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04/01/2011

Pre-nuptial disagreement: Looking back at NYC's equality fight, 1986 vintage

by Jeremy Hooper

Andy Humm leads off this, one of the more insightful clips from Phil Zwickler and Jane Lippman's 1988 documentary Rights and Reactions:


*More clips and information: Rights and Reactions [Phil Zwickler Foundation]

Organizeed Catholic opposition? Yehuda Levin saying incendiary things? Religion, religion, and, did I mention, the Bible?

Now, twenty-five years after that contentious nondiscrimination bill's long-delayed signage, a more seasoned Andy -- today a journalist for Gay City News and co-host of the weekly "Gay USA" program -- is looking back on a fight that may seem dated in one sense, yet is so undeniably familiar in another. Go read Andy's firsthand take and perhaps even glean a thing or two about what then-councilwoman Ruth Messinger said was "exactly the kind of legislative story from which people in any field can learn a lot":

It’s the silver anniversary of the passage of New York City’s gay and lesbian rights bill. The City Council adopted it 21-14 on March 21, 1986, and Mayor Ed Koch signed it into law on April 2.

A quarter of a century ago sounds like a long time in the past, but New York was actually one of the last big American cities to pass such a bill, even though the concept of adding “sexual orientation” to non-discrimination laws was dreamt up here by the Gay Activists Alliance (GAA) in 1971.

KEEP READING: NYC's Gay Rights Silver Anniversary [Gay City News]

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