After the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the United Kingdom, there were moves to undertake a similar reform in Hong Kong. Governor Murray MacLehose privately supported gay rights but he and others felt that the local community would not support decriminalisation. As a British colony, Hong Kong's criminal laws against male homosexual acts were initially a reflection of British law, with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. During the s and s, there was a public debate about whether or not to reform the law in line with human rights principles. As a result, in the Legislative Council agreed to decriminalise private, adult, non-commercial, and consensual homosexual relations. However, an unequal age of consent was established 21 for gay men and 16 for heterosexuals with the law remaining silent about lesbianism.
In , Thomas Jefferson proposed a law that would mandate castration for gay men and mutilation of nose cartilage for gay women. But that's not the scary part. Here's the scary part: Jefferson was considered a liberal. At the time, the most common penalty on the books was death. Supreme Court finally put an end to laws criminalizing same-sex intercourse in Lawrence v.
The gay marriage debate revolves around two very different notions of what marriage is. The traditionalist view sees marriages as having the primary purpose of raising children. The alternative perspective -- adopted by most gay rights advocates -- views marriage as a relationship between two people with emotional and practical functions distinct from reproduction. The traditionalist perspective dominated ideas of marriage in all societies studied by anthropologists, and throughout recorded history.
In the landmark case Obergefell v. Hodges, the U. Supreme Court ruled that all state bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional, making gay marriage legal throughout America. The ruling was a culmination of decades of struggles, setbacks and victories along the road to full marriage equality in the United States. In , just one year after the historic Stonewall Riots that galvanized the gay rights movement, law student Richard Baker and librarian James McConnell applied for a marriage license in Minnesota.