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Gay History – June 2: AIDS Tax Introduced in Congress, Bill Clinton Introduces PRIDE Month, and Crimes Against Nature Charges in 2008

 

June 2;

1983 – US Congressman Lawrence McDonald (D-GA) proposed that a “user-tax” be imposed on people with AIDS to finance research, saying that since they caused the epidemic they shouldn’t expect others to pay for the research necessary to find treatments.

McDonald, who considered himself a traditional Democrat “cut from the cloth of Jefferson and Jackson,” was known for his ultra-conservative views, even by southern standards and was more conservative than many members of the Republican Party at the time.  In fact, one scoring method published in the American Journal of Political Science named him the second most conservative member of either chamber of Congress between 1937 and 2002.

McDonald sponsored amendments to stop government aid to homosexuals and also co-sponsored a bill “expressing the sense of the Congress that homosexual acts and the class of individuals who advocate such conduct shall never receive special consideration or a protected status under law”.

MacDonald was also the second president of the John Birch Society and opposed the establishment of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day saying the FBI had evidence that King “was associated with and being manipulated by communists and secret communist agents.”

On September 1, 1983 Lawrence McDonald boarded Korean Air Lines Flight 007. to attend a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the United States–South Korea Mutual Defense Treaty. McDonald and the rest of the passengers and crew of KAL 007 were killed when Soviet fighters, under the command of Gen. Anatoly Kornukov, shot down KAL 007 near Moneron Island after the plane entered Soviet airspace.when it was shot down by Soviet interceptors and all passengers were dead.

Who said there is no such thing as Karma?

1987 – “A Chorus Line” creator Michael Bennett died of complications from AIDS at age 44 in Tucson, Arizona

1989 – The first annual Lambda Literary awards ceremony was held.  The “Lammy” is the most prestigious, competitive, and comprehensive literary award offered specifically to LGBT authors writing about queer lives across multiple genres published by large and small presses.

1998 – The Rhode Island legislature voted to repeal the state’s sodomy law. The prison sentence under the law had ranged from 7-20 years. 

2000 – Bill Clinton, the first U.S. President to proclaim June as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, issued his final pride proclamation. Clinton took the occasion to renew his call for passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and the Hate Crimes Prevention Act.  Four years earlier in 1996 Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act which prevents the Federal Government from recognizing same sex marriages in America.

2008 – Charges of crimes against nature were dropped against two men who were arrested for having consensual sex in Wake County, N.C. since it was in private. Though the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Lawrence v. Texas in 2003 that consensual gay sex is not a punishable offense, North Carolina still classified sodomy as an illegal activity. Raleigh police were told that they could continue to arrest gay men for having public sex, but not private sex.

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is one of America's best known LGBT historians, He is also a a accredited journalist and the owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced on such notable media venues as BBC News, CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, The Daily Wall Street Journal, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story. Back2Stonewall has been recently added to the Library of Congress' LGBTQ+ Studies Web Archive. Mr. Kohler is available for comment, interviews and lectures on LGBT History. Contact: Will@Back2Stonewall.com

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