1969 Stonewall riots occur in New York.
1970 LGBT rights marches held in New York and Los Angeles to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall riots.
1972 East Lansing, Michigan and Ann Arbor, Michigan and San Francisco, California pass the first ordinances offering homosexuals some protection under the law; the first openly gay and lesbian delegates to Democratic Convention advocate for the inclusion of gay rights plank in the Democratic Party Platform.
1973 The American Psychiatric Association removes homosexuality from its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, thus removing it from the list of mental disorders.
1974 Kathy Kozachenko becomes the first "out" lesbian elected to public office in the United States when she is elected to the Ann Arbor City Council; Robert Grant founds America Christian Cause, the first group to oppose the "gay agenda."
1975 Homosexuality is legalized in California; Elaine Noble, elected in November 1974, becomes the second "out" lesbian American to assume elected public office when she takes a seat in the Massachusetts State House.
1977 Harvey Milk is elected city-county supervisor in San Francisco, becoming the first openly gay man elected to public office; Dade County, Florida enacts a Human Rights Ordinance; it is repealed months later after a militant anti-gay rights campaign led by Anita Bryant.
1978 Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone are assassinated by former Supervisor Dan White; the first known use of the rainbow flag.
1979 First march on Washington, DC, for LGBT rights; thousands riot in San Francisco during the White Nights riots when White is convicted of voluntary manslaughter for his assassination of Harvey Milk and George Moscone.
1980 The Democratic Party includes the rights of homosexuals in its party platform; David McReynolds of the Socialist Party USA becomes the first openly gay man to run for President.
1981 The Moral Majority, founded by Jerry Falwell in 1979, begins its anti-LGBT campaign; first known case of AIDS.
1982 Laguna Beach, CA elects the first openly gay mayor in the United States; the first Gay Games is held in San Francisco.
1983 Gerry Studds "comes out" on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, becoming the first openly gay member of Congress.
1987 As the AIDS crisis grows, disproportionately affecting the LGBT community, ACT UP begins a campaign of direct action and civil disobedience to demand access to experimental AIDS treatment and a national policy to fight the disease.
1993 Minnesota becomes the first state to adopt laws protecting transgender people; the U.S. military adopts the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
1996 The Defense of Marriage Act is passed by Congress, defining marriage, on a federal level, as "between one man and one woman."
1998 Matthew Shepherd is murdered; Rita Hester is murdered, inspiring the creation of the international Transgender Day of Remembrance.
1999 California passes a domestic partnership law, making it the first state to recognize the rights of same-sex couples.
2000 Vermont becomes the first state to legalize civil unions.
2003 The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down any sodomy laws still on the books.
2004 Massachusetts legalizes same-sex marriage. Eleven other U.S. states ban it through public referenda; domestic partnerships are legalized in Maine and New Jersey; James McGreevey becomes the first openly gay Governor (New Jersey), he "comes out" and resigns after it is revealed that he has had an extra-marital affair with another man.
2007 Civil unions are legalized in New Jersey; domestic partnership in Washington.
2008 Civil unions are legalized in New Hampshire; the California Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage only to have voters outlaw it with the passage of Proposition 8 months later; same-sex marriage becomes legal in Connecticut.
2009 New Hampshire, Iowa, and Vermont legalize same-sex marriage; the District of Columbia recognizes same-sex marriage; Maine passes a same-sex marriage law only to have it overturned by referendum; Nevada passes a domestic partnership law.