This blog is illegal

Or at least it would have been 50 years ago. Today is the 50 year
anniversary of the Supreme Court decision to allow “One,” the first
mailed gay periodical, to publish and send their publication
through the U.S. mail. A quote from this fascinating
history about One and this case at Box Turtle Bulletin

That was enough for the Los Angeles Post Office to
seize that issue — the one with “You Can’t Print It!” on
the cover — and charge the editors with violating the 1873
Comstock Act, which prohibited sending “obscene, lewd, and/or
lascivious” material through the mail.

The editors were eager to sue the Post Office, but ONE’s
financial condition was so perilous that they held off for nearly a
year. Jubler took the case for free and looked for help from the
ACLU, but they wouldn’t touch it — the ACLU was still defending
anti-sodomy laws at the time. Finally it was up to young Jubler
alone to argue ONE’s case in federal district court that the
magazine was educational and not pornographic. It didn’t go well.
The judge ruled for the Post Office in March 1956, and the 9th
Circuit Court of Appeals agreed in February 1957, calling ONE
“morally depraving and debasing” and saying that the magazine
“has a primary purpose of exciting lust, lewd and lascivious
thoughts and sensual desires in the minds of persons reading

ONE then took its case to the U.S. Supreme Court. To everyone’s
surprise, the Court agreed to take the case, its first ever dealing
with homosexuality. Even more surprising, the Supreme Court issued
its short, one-sentence decision on January 13, 1958 without
hearing oral arguments. That decision not only overturned the two
lower courts, but the Court expanded the First Amendment’s free
speech and press freedoms by effectively limiting the power of the
Comstock Act to interfere with the written word. As a result,
lesbian and gay publications could be mailed without legal
repercussions, though many continued to experience harassment from
the Post Office and U.S. Customs.

50 years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that we could “speak the name of
our love
.” And now today, we have a voice. It’s quite a loud
and clear voice made up of myriad organizations and periodicals,
and now in the day of the internet, tens (hundreds?) of thousands
of individuals and groups ‘speaking our love’s name’ loud and
clear. We do it here on the Family Equality Blog, I do it on
my blog and so many
thousands more around the world. You could even say One’s actions
has ultimately, and in a direct way, led to OUTSpoken.

So, I want to thank those editors and writers of One, and the
lawyer who helped them when even the ACLU
, from the bottom of my heart. What you did 50 years
ago has given us all voice.