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gay1 - gay-rights movement Laws protecting homosexuals from...

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gay-rights movement Laws protecting homosexuals from discrimination also have been enacted, but largely at the local level; by 1999 only 11 states had such laws. Opposition to such laws, particularly from conservative religious groups, has often been strong, and opponents of gay-rights measures have frequently gained their repeal. In 1992, Colorado became the first state to nullify existing civil- rights protection for homosexuals by amending its constitution; the provision was stuck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1996. By means of a statewide public referendum in 1998, Maine became the first state to repeal its gay-rights statute. In 1993 the Defense Dept., at President Clinton's order, changed the ban on homosexuals in the military to a ban on homosexual activity. The much discussed policy, known as “don't ask, don't tell,” was presented as a way to allow gays in the military to serve without fear of discharge or other penalty as long as they did not reveal their sexual orientation. By the end of the 1990s, however, it appeared to have done little to change the precarious status of gay soldiers. Most
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