Though police raids on gay bars were common in the 60s, on June 28, 1969, patrons of New York's Stonewall Inn said "enough." They fought back, riots broke out, and supporters poured into West Village, igniting the gay rights movement in the U.S. Within six months, two gay activist organizations were formed in N.Y., and three newspapers were launched for gays and lesbians.
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A gay rights protester in drag with a banner declaring 'Not Every Boy Dreams Of Being A Marine' during a Gay Rights march up Fifth Avenue to Central Park, New York City, 1979.
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Harvey Milk poses in front of his camera shop in San Francisco, Nov. 9, 1977. Milk became one of the first openly gay men elected to public office in the United States when he won a seat on the board of supervisors in 1977. An outspoken advocate for gay rights, he urged others to come out and fight for their rights. He was assassinated at City Hall, more than a year later.
Reverend John Kuiper, right, the first gay man in America to win the right to adopt a child, is shown with his partner Roger Hooverman, during a Gay Rights March, in 1979, in New York.
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Spectators look at the National AIDS Memorial Quilt on the Mall, Oct. 12, 1996 in Washington, DC. Starting in 1981, gay advocacy groups began to form to talk about how the government was handling the AIDS crisis, and how the disease had been linked with homosexuals.
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President Bill Clinton in shown in Nov. of 1996 at the White House. In 1993, Clinton's "don't ask, don't tell" policy prevented gays from openly serving in the military. President Barack Obama repealed the policy in 2011.
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Ellen DeGeneres made history on her TV sitcom "Ellen" in 1997 when she came out on the show. Ratings dropped after, and the show was cancelled. DeGeneres now hosts a popular talk show, "The Ellen Degeneres Show."
A candlelight vigil is held for slain gay Wyoming student, Matthew Shepard, in New York, Oct. 19, 1998. Shepard, a 21-year-old college student, was beaten by two other men, outside Laramie, Wyo. He died less than a week after the attack. Federal hate crime legislation approved in 2009 bears Shepard's name.
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Susan Murray, left, and Beth Robinson watch the start of the debate on same sex marriage in Montpelier, Vt., March 15, 2000. The two lawyers brought a lawsuit before the Vermont Supreme Court that led the state to be the first to allow same-sex civil unions. The state approved same-sex marriage in 2009.
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Former talk show host Rosie O'Donnell, right, and her longtime girlfriend, Kelli Carpenter, kiss after a private wedding at City Hall, Feb. 26, 2004 in San Francisco, Calif. O'Donnell announced her wedding plans just two days after U.S. President George W. Bush called for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.
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Supporters of gay marriage rally on the steps of the State Capitol, Nov. 22, 2008 in Sacramento, Calif. The California Supreme Court had ruled earlier in 2008 that homosexual couples be allowed to wed, but in November, voters approved Proposition 8, an amendment that banned same-sex marriage.
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President Barack Obama becomes the first sitting president to declare his support of same-sex marriage, announced during an exclusive interview with ABC News, May 9, 2012. This was a change from what he had previously said, which was that he approved civil unions but opposed same-sex marriage.
Demonstrators gather outside the Supreme Court, March 25, 2013 in Washington, DC. The court is expected to rule by late June in two cases involving same-sex marriage. One is a challenge to California Prop. 8. The other seeks to strike down a portion of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that denies to legally married same-sex couples many benefits available to married heterosexuals.
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Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton signs the gay marriage bill in front of the State Capitol in St. Paul, May 14, 2013. Minnesota became the 12th state to legalize gay marriage. Three states and three countries have approved same-sex unions in just the two months since the Supreme Court heard arguments on the issue.
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The wedding of New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, right, and longtime partner Kim Catullo, in New York, May 19, 2012. Quinn would be the first female and first openly gay person to hold the position of New York City Council Speaker.
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Jason Collins gave a coming out interview for the cover of May 2013 issue of Sports Illustrated. Collins would later sign to the Brooklyn Nets and become the first openly-gay active player in the NBA.
Gay rights organizations are promoting a "National Same-Sex Kiss Day" where people head to a Chick-fil-A and lock lips with a member of the same sex. Activists across the country staged a kiss-in after anti-gay remarks were made the CEO, Dan Cathy.
Spencer Geiger, left, and Carl Johansen protest for equal marriage outside the Walter E. Hoffman U.S. Courthouse as oral arguments in the case of Bostic v Rainey proceed on Feb. 4, 2014 in Norfolk, Va. Even after the US Supreme Court ruled DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) unconstitutional in June 2013, many are still fighting for equal marriage rights for the LBGT community in several states.
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Missouri senior defensive lineman Michael Sam speaks to the media during an NCAA college football news conference in Irving, Texas. Sam came out as gay after graduating and has since become the first active football player in the NFL. He and boyfriend Vito Cammisano stirred media controversy after a kiss they shared during the 2014 NFL Draft in which Sam was drafted to the Rams was deemed inappropriate by anti-gay proponents.
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