Yet the June uprising by young gays, lesbians and transgender people in New York City, clashing with police near a bar called the Stonewall Inn, was a vital catalyst in expanding LGBT activism nationwide and abroad. What unfinished business remains? From the perspective of veteran activists, the progress has been astounding. In , every state but Illinois outlawed gay sex, psychiatric experts classified homosexuality as a mental disorder, and most gays stayed in the closet for fear of losing jobs and friends.
After Florida became a territory of the United States in , the Territorial Legislature enacted laws against fornication, adultery, bigamy, and incest, as well as against "open lewdness, or Florida's first specific sodomy law, which was enacted in and made sodomy a felony, read: "Whoever commits the abominable and detestable crime against nature, either with mankind or with beast, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison not exceeding twenty years. The general attitude about homosexuality in Miami mirrored many other cities' across the country. Though gay nightlife in the city had enjoyed the same boisterous existence as other forms of entertainment in the s, by the s, the city government worked to shut down as many gay bars as possible and enacted laws making homosexuality and cross-dressing illegal. In the s The Miami Herald ran several stories implying the life of area homosexuals as synonymous with pimps and child molesters , and WTVJ , a television station, aired a documentary titled "The Homosexual" in warning viewers that young boys were in danger from predatory men. Florida courts interpreted the law to prohibit all sexual activity between two men or two women.
A new anti-bullying program in Florida sounds so good on paper. The first of its kind in the nation, it gives public money to kids who have been victims of bullying and helps them attend private school. Florida Gov. Rick Scott R touted it as an example of government stepping in to do good.
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