Apr 11, 2024 - History

Throwback Thursday: San Francisco's 1978 anti-discrimination law

black and white photo of harvey milk and george moscone wearing suits, shaking hands

San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone in April 1978. Photo: Bettmann/Contributor via Getty Images

On this day 46 years ago, San Francisco Mayor George Moscone signed into law a sweeping gay rights protection measure introduced by Supervisor Harvey Milk.

Why it matters: The law, known as the Human Rights Ordinance, banned discrimination based on sexual orientation across employment, housing and public accommodations, according to The Bay Area Reporter.

What they said: At the time, Milk said he hoped the law would "allow a lot of gay people in professional positions to feel comfortable about coming out," and ultimately change the images and stereotypes of gay people.

  • Ahead of it being signed into law, a 1978 New York Times article said many considered it "the most stringent and encompassing" sexual orientation rights ordinance in the country.
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