In 1958, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the nation’s first pro-gay publication — ONE: The Homosexual Magazine — in its dispute with the federal government.
ONE sued the U.S. government after the Post Office refused to deliver its magazine on the grounds that it was “obscene.” A trial court ruled for the Post Office, and an appeals court affirmed that finding. The Supreme Court overturned the appeals court’s decision in a brief ruling, effectively ruling the Post Office had to deliver ONE.
The trial and appellate court took particular issue with a story called “Sappho Remembered.” From the appeals court’s opinion:
The article ‘Sappho Remembered’ is the story of a lesbian’s influence on a young girl only 20 years of age but ‘actually nearer sixteen in many essential ways of maturity,’ in her struggle to choose between a life with the lesbian, or a normal married life with her childhood sweetheart. The lesbian’s affair with her roommate while in college, resulting in the lesbian’s expulsion from college, is recounted to bring in the jealousy angle. The climax is reached when the young girl gives up her chance for a normal married life to live with the lesbian. This article is nothing more than cheap pornography calculated to promote lesbianism. It falls far short of dealing with homosexuality from the scientific, historical and critical point of view.
The ONE case isn’t typically noted as a major gay rights case, but it certainly seems like a victory for gay rights advocates.
ONE was the “first widely distributed publication for homosexuals in the United States,” according to Onearchives.org. The magazine stopped being published in 1967.
Around the same time, the lesbian and gay magazine “The Advocate” launched and is still in circulation today.
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