Excerpts from The Second Largest Minority, by Lilli Vincenz, documenting the Annual Reminder picket at Independence Hall on July 4, 1968. Used by permission of Charles Francis, President of the Mattachine Society of Washington, DC, and by the Library of Congress. Compilation by Greenhouse Media

Speaking Out for Equality:

Gay Rights & the Courts

At a time when lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people are seen as deviants and criminals, a handful of gay and lesbian activists take a stand at the birthplace of American liberty: Independence Hall.

Exercising their First Amendment right to protest, they bravely picket. Their signs remind America that they are denied the full protection of the Constitution. Some onlookers are sympathetic. Others turn away, incredulous.

The “Annual Reminder Demonstration”—held each year from 1965-1969—was America’s first sustained national protest for gay rights. But it wasn’t the last. It led to decades of activism that spawned both acceptance and disapproval of LGBT individuals.

This site—based on the material exhibit “Speaking Out For Equality: The Constitution, Gay Rights & the Supreme Court” held at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, PA, in 2015-2016—tells the story of this courageous movement for justice and equality.

“Rights are won only by those who make their voices heard.”

—LGBT activist and openly gay politician, Harvey Milk