April 19 in LGBTQ History

1978: 1,500 gays and supporters rally on the steps of the state capitol in St. Paul, Minnesota, in support of the gay rights provision in the city’s human rights ordinance.

1989: In one of the Navy’s worst peacetime tragedies, a gun turret explosion aboard the U.S. battleship Iowa kills forty-seven sailors while the ship is on training maneuvers in the Caribbean. In its initial investigation, the Navy attempts to blame the tragedy on a lone sailor, Gunner’s Mate Clayton Hartwig, suggesting he was despondent and suicidal over the end of a homosexual affair with another Iowa sailor, Kendall Truitt.  Its report, however, the Navy later concludes that Hartwig may have been suicidal, but was not homosexual.  Ultimately, investigations determine that the ultimate cause of the accident is inconclusive.

2000: Vermont approves the creation of same-sex unions, thus entitling gay couples to rights and benefits normally available to married couples.

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