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A new historical marker for LGBTQ+ history

A new historical marker in Old Louisville honors the early days of LGBTQ+ liberation in the commonwealth.

a historical marker describing the history of the Louisville gay liberation front

The new marker sits just across the street from the iconic pink mansion at the end of St. James Court.

Photo via WHAS11

If you head down to St. James + Belgravia Courts this Pride month, you’ll see a new addition to the Kentucky Historical Society’s collection of more than 2,500 historical markers. Marker No. 2652 honors two important benchmarks in LGBTQ+ history for Kentucky and the nation.

Jones v. Hallahan

On one side, the bronze sign reads: “In July 1970, Marge Jones & Tracy Knight applied for a marriage license from the Jefferson Co. clerk.” Their license was denied — just months after Jack Baker and Michael McConnell were denied a marriage certificate in Minneapolis. These were two of the first gay marriage appeal cases in the US.

The appeals process lasted for three years, ending in 1973’s Jones v. Hallahan decision. But just days after their application was first denied, the two helped found a new group in an apartment on Belgravia Court — enter: the Louisville Gay Liberation Front.

Louisville Gay Liberation Front

The Louisville Gay Liberation Front (LGLF) was just one of many Gay Liberation Fronts which cropped up around the US during the 1969 Stonewall Uprisingthat’s why June is Pride month.

The group organized a “gay hotline” to help the Louisville LGBTQ+ community. One LGLF member, Micky Nelson, recalls helping minors find places to stay after being kicked out of their homes for reasons relating to gender + orientation.

LGLF disbanded in 1971, but LGBTQ+ organizing continued in Louisville. In 1991, the Fairness Campaign picked up where the LGLF left off. In 2022, the organization applied for the historical marker that now commemorates the home of LOU’s first LGBTQ+ rights group.

Bonus: Another marker, No. 2519 at 607 E. Catherine St. commemorates House of Ruth, an organization that has been providing to support to people affected by HIV and AIDS since 1992.

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