Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The 60s: East Coast Politics

East Coast Politics
In the mid 60s homophile groups became increasingly more radical and made use of direct-action protests. In 1965 ECHO organized picket-line protests of government discrimination in the White House, the State Department, and the Pentagon. They also planned an annual reminder picketing at Independence Hall in Philadelphia on July Fourth to remind the general public that homosexuals didn't have the same freedoms as other Americans. This in itself was an amazingly courageous act. At the time it was taboo to openly express your homosexuality, however these people gave away their anonymity in order to progress gay civil rights.

In New York, Mattachine president Dick Leitsch and two other Mattachine members, Craig Rodwell and John Timmons, held a 'sip-in' on 1966 to protest the State Liquor Authority's policy of closing down bars that served homosexuals. The three men went to several bars (with reporters), admitted their homosexuality to the bartender, and then attempted to purchase a drink. The first two bars gave them drinks, but the third denied them. The Mattachine society thus filed a complaint with the State Liquor Authority and in 1967 the court ruled that serving a homosexual did not constitute having your liquor license revoked.

In 1966 homophile organizations from across the country organized to create one national group: NACHO, the North American Conference of Homosexual Organizations. This groups began to compile studies and legal cases which progressed the gay rights movement. In 1968 NACHO adopted "Gay Is Good" as its slogan. However, though progress was being made few American's were even aware of these organizations, and in comparison to the black rights movement little headway was being made.

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