DURING THE 1960s , POLICE departments across the nation enforced state bans on serving alcohol to LGBTQ people by raiding bars suspected of serving LGBTQ patrons. So when New York City police entered the LGBTQ-serving Stonewall Inn in the early hours of June 28, 1969, they expected the typical routine of shutting down the bar and arresting selected patrons. But when arrested patrons resisted and a threatening crowd gathered, police retreated back into the bar for protection. By the time that police reinforcements arrived, a riot had erupted in the streets that would continue for nights to follow. The moment would come to symbolize the beginning of the gay liberation movement. The next year, commemorative marches and “gay-ins” were organized in San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles to coincide with the anniversary of the riot. New York’s march, which started small with tens of people, grew to hundreds then to thousands as it entered Central Park. A Los Angeles contingent enlisted the help of the American Civil Liberties Union to acquire a city permit; it became the first LGBTQ march sanctioned by a city government. These marches developed into an annual event, grew in size and participation, and soon spread across the nation and the world in cities small and large as a reminder and celebration of the Stonewall Riots of 1969.
IN 1970, MINNEAPOLIS RESIDENTS Jack Baker and Mike McConnell became the first national media celebrities of the LGBTQ rights movement when they held a press conference to announce their application for a marriage license. Not only were they denied the license, but the University of Minnesota withdrew McConnell’s job offer. Baker and McConnell sued on both accounts. The Minnesota Supreme Court, in the first state ruling of its kind, denied Baker and McConnell the right to marry; and a federal appeals court upheld the University of Minnesota’s right to deny McConnell a job due to his homosexuality.