The Struggle for Gay Civil Rights

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On June 26, 2015, in a 5-4 decision, the Obergefell vs. Hodges Supreme Court case granted the fundamental right to marry to same-sex couples. The decision came as support for same-sex marriage peaked - according to Pew polling, 57 percent of Americans opposed same-sex marriage in 2001. By 2016, that percentage had flipped with 55 percent of Americans in support of same-sex marriage.

Despite this landmark decision and the passage of subsequent laws prohibiting sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination, state-by-state law variation leaves the LGBTQ community vulnerable to discrimination in housing, home, and, most recently, in bathrooms.

Lillian Faderman, the daughter of an unmarried Jewish garment worker in lower Manhattan, is widely considered a leading scholar on LGBT history. Her most recent book, The Gay Revolution, was praised as “the most comprehensive history to date of America’s gay-rights movement” by The EconomistIt also received the 2016 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Nonfiction. She discusses with the City Club the history of the gay revolution from the 1950s to present day.

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