The Top US LGBT stories of 2013
As 2013 comes to an end, PinkNews highlights the most important US stories of the past twelve months.
The stories chosen in this US list were those that were widely shared and generated an interesting debate as well as the ones that our editorial team deemed to have a significant effect on LGBT life in the US and beyond. From politics, to court cases, to celebrities to campaigns, you’ll find the most read stories here.
Prop 8 and DOMA struck down in California, paving the way for the state’s equal marriage law
In June, the US Supreme Court strikes down DOMA and Prop 8 in landmark rulings
In the second case, around California’s Proposition 8, the Supreme Court ruled that such a ruling was not in its jurisdiction, nor was it in the jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit Court, which previously ruled, therefore deferring the decision to a previous ruling by a district court which decided the ban was unconstitutional.
On the following day, the court also reflected on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as between a man and a woman, passed under President Bill Clinton in 1996.
Same-sex marriage is made legal across many states, the most recent being Utah
Utah became the 18th American state to legalise equal marriage just before Christmas. US District Judge Robert Shelby ruled that the state’s equal marriage ban was unconstitutional on 21 December.
Utah – better known for the Mormon Church than for progressive politics – illustrated just how unstoppable the campaign for equal marriage had become across the US in 2013.
June’s US Supreme Court ruling against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) meant for the first time equal marriage activists had the support of the highest court in the land on the issue.
Eight of the state’s 33 counties started issuing marriage licences to same-sex couples in August, when a county clerk in southern New Mexico independently decided to allow the ceremonies.
But the December ruling by the court made equal marriage fully legal in New Mexico.
Ohio is now tipped to possibly become the 19th US state to legalise equal marriage in 2014, after federal judge Timothy Black declared on 23 December that the state should recognise death certificates from deceased partners in same-sex marriages undertaken in other states.
US Senate passes anti-discrimination protection bill
A bill banning workplace discrimination against LGBT Americans passed the US Senate last month with President Barack Obama describing it as an “important step” to “help end injustice”.
The Democratic-led Senate voted 64-32 to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), with 10 Republicans voting in favour. It now awaits its passage through the House of Representatives.
‘Ex-gay’ activist admits to using Grindr, but states that he never used it for sex
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis rap about equal marriage and same-sex relationships
In February, rap duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis released pro-equal marriage song ‘Same Love’ which reached the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100 in July as the campaign for same-sex marriage heightened in the US.
A new strain of gonorrhoea could potentially be ‘worse than AIDS’, warn doctors
Although HO41 had not spread outside of Japan or killed anyone as of yet, medical professionals voiced concern.
Two of founder’s granddaughters from ‘God Hates Fags’ church quit the movement and express remorse
In February, two granddaughters of Fred Phelps, the founder of the homophobic Westboro Baptist Church, quit the organisation, stating that they were sorry for “inflicting pain on others” while they were members.
Megan and Grace Phelps-Roper said: “We know that we’ve done and said things that hurt people. Inflicting pain on others wasn’t the goal, but it was one of the outcomes. We wish it weren’t so, and regret that hurt.”
The sisters also noted that their family had cut them off after their decision to leave the “God Hates Fags” church.
Anti-LGBT evangelist Scott Lively stands trial for ‘crimes against humanity’ in Uganda
Accusations by the Sexual Minorities organization in Uganda claimed that Lively’s actions in Uganda over the past decade resulted in torture, arrest, persecution and murder of gay individuals in the country.
Mr Lively has also co-written the book, the Pink Swastika, which contains an introduction saying : “homosexuals [are] the true inventors of Nazism and the guiding force behind many Nazi atrocities.”
Gay teen in Oregon is taken off life support after hanging himself due to of homophobic bullying
In the following week in January, over 200 people attended a candlelight vigil for Bell which included school friends and family.
Fox News accidentally uses a lesbian kiss wedding photo in article about ‘traditional’ marriage
Following this accident, Fox News replaced the original picture with an image of male and female symbols.
Robbie Rogers comes out, quits football in the UK and then returns to the sport in the US
Jason Collins comes out as gay
This NBA star was the second high-profile US sportsman to come out in early 2013.
Coming out in Sports Illustrated magazine, Jason Collins wrote: “I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.”
Two-thirds of US residents supported his decision to come out, and he received thousands of messages of support, including from President Barack Obama, and First Lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, his teammates, coaches, the Commissioner of the NBA, and countless others.
Various groups mess with the Westboro “God Hates Fags” Baptist Church during their demonstrations
The “God Hates Fags” church has been in the news for all the wrong reasons in 2013 and here is a short selection of various groups countering their message:
The demonstration included a shirtless guy named Chris gained more attention than Westboro church who picketed outside the Oklahoma City and Houston Rockets NBA playoff following Jason Collins announcement that he was gay.
Later, accompanied by her father, 5-year-old Jayden Sink, spent four hours on the driveway of Equality House on Friday, selling “pink lemonade for peace”, with the aim to raise money for Planting Peace’s anti-bullying initiative. The church told her she would “burn in hell”.