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There was widely celebrated progress in the fight for gay rights this year. In May, Ireland became the first country to legalize same sex marriage by a popular vote and the U.S. Supreme Court legalized it in America the following month. The world is still far from giving the LGBT community equal rights, but it's worth acknowledging how far we've come.
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For centuries, same-sex intimacy and relationships have been criminalized. Many Muslim countries have invoked Islamic law when it comes to homosexual behaviors, penalizing people accused of same-sex acts severely, even executing them. In the 1530s, King Henry VIII of England passed the Buggery Act, which made sexual contact between men punishable by death. In following generations, people in the LGBT community worldwide have faced severe persecution, much of it promoted openly and actively by powerful governments.
Many people cite the Stonewall Riot of June 28, 1969 as a critical turning point in the gay rights movement. When police raided a popular gay bar to catch "sexual deviants," patrons of the nearby Stonewall Inn and others fought back. The event received little coverage at the time but a year later thousands of members of the LGBT community commemorated it with a march through New York. This came to be America's first gay pride parade.
Read more about LGBT rights:
Irish Times: Ireland becomes first country to approve same sex marriage by popular vote
PBS: Milestones in the American Gay Rights Movement
Encyclopaedia Britannica: Gay rights movement