For a young movement, Gay Liberation has come a long way. The first Gay Liberation group was formed in 1969 after an incident in New York City’s Greenwich Village. Police closed a homosexual bar, and patrons of the bar decided to fight back. They battled police with fists and bricks, set fires, and destroyed property. Homosexual anti-war dissidents saw here an opportunity to radicalize the homosexual community, which previously had shunned publicity. Before long, Gay Liberation Fronts and Gay Activist groups were being organized across the country.
The Judeo-Christian heritage, on which this country’s civil and criminal codes are based, loomed large as a barrier to the success of Gay Liberation. As Christians spoke out against “equal rights” legislation before local government bodies, Gay Liberationists felt a need for anti-church programs. Now that many local governments have given legal protection to the homosexual, Liberationists have begun to campaign for recognition within the churches. Supporters of equal rights for homosexuals have been able to back Gay Liberation in its demands for civil legislation without church support. But they realize that support for change in the criminal codes will require church approval of homosexuality as a valid alternative life-style for its members.
Many denominations are being forced to face the issue of homosexuality within their membership and leadership. Ads for “gay caucuses” and “gay organizational meetings” within the Lutheran, Presbyterian, Nazarene, Southern Baptist, Episcopal and Roman Catholic churches are appearing in the leading national homophile newspaper, The Advocate. Such groups are being formed to obtain “equal rights” for homosexual men and women within these denominations. ...1
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