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Abstract

This paper attempts to formulate the best comprehensive strategy for achieving equal rights under the law for gays and lesbians. One of the main ways this paper attempts to formulate such a strategy is by looking at the tactics that allowed previous movements, such as abolitionism and the Civil Rights Movement, to succeed. This paper considers which of the tactics of these movements should be adopted by gay rights activists. Some tactics, such as civil disobedience, are determined to be useful for gay rights activists. Others, such as violence (which was avoided by the Civil Rights Movement but used by some abolitionists and ultimately turned out to be necessary to end slavery), are determined to be counterproductive for gay rights activists. Both primary sources, including activists from the Civil Rights Movement who agreed to be interviewed, and secondary sources, including historical texts, are included. Debates among activists, such as whether gays rights activists should work at the state or federal level and whether or not opposition to equal rights should automatically be labeled as bigotry, are addressed.