Gay & Lesbian Times 20th Anniversary
20 years of reporting the news and events of the GLBT community
Published Thursday, 13-Mar-2008 in issue 1055
The Gay & Lesbian Times has played an important role in reporting news that has made history in San Diego’s GLBT community, the United States and the world. This timeline provides a glimpse of the trials and tribulations, successes and achievements we have reported in the past 20 years. These moments in time represent only a fraction of the events that help us to embrace our past and to fortify our future.
Gay & Lesbian Times 20th Anniversary GLBT timeline
• San Diego’s newest weekly newspaper, the San Diego Gay Times, for the gay and lesbian community is launched in January.
• The City Council votes 8-1 to approve an AIDS anti-bias ordinance, which protects PWAs against discrimination. Bruce Henderson votes against the measure.
• GLBT activists Jeri Dilno and Fred Scholl are appointed to the Police Committee Relations Advisory Board by Mayor Maureen O’Connor and unanimously approved by the City Council. Police Chief Bill Kolender makes a three-hour course of the GLBT community a permanent part of the Regional Law Enforcement Training Center Program.
• The U.S. Congress passes legislation to provide $1.1 billion for AIDS research and education.
• Major league umpire Dave Pallone is fired for alleged involvement in a sex ring with teenage boys. Pallone brings a suit against major league baseball and is cleared of all charges, though he does later acknowledge in his autobiography that he is gay.
• Sweden is the first country to pass laws protecting gays and lesbians regarding social services, taxes, and inheritances. England and Wales enact almost identical legislation.
• Michael G. Portantino, and [now former] business partner, Jim Krupiarz, buy the San Diego Gay Times – just as it was about to go under due to competition from three other gay papers in the area. The publication eventually changes its name to the Gay & Lesbian Times to become more inclusive.
• More than 50 gay and lesbian county employees attend the first meeting of the Gay and Lesbian Association of County Employees to acknowledge their identities and their vital role in county government.
• Robert Walsh is awarded $5,000 in an out-of-court settlement in an AIDS discrimination suit against Hillcrest chiropractor Joseph Cicmanec who refused to treat Walsh because he has AIDS.
• Governor Pete Wilson goes back on his promise and vetoes gay-rights bill A.B. 101, sparking the subsequent “October Revolution” in cities throughout the state of California.
• Surrounded by controversy, Robert Williams is ordained as an openly gay Episcopalian priest. One month later he publicly comments that “monogamy is as unnatural as celibacy” followed by the remark that Mother Teresa would be better off “if she got laid.” In 1991, Williams resigned his priesthood.
• Denmark is the first country in the world to enact registered partnership laws for same-sex couples, with most of the same rights as marriage (excluding the right to adoption and the right to marry in a church). Eigil and Axel Axgil in Denmark become the first legally married same-sex couple in the world.
• The City of San Diego gives $600,000 in Community Block Grant monies to the Lesbian and Gay Center for social services to be used for the acquisition of a building.
• More than 1,000 cardboard tombstones commemorate those who have died of AIDS in San Diego County at a memorial service in Balboa Park.
• Police officer John Graham comes out to the press at The Center in Hillcrest, and the first person is prosecuted locally for committing a hate crime against a gay man.
• Ryan White, a 12-year-old who changed the face of AIDS, dies. ACT Up activists are arrested across the nation.
• Frank Buttino, a Federal Bureau of Investigations agent, has his security clearance revoked and is fired for being gay. Buttino, an agent for 20 years, was placed on leave without pay when it was discovered that he is gay. The FBI refused to consider his exemplary record and fired him citing “exploitable sexual conduct.”
• President George Bush signs the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to protect people with disabilities, including people with HIV infection, from discrimination.
• English soccer player, Justin Fashanu, is the first professional soccer player to come out in the press.
• San Diego County health officials confirm there have been 2,898 cases of AIDS in San Diego County since 1981.
• Lesbian firefighter Patricia Stone and her lover police officer Natalie Stone come out to the public. Patricia is the first openly GLBT member of the San Diego Fire Department, and Natalie the first openly lesbian in the police department. At the same event Municipal Court Commissioner Sandy Berry who has lived as an open lesbian for many years, makes her first public statement.
• San Diego’s first GLBT Halloween street party is held in front of the future home of The Center on Normal St. Hundreds of people participate.
• AB 101, the second attempt to ban discrimination, passes Legislature in California but is vetoed by Governor Wilson. Rallies and protests follow for several weeks statewide.
• Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers point guard, announces that he is HIV-positive, becoming the first major celebrity to acknowledge contracting the virus through heterosexual sex.
• The red ribbon is first used as a symbol of the campaign against HIV/AIDS.
• Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Angels in America, A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, plays in Los Angeles before going on to Broadway and winning the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for drama.
• Freddie Mercury, lead singer of Queen, dies of AIDS-related illness.
• Bahamas, Hong Kong, Ukraine and Queensland in Australia decriminalize sodomy.
• District 6 Councilmember Valerie Stallings announces the promotion of her Council representative Stan Lewis to the post of chief of staff. Lewis is the highest-ranking openly gay staff person in San Diego city government.
• City Council honors the GLBT community with a proclamation making July Lesbian and Gay Archives month. Councilmember George Stevens doesn’t sign the proclamation saying he refuses to “support any legislation which would promote adultery or homosexuality.”
• After publicly coming out, El Cajon police officer Chuck Merino is notified by the local council of the Boy Scouts that he is no longer welcome in its Explorer program because he no longer meets “the high standards for membership which the Boy Scouts of America seeks to provide for American youth.”
• Gov. Wilson signs non-discrimination bill (AB 2601), adding sexual orientation protections to the Labor Code
• Gay officers appear on “Nightline” during the height of a military “gay witch hunt.”
• The World Health Organization removes homosexuality from its ICD-10.
• Australia allows homosexuals to serve in the military for the first time.
• Nicaragua recriminalizes homosexuality (then de-criminalizes homosexuality again in March 2008).
• More than 150 attend the memorial service for Allen Schindler, a Navy sailor aboard the U.S.S. Belleau Wood who was allegedly beaten to death by two fellow crewmen because he was gay.
• Christine Kehoe wins the District 3 City Council election and becomes the first openly gay elected official in San Diego.
• President Clinton announces his new policy on gays in the military called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The same year 300,000 protestors march on Washington, D.C., for GLBT rights. After months of criticism from activists, Clinton appoints the first “AIDS czar.”
• Academy Award winning Philadelphia, starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington, premieres, while Brandon Teena, transgender teen who was the subject of the movie Boy Don’t Cry, is raped and murdered
• Canadian cartoonist Lynn Johnston introduces a gay character into her nationally syndicated strip, “For Better or For Worse,” and 19 papers cancel the strip, 40 ask for substitutions.
• Norway enacts registered partnership civil union laws that grant same-sex couples the same rights as married couples, except for the right to adopt or marry in a church.
• The San Diego Blood Bank refuses to publicize or promote an event encouraging lesbians to donate blood because its name, The San Diego Lesbian Community Blood Drive, includes the word lesbian.
• The city of San Diego extends domestic partner benefits to all city employees.
• Roger Hedgecock, local radio talk show host and former mayor, promotes a “normal people’s” contingent for the annual Pride parade and threatens legal action to force the issue.
The San Diego Zoo refunds admissions and gives free passes to 80 patrons who say they are offended by some of the 2,000 homosexuals who hold hands or kiss while attending the Pride Party at the Zoo. Zoo officials say it is the best way to handle complaints and “get them out of our hair.”
• The “Real World” San Francisco debuts and is noted for having a cast member, Pedro Zamora, who was gay and living with AIDS. Zamora dies of AIDS complications only hours after last episode of the show aired.
• Sheila James Kuehl elected to California Assembly, first openly lesbian or gay member of the Legislature
• Japan celebrates its first gay Pride parade.
• Martina Navratilova retires from tennis, having won nine Wimbledon singles titles in her career. She continues her work as highly-visible gay-rights activist, as she did after coming out in 1991.
• The National Association of Lesbian and Gay Community Centers is founded by the centers in New York, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Denver and Dallas.
• The formal induction ceremony is held in San Diego City Council Chambers for Bonnie Dumanis, the first openly lesbian elected judge in San Diego Municipal Court and the second openly gay elected official in San Diego.
• Community members march to protest the reversal of the conviction in the murder trial for the stabbing death of the high school student, John Wear, in 1991 by a man who assumed him to be gay. The sentence was reversed on a technicality. The second trial ends in a guilty verdict.
• Mayor Susan Golding reaffirms her opposition to same-sex marriage and domestic partnership. Domestic partnerships, she further contends, place new requirements on businesses that she opposes.
• City Councilmember Kehoe is among the 45 openly gay and lesbian elected officials invited to meet with officials of the Clinton Administration, the first time openly gay and lesbian elected officials have been invited to the White House. Reactions after the meeting are mixed, but all attending are offended that some officials welcoming the group put on gloves before shaking hands from a misguided fear of AIDS.
• Olympic gold-medal-winning diver Greg Louganis, who grew up in El Cajon, comes out as gay and HIV-positive during an interview with Barbara Walters. A year earlier he told the world he was gay and participated in the Gay Games IV.
• A Honolulu Circuit Court rules that the state cannot discriminate against same-sex couples in marriage.
• In what he claims is an honest “slip,” Rep. Dick Armey refers to openly gay Congressmember Barney Frank as “Barney Fag.” Armey is not reprimanded, denies responsibility and will not acknowledge that using the epithet “fag” is hurtful to gay people.
• The first combination therapy – HAART, (highly active antiretroviral therapy) is approved for use in the U.S.
• The Supreme Court of Canada rules that sexual orientation is a prohibited reason for discrimination under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
• Sweden legalizes registered partnerships, while Albania and Moldova decriminalize homosexuality.
• The Gay & Lesbian Times headlines a “unique dynamic” in San Diego – most gay, lesbian and AIDS organizations in town are headed by women: The Center, Karen Marshall; AIDS Walk, Barbara Blake; Pride, Brenda Schumacher; AIDS Foundation, Carol Nottley; Democratic Club, Paula Rosenstein; Historical Society, Sharon Parker; Diversionary Theatre, Gayle Feldman; Mama’s Kitchen, Carolyn MacFarlane; Imperial Court, Toni Puente; Special Delivery, Ruth Hendricks.
• Christine Kehoe wins a second term on the City Council with 79 percent of the vote in the District 3. In the U.S. Congressional race, gay friendly Bob Filner wins in the 50th Congressional District, but anti-gay Randy “Duke” Cunningham wins in the 51st.
• The Lesbian and Gay Center receives a $50,000 grant from United Way to fund a position of clinical director for GLBT counseling. This is the first time a gay counseling program has been fully funded by United Way.
• California Senator Pete Knight, R-Palmdale, introduces SB 911, the California Defense of Marriage Act.
• Keith Meinhold, the first gay member of the armed forces to be returned to service by Federal Court order after being discharged for being gay, announces his retirement from the Navy. Meinhold spent much of his career in San Diego and Coronado.
• Gay and Lesbian Families of America, an organization founded to give positive images of gays and lesbians during the Republican Convention, announces plans for 12 billboards and 17 bus shelter signs featuring gay and lesbian families to be placed throughout San Diego to be seen by conventioneers, tourists and residents. Gays and lesbians of VOICES ‘96 march, rally and protest at the Republican National Convention at the San Diego Convention Center.
• Hungary recognizes same-sex partners in unregistered domestic partnerships.
• The GLT celebrates the publication of its 500th edition.
• The first-ever same-sex domestic violence case is held in San Diego Superior Court.
• The California State Supreme Court rules that the Boy Scouts of America were within their rights to fire El Cajon police officer Chuck Merino because he is gay.
• A District Attorney’s report clears AIDS Foundation San Diego and its staff of criminal activity related to the closing of the foundation in March. The report is critical of both the foundation and the County Office of AIDS Coordination for the financial mismanagement that led to the closure.
• Ellen DeGeneres’ character comes out to an audience of 42 million on “Ellen.”
• The police and the FBI begin looking for gay San Diegan Andrew Cunanan in connection with a cross-country murder spree. Several local gay men “go in hiding” for fear of their lives. The nationwide manhunt culminates in the murder of famous gay designer Gianni Versace. Cunanan commits suicide and a number of best-selling books are released focusing on Cunanan’s gay life in San Diego.
• The introduction of protease inhibitors changes the face of the AIDS epidemic.
• South Africa becomes the first country to prohibit discrimination explicitly based on sexual orientation in its constitution.
• The San Diego Men’s Chorus makes history by being the first openly gay choral group to perform at the White House.
• Councilmember Christine Kehoe runs against incumbent Brian Bilbray to represent the 49th Congressional District. Kehoe is the first openly gay person to be nominated by a major party to run for federal office and the first to run from San Diego for Congress. Kehoe loses her bid to Bilbray by less than 4,000 votes.
• San Diego’s 1966 Crossdressing Law that made it illegal to dress in the clothing of the opposite sex is repealed.
• President Clinton signs an executive order banning discrimination based on sexual orientation in the federal civilian workplace and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) becomes the first openly GLBT non-incumbent elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
• Matthew Shepard, a 22-year-old gay University of Wyoming student, is brutally murdered.
• Will & Grace” premieres on NBC.
• The Employment Equality Act is introduced in Ireland, covering wrongful dismissal based on the grounds of sexual orientation.
• Ecuador is the third country in the world to explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
• Mama’s Kitchen, a local meal-delivery service for AIDS patients, serves its one-millionth meal.
• An observer at the Pride parade hurls a tear-gas canister at the Family Pride contingent in the parade and then escapes into the crowd. The tear gas causes severe reactions among many parade watchers who flee from the gas, but it only temporarily halts the parade.
• San Diego County health officials record San Diego’s 10,000th HIV/AIDS diagnosis.
• Jerry Falwell’s ultraconservative “National Liberty Journal” believes Tinky Winky, the purple Teletubby, is gay.
• Army PFC Barry Winchell is fatally attacked with a baseball bat by his roommate in his Ft. Campbell, Ky., Barracks.
• California’s first domestic partnership law is passed
• France enacts civil union laws.
Israel’s Supreme Court recognizes a lesbian partner as another legal mother of her partner’s biological son.
• The Greater San Diego Business Association is the first gay business association in the country to sign a memorandum of understanding with the U.S. Small Business Association giving GSDBA members access to the business assistance that the SBA provides.
• Stepping Stone, San Diego-based rehabilitation program that focuses on alcohol and drug treatment for the GLBT community, opens a new $2 million, 29-bed residential facility near University Avenue and Interstate 15.
• Openly lesbian Christine Kehoe and Toni Atkins win in their respective elections. Kehoe moves to the state Assembly and Atkins replaces her as District 3 councilmember.
• California voters overwhelmingly pass Proposition 22, outlawing same-sex marriage.
• Hilary Swank wins her first Best Actress Oscar for Boys Don’t Cry.
• Vermont becomes the first state in the country to legally recognize civil unions between gay or lesbian couples.
• The U.S. Supreme Court rules that Boy Scouts of America has the right to ban gays from its ranks.
• The U.K. ban on homosexuals serving in the armed forces is abolished.
• Scott Coors, the gay grandson of the founder of Coors Brewery, gives The Center a gift of $25,000. The gift is somewhat controversial because members of the Coors family have openly supported anti-gay groups and legislation and, in response, the GLBT community boycotted Coors’ products.
• A federal judge rejects the Boy Scouts’ arguments to have the ACLU-backed lawsuit against them dismissed and allows the suit to continue. The ACLU is representing a lesbian couple who contend that the city’s lease of park land to the Scouts violates the Constitution and the separation of church and state because the Scouts will not permit gays or atheists to be members.
• Breaking with the precedent established by Bill Clinton, President George W. Bush did not issue a proclamation naming June “Gay Pride Month.” White House spokesman Scott McClellan explained, “The president believes every person should be treated with dignity and respect but he does not believe in politicizing people’s sexual orientation. That’s a personal matter.”
• Governor Gray Davis signed the Domestic Partner Benefits Expansion Act (AB 25) drafted by Assemblywoman Carole Migden into law. This act extended protections for domestic partners in California. Some additions to the original 1999 bill include the right to recover wrongful death/emotional distress damages (Sharon Smith/Diane Whipple case) and adopt a partner’s child using the step parent adoption process.
• The Netherlands becomes the first country to legalize same-sex marriage.
• The Lesbian and Gay Center, officially The Center For Social Services, a name taken almost 30 years ago when very few newspapers or telephone directories would print the words gay and lesbian, changes its names to San Diego Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center.
• Bonnie Dumanis is elected district attorney for San Diego County and becomes the first openly gay or lesbian district attorney ever elected in the United States.
• An openly gay man, Frank Tierney, is sworn in as a city councilmember in Coronado. Tierney, a Republican, joins Bonnie Dumanis, also Republican, as the two new openly gay office holders in San Diego County.
• The FDA approves rapid HIV testing. The test produces reliable results in 20 minutes, and eliminates the current week-long waiting periods for test results.
• Vice President Dick Cheney’s lesbian daughter, Mary Cheney, who has declined to discuss her sexual orientation since her father’s election, joins the board of the Republican Unity Coalition, a gay-straight political alliance.
• Sweden legalizes adoption for same-sex couples.
• Openly gay Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn is assassinated by Volkert van der Graaf.
• Civil union is passed in Buenos Aires, making it the first Latin-American city to legalize same-sex unions.
• A San Diego woman is denied fertility treatments by the North Coast Women’s Care Medical Group of Vista because she is a lesbian. Guadalupe Benitez and her partner Joanne Clark file discrimination charges in California State Appeals Court after having their case dismissed by Superior Court.
• A federal judge in San Diego rules that the Boy Scouts’ lease of land in Balboa Park violates the California State Constitution and the first amendment of the United States Constitution.
• The California Supreme Court affirms second-parent adoption which permits both partners in a same-sex couple to have a legal relationship with the couple’s children. The court case was the result of earlier court battles fought by a San Diego lesbian couple.
• U.S. Supreme Court overturns all state sodomy laws in Lawrence v. Texas and California’s domestic partnership law is expanded.
• San Diegan Jason Tiner, who appeared on BRAVO’s reality show “Boy Meets Boy,” is discharged from the military as a result of his appearance as a gay man on a gay-themed show.
• Rev. V. Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop is consecrated in New Hampshire.
• Belgium becomes the second nation to legalize same-sex marriage.
• The City Council of San Diego votes to settle the ACLU’s lawsuit against the city over the Boy Scouts’ use of public land in Balboa Park and to give notice to the Scouts that their lease has been terminated.
• Joan Kroc, widow of the late owner of McDonalds and the SD Padres, leaves in her estate a gift of $500,000 to Mama’s Kitchen.
• The California Supreme Court agrees to hear the case brought by a San Diego lesbian against Bernardo Heights Country Club for discrimination. The suit claims that the country club has refused to treat her and her partner as it does heterosexual married couples.
• San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom orders city officials to grant same-sex couples marriage licenses. California Supreme Court rules Newsom defied state law defining marriage as between a man and a woman and also declares the 3,955 couples who got married were never legally married. Localities in New York, New Mexico, and Oregon also issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
• Massachusetts legalizes same-sex marriage while eleven other U.S. states ban the practice through public referendums.
• The first attempt to place an amendment to the U.S. constitution banning marriage is defeated.
• Portugal is the fourth country in the world to protect people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in its Constitution.
• Australia bans same-sex marriage, while New Zealand passes a civil union bill.
• Same-sex marriages in Belgium get adoption rights and are equal to marriage.
• The San Diego Gay Rodeo is cancelled for the first time in 16 years. The Greater San Diego Chapter of the Golden State Gay Rodeo Association cites financial constraints as the reason for cancellation.
• Councilmember Toni Atkins is chosen on by the San Diego City Council to fill the role of mayor after Dick Murphy and two councilmembers resigned as the result of being convicted of felonies.
• Mayor Steve Padilla of Chula Vista comes out publicly. He is the second openly gay mayor of a large city in the U.S.
• Local owner of Club Montage and Rebar, John McCusker, age 31, dies suddenly of cardiac arrest. His death makes national news when the Catholic bishop of San Diego refuses his family the right to have a Catholic funeral mass in any Catholic church in San Diego diocese.
• San Francisco Superior Court Judge, Richard Kramer, issued his final written judgment in the California marriage equality case, stating “It appears that no rational purpose exists for limiting marriage in this state to opposite-sex partners.” This ruling clearly states that gay and lesbian couples in California can marry, and that state laws against it are unconstitutional. However, the California Court of Appeals later ruled against the Superior Court. The ruling did not take effect while being appealed by the state and opponents of same-sex marriage.
• New Zealand is the first nation in the world to outlaw hate crime and employment discrimination on the basis of gender identity.
• Spain legalizes same-sex marriage despite intense pressure from the Vatican.
• Same-sex marriage is legalized in all Canadian provinces.
• The Center opens the $4.1 million Youth Housing Project, providing 23 studios for GLBT youths between 18-24 years of age.
• Six men are victims of a hate crime as they are attacked by three men as they leave the Pride grounds Saturday night. One victim is hospitalized with serious head and face injuries after being hit with a baseball bat.
• Hillcrest and surrounding communities see a spike in muggings and robberies. They tend to happen at night as people are leaving the bars and appear to be targeting gay neighborhoods. In response to the attacks, local citizens begin meeting to form what eventually becomes the Stonewall Citizens’ Patrol.
• Illinois outlaws sexual orientation discrimination, Washington adds sexual orientation to its existing anti-discrimination laws and Missouri legalizes homosexuality between consenting adults.
• The United States Senate fails to pass the Federal Marriage Amendment.
• The first gay pride march in Moscow ends with violence.
• Mexico City introduces civil unions, and South Africa legalizes same-sex marriage.
• The Israeli High Court orders Israeli law to recognize same-sex marriages performed abroad.
• The Gay & Lesbian Times celebrates its 1,000th issue
• First openly gay prosecutor, David Rubin, is sworn in as Superior Court Judge in San Diego County.
• Marine James Alexander Hardy confesses to the 2006 murder of Raymond Catolico. Catolico was found in his Little Italy home days after his murder, and after Hardy was recorded on video using Catolico’s credit card.
• Mayor Jerry Sanders announces his support of same-sex marriage and that his daughter Lisa Sanders is a lesbian.
• Eight new laws expanding rights and protections for California’s GLBT community are introduced.
• The cable channel Logo hosts the first presidential forum in the United States focusing specifically on GLBT issues. Six Democratic Party candidates participate in the event. GOP candidates were asked to attend but declined.
• The House of Representatives approves the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a bill ensuring equal rights in the workplace for gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals. Transgender people are not included in this law sparking mixed reaction from GLBT activists.
• The first ever gay pride parade in a Muslim country was held in Istanbul, Turkey.
• The Gay & Lesbian Times celebrates its 20th Anniversary
• Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton rallies young voters at San Diego State University, but does not address GLBT issues during her appearance.
• New HIV test known as “The Early Test” becomes available to the community. It closes the gap on the “window” period for diagnosis and detects the virus as early as one week after exposure.
• The San Diego Human Relations Commission goes on record as the first supporter of Assemblymember Mark Leno’s attempt to create Harvey Milk Day – the first holiday in honor of a gay official.
• Openly lesbian City Councilmember Toni Atkins terms out and the race for the District 3 seat heats up. Two gay candidates Todd Gloria and Stephen Whitburn are among those vying for the much contested seat.
A New York State appeals court unanimously votes that valid same-sex marriages performed in other states must be recognized by employers in New York, granting same-sex couples the same rights as other couples.
• Oregon passes a law that allows same-sex couples to register as domestic partners allowing them some spousal rights of married couples.
• California Supreme Court hears challenges to same-sex marriage laws
• State department drops ban on HIV-positive diplomats after pressure from lawsuit.
• Nicaragua re-legalizes homosexuality, with an equal age of consent, under a new Penal Code.

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