synod of the UCC passes the “Resolution on Human Sexuality and the Needs of Gay and Bisexual Persons” and “A Pronouncement: Civil Liberties without Discrimination Related to Affectional or Sexual Preference” resolution.
● December 26 — Mary Jo Risher loses custody of her son after a jury finds that she is unfit because she is a lesbian. She later appeals, and loses.

1976 ● May 21 — Candidate Jimmy Carter announces that if elected he will support and sign a federal civil rights bill outlawing discrimination against gays and lesbians.
● November 7 — The Briggs Initiative (Proposition 6) which would have prohibited gay or gay-positive teachers and teachings in California public schools is soundly defeated.
● November 10 — Lynn Ransom wins custody of her children. She is the first open lesbian mother to do so.

1977 ● January 10 — Ellen Marie Barrett becomes the first openly lesbian cleric.
● March 26 — Focus on the Family is founded by James Dobson.
● May 15 — 60 Minutes broadcasts a segment on child pornography, concentrating on “adult homosexuals who prey on small boys.”
● May 30 — Columnist George Will applauds Anita Bryant and condemns gay rights ordinances as “part of the moral disarmament of society.”
● June 7 — Anita Bryant and Save Our Children succeed in repealing Miami law against discrimination based on sexual orientation.
● July 5 — The 11th General Synod of the UCC passed the “Recommendations in Regard to the Human Sexuality Study” and the “Resolution Deploring the Violation of Civil Rights of Gay and Bisexual Persons.”
● August — Rev. Robert Drechsler tells his congregation that he is gay. He must leave his job, but writes in parting to his congregation: “Perhaps some day we will be able to accept one another, each as a child of God, loved by God.”
● September 1 — Log Cabin Republicans club is formed in Southern California (originally called “Gay Republicans”).
● October 14 — Anita Bryant is hit in the face with a pie by a gay activist while speaking at a press conference.
● November 8 — Harvey Milk is elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
● Arkansas recriminalizes gay sex after two years without such a law.
● 80% of surveyed Oregon doctors say they would refuse to treat a known homosexual.

1978 ● The United Presbyterian Church, USA formally welcomes gays and lesbians as members, while stating that homosexuality is, “not God’s wish for humanity...Even where the homosexual orientation has not been consciously sought or chosen, it is neither a gift from God nor a state nor a condition like race; it is a result of our living in a fallen world.”
● February 7 — Oklahoma passes a “Teacher Fitness” statute, allowing local school boards to fire any teacher who “advocates, encourages or promotes” homosexuality.
● November 30 — San Francisco Examiner Headline, “THE CITY WEEPS” regarding the assassination of George Moscone and Harvey Milk on the 27th.

1979 ● October 14 — The first National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights is held.

1980 ● The Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS) resolve that the church: “... should be open to more light on what goes into shaping one’s sexual preferences and reexamine its life and teaching in relation to people who are seeking affirmation and needing acceptance and who are apparently not free to change their orientations.”
● Former Presbyterian minister Lou Sheldon begins warning Americans about the “gay threat” when he founds the Traditional Values Coalition (TVC).
● September 1 — John Boswell’s Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality debuts in book stores.
● November 1 — The book Overcoming Homosexuality suggests that a strict vegetarian diet may “cure” gays and lesbians.
● November 4 — There is a solidifying of the partnership between the “religious right” and the GOP, in the denying of Jimmy Carter’s second term supposedly over the issue of abortion. This, in spite of the fact that Ronald Reagan as California governor was liberal on abortion, and the initial rise of the religious right is instead traced to its support for segregation as in the case of Green v. Connally in the 70s.
● December 1 — American Journal of Psychiatry publishes an article noting that religious conversion is a cure for homosexuality.

1981 ● February 10 — The Moral Majority announces it will spend 3 million dollars in anti-gay advertising.

1982 ● February 10 — President Reagan nominates an evangelist and noted anti-gay, Sam Hart, to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. Hart withdraws as protests mount, blaming the homosexuals for “sabotaging” his nomination.
● February 25 — Wisconsin becomes the first U.S. state to pass a gay civil rights law.

1983 ● June 28 — The 14th General Synod of the UCC passes these resolutions:
→ “Report of the Task Force for the Study of Human Sexuality.” This resolution urged that attention and support be given to the development of proposals and programs to end sexual violence against men, women and children, regardless of their sexual orientation.
→ “Resolution Recommending Inclusiveness on Association Church and Ministry Committees within the United Church of Christ.”
→ “Resolution in Response to the Concerns of Same-gender Oriented Persons and their Families within the United Church of Christ.”
→ “Resolution on the Institutionalized Homophobia within the United Church of Christ.”
● November 23 — A federal court rules against a man who sued the First National Bank of Louisville for requiring that he either resign his position or his membership in Dignity, a gay Catholic group.

1984 ● June 30 — The Unitarian Church votes to recognize and approve gay and lesbian “union” ceremonies.

1985 ● February — Representatives from the Catholic church join with Protestant and Jewish leaders for an “interfaith forum on religion and AIDS.” A joint statement is released calling on religious individuals to treat those with AIDS with compassion, not judgment.
● July 2 — The 15th General Synod of the UCC passes the “Resolution Calling on United Church of Christ Congregations to Declare Themselves Open and Affirming.”
● July 10 — “Given a choice between sharing a park with homosexuals or a bunch of white-sheeted, racist, hate-peddling losers, we think we would prefer homosexuals.” An editorial in the Texas Daily News regarding an upcoming anti-gay rally by the Ku Klux Klan.
● August 23 — The Restoration Church of Jesus Christ (informally called the Gay Mormon Church) is founded by Antonio A. Feliz.
● October 2 — Rock Hudson dies of AIDS at age 59.
● November 17 — The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is formed.

1986 ● The Salvation Army collects signatures for a petition to stop the New Zealand legislature from decriminalizing homosexuality. The Homosexual Law Reform Act passes anyway.
● February 5 — President Ronald Reagan makes a surprise visit to the Department of Health and Human Services and is quoted as saying, “One of our highest public health priorities is going to be continuing to find a cure for AIDS.” He also announces that he will task Surgeon General C. Everett Koop to prepare a major report on the disease.
● August 18 — Rev. Charles Curran, professor at the Catholic University of America, has his teaching privileges revoked by the Vatican for refusing to rescind his statements that the Church’s position on sexual issues such as homosexuality and birth control should not be “absolute.”

1987 ● March 7 — Archbishop O’Connor of New York demands that the Jesuit church in Manhattan that has offered a special mass for Dignity members since 1979 stop doing so. The 1,000 member group holds its last service two days later, but several members protest the decision by wearing lavender armbands and standing silently during Archbishop O’Connor’s sermon at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
● May 29 — Barney Frank, United States Congressman for Massachusetts’s 4th congressional district since 1981, comes out as gay in an interview with The Boston Globe.
● October 11 — The National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights draws over 500,000 people making it the largest civil rights demonstration in U.S. history.

1988 ● February 8 — Pat Robertson comes in second in the Republican Iowa Caucus for the party’s presidential nomination.
● May 15 — Teenagers from a conservative Catholic high school go on a gay bashing spree, beating one victim to death. They are later sentenced to 35 and 40 years in prison.
● September 11 — Archbishop O’Connor of New York condemns a recent wave of gay beatings as “stupid, ignorant, and malicious,” stating that those who perpetuate such acts are “doing violence against Christ Himself,” and that anyone who thinks that such violence is condoned by church teachings is “grossly ignorant of what the church actually teaches.”
● October 2 — Ten members of the Cathedral Project are arrested for disorderly conduct after they lay down on Fifth Avenue in front of New York City’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral in protest of Cardinal O’Connor’s anti-homosexual attitude. The archdiocese also obtains an injunction preventing the organization from further pickets or demonstrations outside St. Patrick’s.
● October 11 — National Coming Out Day is founded on this anniversary of the March on Washington a year ago.
● November 1 — A University of Minnesota study reveals that there is a one in three chance that gay teen boys will attempt suicide.

1989 ● July 1 — The Center for Disease Control announces that the number of confirmed AIDS cases in the United States has topped the 100,000 mark.
● July 4 — The 17th General Synod of the UCC passes the “Resolution Deploring Violence against Lesbian and Gay People.”
● September 28 — A group of around 100 New York City area Catholics meet to openly discuss homosexuality among clergy members at a conference titled “Our Lesbian and Gay Religious and Clergy.” Yale Professor John Boswell is the keynote speaker.
● October 1 — In Denmark, the first state-sanctioned gay marriages take place.
● December 10 — More than 5,000 activists protest at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York regarding the Church’s policies on homosexuality and AIDS.

1990 ● February 8 — The U.S. Senate passes a bill that requires the federal government to compile statistics on hate crimes against gays and lesbians.
● April 23 — The Hate Crimes Statistic Act is signed into law by President George H.W. Bush. It is the first U.S. bill to use the phrase “sexual orientation.”
● November 8 — Mary Robinson, whose platform includes gay rights, is elected as President of predominantly Catholic Ireland.
● December 2 — Fordham University, a Jesuit institution, officially recognizes the student group Fordham Lesbians and Gays, after 11 years of attempts, making it the third Roman Catholic university to recognize a gay student group.
● December 31 — Ian McKellen is knighted by the Queen of England, the first openly gay man to be knighted.

1991 ● June 29 — Gage Park in Topeka Kansas is the site of the first picket conducted by Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church for what they call “The Great Gage Park Decency Drive,” seeking a crackdown on alleged homosexuals cruising for sex in the park.

1992 ● August 17 — Today marks the very first reference to homosexual rights in an RNC platform.
● November 5 — A clause prohibiting anti-gay verbal abuse in schools is repealed by the Fairfax County, Virginia board of education out of concerns that it promotes homosexuality.

1993 ● April 24 — MCC Reverend Troy Perry joins 1,500 lesbian and gay couples in a mass marriage at the IRS building in Washington, D.C.
● July 20 — The 19th General Synod of the UCC passes the “Resolution Calling on the Church for Greater Leadership to End Discrimination against Gays and Lesbians” and “A Call to End the Ban against Gays and Lesbians in the Military”
● October 1 — Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell goes into effect. “It is not a perfect solution,” Clinton said as he announced the policy. “It is not identical with some of my own goals. And it certainly will not please everyone, perhaps not anyone, and clearly not those who hold the most adamant opinions on either side of this issue.” Fearing increase of ‘witch hunts’ within the military, DADT tenuously allowed closeted lesbian and gay service members to remain in the military.

1994 ● February 23 — Pope John Paul II releases a letter in which he states that same-sex unions are “a serious threat to the future of the family and society” and that they should not “be recognized...as a marriage.”
● December 6 — The American Medical Association declares its opposition to treatments intended to cure homosexuality.

1995 ● March 18 — The Archbishop of Canterbury issues the following statement: “We reject homophobia in any form.”

1996 ● September 21 — The Defense of Marriage Act, introduced by Rep. Bob Barr (R—GA) is passed and signed into law by President Bill Clinton.
● November 16 — The Board of Directors of the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries of the UCC votes for “Equal Marriage Rights for Same Gender Couples.”

1997 ● April 30 — Ellen DeGeneres’ character Ellen Morgan comes out on her television show during “The Puppy Episode.” An estimated 42 million viewers watch.

1998 ● Focus on the Family forms Love Won Out, an ex-gay ministry, and will sell it to Exodus International in 2009.
● June — The More Light Churches Network (MLCN), formalized in 1992, combines with the former Presbyterians for Gay and Lesbian Concerns to make a single organization, More Light Presbyterians.
● November 28 — In Allston, Massachusetts, transgender woman Rita Hester is murdered. The ensuing candlelight vigil a few days later was attended by 250 people and inspired the Transgender Day of Remembrance, observed each November 20th worldwide.

1999 ● February — Televangelist Jerry Falwell claims that Tinky Winky, one of the Teletubbies, is a homosexual role model for children.
● February 5 — The Board of Fellows at Notre Dame University, consisting of six bishops and six laypeople, votes unanimously to exclude homosexuality from its antidiscrimination policy.
● June 13 — The Vatican orders a Maryland priest and nun to end their national ministry to gays and lesbians, in service since the 1970s, because it has “strayed from church teaching that homosexual activity is immoral.”
● December 20 — In Baker v. Vermont, the Vermont Supreme Court orders the state legislature to devise a law to give same-sex couples identical rights to married couples.

2000 ● March 7 — California voters approve Proposition 22, a preemptive measure stating that California will not recognize same-sex marriages, even if the marriages take place in states that permit them.

2001 ● April 16 — Steven Spielberg steps down from an advisory board of the Boy Scouts of America, citing the organization’s discriminatory practices in regards to religious belief and sexual orientation.
● August — Gay Christian Network (GCN) is founded by Justin Lee after he’d struggled for years to reconcile his own Christian faith with his sexuality, and so he wanted a way to support others in similar situations.
● September 13 — Jerry Falwell appears on Pat Robertson’s 700 Club and they discuss the 9/11 attacks...
Falwell: “[T]he pagans and the abortionists and the feminists and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way—all of them who have tried to secularize America, I point the finger in their face and say ‘you helped this happen.’”
Robertson: “Well, I totally concur...”

2002 ● January 1 — Rev. Michael Bray, a convicted abortion clinic bomber and leading advocate of murdering abortion doctors, praises Saudi Arabia for beheading three gay men. “Let us give thanks,” Bray proclaims. “Let us welcome these tools of purification. Open the borders! Bring in some agents of cleansing.”

2003 ● May 21 — Marilyn Musgrave, U.S. congresswoman from Colorado, introduces the Federal Marriage Amendment in the country’s House of Representatives with 108 co-sponsors.
● July 15 — The book The Homosexual Agenda co-authored by Alan Sears, head of the Alliance Defense Fund, is published. The book asserts gay activists’ ultimate goal is “silencing” conservative Christians. Sears also accuses cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants of being gay.
● July 31 — The Vatican launches a global campaign against gay marriages, warning Catholic politicians that support of same-sex unions is ‘gravely immoral.’
● August 5 — Rev. Gene Robinson is confirmed as the first openly gay man to become bishop in the Episcopal Church USA.

2004 ● February 7 — Rainbow Ark LiveJournal community for LGBT Christians in the furry fandom is founded.
● February 12 — San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom orders the city clerk to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Nearly 3,200 same-sex couples receive licenses in a nine-day period.
● March 23 — Benton County, Oregon bans all marriages—gay and heterosexual—until the state decides who can and who cannot wed.
● May 17 — The first legally recognized same-sex marriage in the U.S. takes place in Massachusetts.
● May 24 — The Salvation Army threatens to leave New York City if Mayor Michael Bloomberg enforces a new ordinance requiring all groups with city contracts to offer benefits to the same-sex partners of employees. Bloomberg, who opposed the ordinance, doesn’t enforce it.
● August 24 — Vice President Dick Cheney says publicly that he believes the issue of gay marriage should be “left up to the States.”
● September 12 — “And I’m going to be blunt and plain: If one [a gay man] ever looks at me like that, I’m going to kill him and tell God he died,” Evangelist Jimmy Swaggart says to laughter and applause from his congregation. Then 10 days later: “It’s a humorous statement that doesn’t mean anything. You can’t lie to God—it’s ridiculous,” Swaggart told The Associated Press. “If it’s an insult, I certainly didn’t think it was, but if they are offended, then I certainly offer an apology.”
● October 1 — Pastor Ken Hutcherson hopes that a million Christians will join him on October 15th in Washington, D.C., during the “Mayday for Marriage” rally on the National Mall. An estimated 150,000 attend, and where James Dobson declares, “[E]verything we care about is on the line. It’s now or never.”

2005 ● April 21 — In its home state of Washington, the Microsoft Corporation withdraws support for H.B. 1515, after pressure from local Pastor Ken Hutcherson. The bill would have made it illegal to fire an employee based on sexual orientation. Hutcherson threatened the company with a nationwide boycott.
● July — Pastor Jay Bakker’s scheduled speech to the 2005 Exodus Freedom Conference is cancelled apparently due to his recent support for marriage equality. Though Exodus cancels Jay, they keep Jerry Falwell.

2006 ●  Bernard Lynch is the world’s first Catholic priest to undertake a civil partnership, in the Republic of Ireland. After being expelled from his religious order, he goes on to legally wed his husband in 2016.
● June 5 — President George W. Bush renews his call for passage of the Federal Marriage Amendment.

2007 ● April — United Methodist minister, Rev. Frank Schaefer officiates his son’s same-sex wedding in Massachusetts. He is defrocked December 19th 2013, after a complaint is filed of the incident by a member of Schaefer’s congregation. But then on June 24th 2014, The United Methodist Church restores his credentials.
● May 17 — There is a reunification of the Russian Orthodox Church after 80 years of schism.
● June 11 — Anti-gay legislation Republican senator, Larry Craig is arrested at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on suspicion of lewd conduct in a men’s restroom, where he is accused of soliciting an undercover police officer for sexual activity. Craig insists upon his innocence, disputing the officer’s version of the event by stating that he merely had a “wide stance”.
● September 19 — San Diego Republican Mayor Jerry Sanders reveals his plan to support a city measure guaranteeing marriage equality to gays and lesbians, after previously opposing it.

2008 ● June 16 — Long-time partners and co-founders of Daughters of Bilitus, Phillis Lyon and Del Martin, marry.
● June 29 — Conservative Anglicans indicate that they plan to split from liberal Anglicans in “The Jerusalem Declaration”.
● September 12 — Christian singer Ray Boltz publicly comes out.

2009 ● March 5-8 — A “Gay Agenda” workshop takes place in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, hosted by Pastor/Evangelist Scott Lively, ‘Ex-gay’ Caleb Lee Brundidge, and Exodus International board member Don Schmierer. The themes: How to make gay people straight; how gay men often sodomize teenage boys and how ‘the gay movement is an evil institution’ whose goal is ‘to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity’. The conference is attended by thousands including police, members of parliament, and pastors.
● August 16 — Pastor Steven L. Anderson preaches a sermon entitled “I Hate Barack Obama” in which he talks about his praying for the president to die. He also calls for the U.S. Government to execute all homosexuals.
● August 21 — The Minneapolis Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America passes four ministry policy resolutions that permit clergy in committed homosexual partnerships to be rostered leaders within the ELCA.
● October 14 — A proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill is introduced into Uganda’s Parliament. It is greatly expanded from a earlier draft dated April 20, 2009.

2010 ● May 3 — Anti-gay legislation Republican senator, Roy Ashburn is arrested on suspicion of drunk driving shortly before 2 a.m., after leaving a Sacramento gay nightclub.
● June 28 — The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez that public universities may refuse to recognise student organizations with discriminatory membership policies.
● November 13 — Cindy McCain, wife of Republican Senator John McCain, participates in a ‘NoH8’ campaign video calling for equal rights for gay and lesbian service members.
● December 22 — The Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010 is signed into law by President Barack Obama.

2011 ● May 11 — A majority of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A.’s 173 presbyteries ratifies an amendment to the church’s constitution removing a provision flatly prohibiting the ordination of sexually active unmarried Presbyterians as church officers.
● August 14 — Rep. Michele Bachmann says that gay Americans are part of Satan, and that homosexuality is a form of bondage, while campaigning for president in the 2012 Republican Primary.
● November 21 — Bil Browning at The Bilerico Project promotes a drive encouraging gay-rights supporters to give their holiday donations to charities other than The Salvation Army that don’t “actively discriminate against the LGBT community.”

2012 ● March 14 — The lawsuit Sexual Minorities Uganda v. Scott Lively is filed.
● April 10 — In spite of overwhelming support from parents, Den Mother of Tiger Cub Scout Pack 109, Jennifer Tyrrell is removed from her post by the Boy Scouts of America for being a lesbian.
● August 15 — Activist Floyd Corkins enters the lobby of the Family Research Council in Washington D.C., makes negative comments about the organization’s stance against marriage equality before shooting a security guard in the arm. The security guard, Leo Johnson, was able to disarm the gunman, who was then arrested.

2013 ● May 23 — The Boy Scouts of America’s national governing body votes to rescind the long-standing ban on homosexual youth. Effective January 1st 2014: “No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.” The ban still exists for Scout leaders.
● June 19 — Exodus International, an organization devoted to the “re-orientation” of homosexual desires, shuts down.
● June 26 — The Supreme Court of the United States strikes down Defense of Marriage Act (section 3) as unconstitutional in a 5/4 ruling. The Supreme Court also rules that those who legally defended Proposition 8 in California had no standing.
● July 3 — Russian President Vladimir Putin signs a law banning the adoption of Russian-born children to gay couples or to any couple or single parent living in a country where marriage equality exists in any form.
● July 17 — John Delwin Jordan representing the Prattville Tea Party, kicks off a meeting of the Alabama Public Service Commission on power rates with a prayer against gay marriage and reproductive rights.
● July 29 — “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Pope Francis tells reporters, speaking in Italian but using the English word “gay” rather than saying “homosexual”.
● September 4 — NALT (Not All Like That) Christians Project makes its public debut with co-founders Dan Savage and John Shore.
● December — Over 18,000 people who define themselves as Christians sign a petition from Faithful America encouraging a cable network to stand its ground when A&E decides to indefinitely suspend “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson after he shared racist and anti-gay sentiments with GQ magazine.

2014 ● February 24 — The Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2014 is signed into law by President Museveni of Uganda.
● April — Dan Haseltine, leader of the Christian band Jars of Clay comes out in favor of marriage equality, resulting in angry reactions from many of their fans, and their tracks being dropped from many Christian radio stations’ playlists.
● April 10 — The Family Foundation asks that others join them for “40 Days of Prayer, Fasting and Repentance for Marriage” from August 27 until October 5, 2014. They blame “Pagan philosophies, a secular humanist education establishment and an entertainment industry that is absolutely determined in pushing the envelope on decency and morality...”
● June 5 — The Texas Republican Party state convention takes place and a draft of their 2014 platform is obtained that reveals their party’s support for gay “reparative therapy” which was adopted without allowing debate. Further, “We support the definition of marriage as a God ordained, legal and moral commitment only between a natural man and a natural woman.”
● June 25 — A group of about 140 religious leaders and advocates for religious freedom send a letter to President Barack Obama to try and secure an exemption for faith-based groups in a pending executive order which aims to protect LGBT government contract workers from discrimination.
● July 8 — More than 100 faith leaders from across the country ask President Obama to leave out a religious exemption in his upcoming executive order which seeks to ban job discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation among federal contractors. “As people of faith, we should be exemplary and not exempted,” said Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, president of Union Theological Seminary and one of five seminary presidents to sign the letter.
● August 1 — The Constitutional Court of Uganda rules the newly enacted anti-gay law invalid on a technicality.
● October 13 — A new Vatican report says the church should welcome and appreciate gays. The synod said that gay people have ‘gifts and talents to offer the Christian community.’ By the 18th, most of the positive language toward gays and lesbians is struck from the report.

2015 ● January 21 — Barack Obama becomes the first president to use the words “lesbian,” “bisexual,” and “transgender” in a State of the Union speech.
● March 26 — Indiana Senate Bill 101, titled the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) is approved by a 40 to 10 vote and signed into law by governor Mike Pence. The opposition is swift and widespread and its ultimate defeat sends a strong message to other states that anti-LGBTQ sentiment is bad for business.
● April 24 — Bruce Jenner comes out as a transgender woman.
● June 2 — Caitlyn Jenner poses for photographer Annie Leibovitz on the cover of Vanity Fair.
● June 26 — The Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges, ruled it unconstitutional to deny same-sex couples the same rights and privileges as everyone else, striking down marriage bans in all 50 states making marriage legal and equal nationwide.
● September 3 — Rowan County Clerk, Kim Davis rejects a proposal that would have allowed her deputies to grant same-sex marriage licenses in her stead, essentially choosing jail.
● November 3 — Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) fails by a wide margin which would have offered broad nondiscrimination protections for more than a dozen protected classes. The opposition’s scare tactics and lies exploited the community’s lack of understanding about trans people with claims that gender identity and expression protections would allow men to enter women’s restrooms to commit crimes.
● November 9 — Inspired by Black Lives Matter, students at the University of Missouri begin the Concerned Student 1950 movement in response to racism, sexism, and other issues in the administration. The movement is led by queer-identified black students.
● November 17 — MTV’s series True Life airs an episode covering the topic of living and being genderqueer, bringing to light for many how to properly use the singular “they” and other neopronouns.
● December 2 — A Chicago-area school district decides to allow a transgender student to use the girls’ locker room, settling a federal civil rights complaint that had sparked emotional reaction and put the district at the center of national debate over treatment of transgender children at school.
● December 9 — Cincinnati Ohio votes to ban reparative/conversion therapy of LGBTQ youth.
● December 21 — The FDA moves from a lifetime ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood to a deferral of one year for any man who has had sex with another man during the past 12 months.

† Crossing Paths †


Timeline of Christianity
Timeline of LGBT History
and other Wikipedia pages
UCC LGBT History Timeline
Aaron's Gay Info.com, Timeline
Ohio University LGBT History Timeline
R.S.Levinson GLBT Historical Calendar Project
Al Jazeera, Timeline: Gay marriage and the GOP
Politico.com, The Real Origins of the Religious Right
SPLC: History of the Anti-Gay Movement Since 1977
OutHistory.org Catholicism and Homosexuality in the U.S.
Lambda Archives of San Diego, History of Marriage Timeline
Real Clear Politics, Ronald Reagan and AIDS: Correcting the Record
Religious Tolerance.org, The Presbyterian Church (USA) & homosexuality
THE WEEK Gays 'should die': A timeline of the Salvation Army's anti-gay flare-ups
Providence Journal TIMELINE: Gay and lesbian history in Rhode Island, and nationally