Steven A. Levine
Coordinator for Educational Programs
Rhode Island’s Legislature passed a marriage equality law yesterday, making it the tenth state to do so with Delaware, Minnesota and Illinois likely to follow soon. But this victory did not come out of a vacuum. Watch the Archives latest video, NYC Gay Rights Bill Passed, 1986 and hear Mayor Koch explain how the law was passed and Council Members Wendell Foster and Noach Dear explaining their votes for and against respectively.
A quarter century ago, marriage equality seemed an impossibility. In New York City, where the Stonewall Inn was the birthplace of the gay rights movement in 1969, a gay rights bill had languished in the City Council for a dozen years without a vote. Finally, in 1986 the Council voted to protect the civil rights of people based on sexual orientation after a fierce and contentious debate with strong opposition from the Catholic Church and other religious and social conservatives. The video gives perspective on how far we have traveled on the road towards equality.