(Click to enlarge image)
Source: Ned Flaherty, "State-Level Marriage Equality,”
www.marriagequality.org, Feb. 16, 2012
I. 1970 - 1999
Same-sex couples begin seeking marriage licenses, other rights
"Jack Baker, a student at the University of Minnesota, unsuccessfully applies for a marriage license with his lover, Jim McConnell. They did however, manage to file joint tax returns in 1972 and 1973." "GLINN's Timeline of Gay and Lesbian Family Issues," www.glinn.com/news (accessed Oct. 23, 2008)
(In 1971, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in one of the Baker-McConnell lawsuits that "the institution of marriage as a union of man and woman uniquely involving the procreating and rearing of children within the family is as old as the book of Genesis.")
Nov. 21, 1976
Non-church sanctioned gay wedding makes news
"Back on Nov. 21, 1976, in Northwest Washington, [Wayne] Schwandt and [John] Fortunato walked down the aisle side by side, wearing matching embroidered tunics...
Reporters wrote about what Fortunato and Schwandt called a holy union, which was controversial not because there was talk of legalizing gay marriage but because the two men publicly ask for -- and were denied -- the blessing of the Episcopal Church." Apr. 5, 2004, Susan Kinzie"Inventing a Marriage -- and a Divorce, Gay Pair Who Wed in '70s Recall Journey Uncharted by Law," Washington Post
The 'spousal' rights of same-sex couples becomes an issue
"Karen Thompson's eight year struggle for legal guardianship of her lover Sharon Kowalski, begins when a drunk driver collides with Sharon's vehicle, placing her in a coma for several months and leaving her quadriplegic and severely brain-damaged. Despite Sharon's wishes to be cared for by Karen, Sharon's parents refused Karen full access or input into her care. Karen Thompson became a key spokesperson for lesbian and gay couples' rights. Karen's case was won in 1991." "GLINN's Timeline of Gay and Lesbian Family Issues," www.glinn.com/news (accessed Oct. 23, 2008)
First domestic partnership laws passed
"Gay, lesbian and unmarried heterosexual couples can receive the same benefits as married couples in areas such as health care and bereavement leave in Berkeley, California, the first U.S. city to pass a `domestic partners' law for municipal employees." "GLINN's Timeline of Gay and Lesbian Family Issues," www.glinn.com/news (accessed Oct. 23, 2008)
Oct. 10, 1987
First mass same-sex wedding ceremony
"Approximately two thousand same sex couples are `married' in a mass wedding on the steps of the Internal Revenue Service in Washington, DC on October 10. The ceremony is part of the 1987 March on Washington activities dramatizing the tax benefits for married people that lesbian and gay couples are denied." "GLINN's Timeline of Gay and Lesbian Family Issues," www.glinn.com/news (accessed Oct. 23, 2008)
Court rulings define same-sex couples as families
"The New York State Court of Appeals declares that a lesbian or gay couple living together for a least ten years can be considered a family for purposes of rent control protection, the first time a state's highest court rules that a gay couple can be called a family...
The California Bar Association urges that lesbian and gay marriage be legally recognized and in Seattle, San Francisco and other cities, `partners' regulations extending certain protections and rights to unmarried couples, straight and gay, are adopted." "GLINN's Timeline of Gay and Lesbian Family Issues," www.glinn.com/news (accessed Oct. 23, 2008)
Same-sex employees begin to receive domestic partner benefits
"Domestic partners of employees of Levi Strauss & Co. are granted full medical benefits."
"The province of Ontario, Canada, extends spousal benefits to same sex partners of government workers."
"William Weld, governor of Massachusetts signs an executive order granting lesbian and gay state workers the same bereavement and family leave rights as heterosexual workers." "GLINN's Timeline of Gay and Lesbian Family Issues," www.glinn.com/news (accessed Oct. 23, 2008)
Hawaii Supreme Court rules on same-sex marriages
"Hawaii Supreme Court rules the state cannot deny same-sex couples the right to marry unless it finds 'a compelling reason' to do so, and orders the issue back to the state legislature. Hawaii lawmakers pass amendment banning gay marriages." Feb. 2004, "Interactive Same-Sex Marriage Timeline," CNN
Utah Governor signs 'Defense of Marriage' statute into law
"Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt (R) signs into law the first state Defense of Marriage statute, which stipulates that Utah does not have to recognize out-of-state marriages that violate state public policy." Apr. 1, 2008, "Gay Marriage Timeline," Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life website
Sep. 21, 1996
Clinton signs Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)
"President Clinton signs Defense of Marriage Act into law. It defines marriage as 'a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife' and defines a spouse as 'a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.' That definition affects 1,049 laws determining eligibility for federal benefits, rights or privileges." Feb. 2004, "Interactive Same-Sex Marriage Timeline," CNN
Hawaii becomes the first state to offer domestic partnership benefits to same-sex couples
"Hawaii becomes the first state to mandate statewide domestic partnership benefits to same-sex couples. Called 'Reciprocal Beneficiaries,' these benefits cover less than 60 items (the law seems to be ambiguous on the exact number) and are offered only through certain businesses, some of which complained that the state has no business dictating employee policies. The Hawaii attorney general declared that she would not enforce the requirement for private employers to offer benefits." Mar. 28, 2008, "Civil Unions & Domestic Partnership Statutes," National Conference of State Legislatures website
Alaska Superior Court rules on same-sex couples' right to marry
"Alaska Superior Court judge rules that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry but stays the decision pending appeals to the state Supreme Court." Apr. 1, 2008, "Gay Marriage Timeline," Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life website
Nov. 3, 1998
Hawaii voters approve constitutional ban on same-sex marriage
"Just as Hawaii's high court seemed poised to allow same-sex marriages, gay activists have seen their visions of legal weddings on the beaches of Maui disappear as voters approved Constitutional Amendment 2, giving the legislature power to 'reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples.'" Nov. 3, 1998, "Hawaii Gives Legislature Power to Ban Same-sex Marriage," CNN
Nov. 3, 1998
Alaska voters approve constitutional amendment limiting marriage
"Voters in Alaska overwhelmingly approved a same-sex marriage ballot initiative Tuesday. Alaska's measure goes one step beyond Hawaii's measure, by amending the constitution to limit marriage to 'exist only between one man and one woman.'" Nov. 3, 1998, "Hawaii Gives Legislature Power to Ban Same-sex Marriage," CNN
Dec. 20, 1999
Vermont Supreme Court rules on same-sex couples benefits and protections
"We hold that the state is constitutionally required to extend to same-sex couples the common benefits and protections that flow from marriage under Vermont law...
Whether this ultimately takes the form of inclusion within the marriage laws themselves or a parallel 'domestic partnership' system or some equivalent statutory alternative, rests with the Legislature...
Whatever system is chosen, however, must conform with the constitutional imperative to afford all Vermonters the common benefit, protection, and security of the law..." Dec. 21, 1999, "Vermont's Top Court Backs Rights for Same-sex Couples," CNN
II. 2000 - 2003
Mar. 30, 2000
US rabbis approve gay partnership
"Rabbis belonging to the biggest and most liberal branch of Judaism in the United States have voted to recognise the partnerships of gay and lesbian couples.
The Central Conference of American Rabbis, which is part of the Jewish Reform movement, has agreed to sanction religious ceremonies for same-sex couples.
The President of the Conference, Rabbi Charles Kroloff, said that gay and lesbian people deserved the recognition and respect due to people created in the image of God." Mar. 30, 2000, "US Rabbis Approve Gay Partnership" BBC
Apr. 26, 2000
Vermont civil union bill becomes law
"Vermont’s governor signed landmark legislation yesterday making the state the first in the country to grant the full benefits of marriage to same-sex couples." Apr. 27, 2000, "Vermont Civil Union Bill Becomes Law," Democracy Now! website
Nebraska voters approve constitutional ban on same-sex marriage
"Nebraska voters approve a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage." Apr. 1, 2008, "Gay Marriage Timeline," Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life website
Mar. 31, 2001
Dutch gay couples wed
"Four gay couples have exchanged wedding vows in Amsterdam's City Hall under a new Dutch law that recognises their civil marriage.
The legislation grants them the same rights as heterosexual couples, including the right to adopt children." Apr. 1, 2001, "Dutch Gay Couples Exchange Vows," BBC
Nevada voters approve constitutional ban on same-sex marriage
"Nevada voters give final approval to a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Voters first approved the ban in 2000, but state law requires a majority vote in two consecutive election years to amend the constitution." Apr. 1, 2008 "Gay Marriage Timeline," Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life website
May 21, 2003
Federal constitutional marriage amendment introduced
Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO 4th) introduces a proposed amendment to the Constitution of the United States (Bill #H.J. Res. 56), which declares: "Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution or the constitution of any State, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups." May 2003, US Library of CongressFederal Marriage Amendment - H.J. Res 56 (22.6KB)
June 10, 2003
Ontario Canada legalizes same-sex marriage
"The highest court in Canada's largest province, Ontario, has ruled that gay and lesbian couples have the right to marry there. The ruling upholds a lower court decision and challenges the Canadian Government to change its laws on same-sex marriage. The appeals court ordered that gay couples seeking a legal union should be issued a marriage license immediately." June 11, 2003, "Ontario Legalises Gay Marriage," BBC
June 26, 2003
US Supreme Court strikes down sodomy laws
"U.S. Supreme Court [in a 6-3 decision] strikes down Texas sodomy state law banning private consensual sex between adults of the same sex. The court found that law and others like it violated the due process clause of the 14th Amendment. But legal analysts said the ruling enshrines for the first time a broad constitutional right to sexual privacy." Nov. 18, 2003, "Supreme Court Strikes Down Texas Sodomy Law," CNN
July 8, 2003
British Columbia legalizes same-sex marriage
"Two men exchanged their vows at the Vancouver Law Courts Tuesday, less than an hour after the B.C. Court of Appeal officially changed the legal definition of marriage." "Same-sex Marriage in Canada" (accessed Oct. 27, 2008), CBS News
July 31, 2003
Vatican begins campaign against same-sex marriage
"The Vatican has launched a global campaign against gay marriages, warning Catholic politicians that support of same-sex unions is 'gravely immoral.' The Vatican issued a 12-page set of guidelines with the approval of Pope John Paul II in a bid to stem the increase in laws granting legal rights to homosexual unions in Europe and North America.
'Marriage exists solely between a man and woman... Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law,' the 12-page document by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said Thursday [July 31, 2003]." July 31, 2003, "Vatican Fights Gay Marriages," CNN
Aug. 1, 2003
Constitutional ban on same-sex unions gathers sponsors
"Before the ruling [Supreme Court ruling that laws making gay sex a crime were unconstitutional], supporters in the House [US House of Representatives] of a constitutional amendment that would more formally restrict marriage to the union of a man and a woman were having trouble attracting sponsors. After the ruling, the number of co-sponsors has nearly quadrupled to 75." Aug. 1, 2003, Elizabeth Shogren, "Foes of Gay Marriage Find New Momentum," Los Angeles Times
Aug. 18, 2003
Poll shows majority of Americans opposed to same-sex marriage
"More than half of Americans favor a law barring gay marriage and specifying wedlock be between a man and a woman, an Associated Press poll found. The survey also found presidential candidates could face a backlash if they support gay marriage or civil unions..." Aug. 18, 2003, "Many Favor Law Barring Gay Marriage," Associated Press
Sep. 19, 2003
California passes domestic partnership law
"On Friday, September 19, 2003, Governor Davis signed AB 205, The Domestic Partner Rights and Responsibilities Act of 2003, at the LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender] Center in San Francisco. This historic legislation, authored by Assemblymember Jackie Goldberg (D-Los Angeles) and sponsored by EQCA [Equality California], provides domestic partners with almost all of the same rights and responsibilities as spouses in a civil marriage." "Issues: Economics of Same-Sex Marriage - California," The Williams Institute UCLA School of Law website (accessed Oct. 27, 2008)
Oct. 28, 2003
US President Bush announces he wants marriage reserved for heterosexuals
"Bush said it is 'important for society to welcome each individual...
I believe marriage is between a man and a woman, and I think we ought to codify that one way or another,' Bush told reporters at a White House news conference. 'And we've got lawyers looking at the best way to do that...'" Oct. 28, 2003, "Bush Wants Marriage Reserved for Heterosexuals," CNN
Nov. 18, 2003
Massachusetts Supreme Court rules on same-sex marriage
The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts in a 4-3 ruling held that "barring an individual from the protections, benefits, and obligations of civil marriage solely because that person would marry a person of the same sex violates the Massachusetts Constitution...
'Marriage is a vital social institution,' wrote Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall for the majority Justices. 'The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support; it brings stability to our society...'" Nov. 18, 2003, Hillary Goodridge & others vs. Department of Public Health & anotherSJC-08860 (105KB)
III. 2004 to 2008
Jan. 12, 2004
New Jersey Governor signs domestic partnership law
"New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey (D) signs a domestic partnership law granting same-sex couples certain rights, such as hospital visits." Apr. 1, 2008, "Gay Marriage Timeline,"
Feb. 12, 2004
City of San Francisco begins marrying same-sex couples
"In an open challenge to California law, city authorities performed at least 15 same-sex weddings Thursday [Feb. 12, 2004] and issued about a dozen more marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples." Feb. 12, 2004, "San Francisco Weds Gay Couples," CNN
Feb. 15, 2004
City of San Francisco swamped by same-sex couples seeking to marry
"Demand for same-sex marriage licenses has been so great that on Sunday [Feb. 15, 2004] officials here turned away hundreds of gay and lesbian couples lined up outside City Hall, saying they simply didn't have the time or resources to meet all the requests. San Francisco authorities calculated they could process 400 licenses during special weekend hours...
'We're at capacity right now,' said Mabel Teng, the official who oversees marriage licenses for city government. 'We normally do about 20-30 couples a day. We're doing about 50-60 an hour.'" Feb. 15, 2004, "Gay-Marriage License Demands Overwhelming," Associated Press
Feb. 19, 2004
San Francisco sues over legality of same-sex marriages -- City asks judge to rule that state's ban is discriminatory, unconstitutional
"San Francisco officials went on the attack Thursday [Feb. 19, 2004] in their fight over same-sex weddings, suing the state on the grounds that laws defining marriage as between a man and woman illegally discriminate against gays and lesbians. In bringing the Superior Court suit, officials also tried to gain an edge over anti-gay marriage forces by naming as defendants the two groups that have sued the city, the Proposition 22 Legal Defense and Education Fund and Campaign for California Families. The city's suit comes as the same-sex marriage opponents head to court today trying to persuade a judge to halt the stream of gay and lesbian weddings at San Francisco City Hall. So far they've been unsuccessful in getting a judge to issue a stay." Feb. 20, 2004, Harriet Chiang, "S.F. Sues Over Legality of Same-sex Marriages," San Francisco Chronicle
Feb. 20, 2004
California Governor wants same-sex weddings stopped
"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, facing mounting calls for action from within his own party, ordered Attorney General Bill Lockyer on Friday [Feb. 20, 2004] to intervene immediately to stop San Francisco from granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples. In a letter to Lockyer released just hours after a Superior Court Judge in San Francisco refused to put an immediate halt to the marriages, Schwarzenegger directed the state's top lawyer 'to take immediate steps' to obtain a court ruling that the city's actions are illegal." Feb. 21, 2004, Harriet Chiang, "Governor Demands End to Gay Marriage," San Francisco Chronicle
Feb. 20, 2004
New Mexico county begins issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples
"A county clerk issued marriage licenses Friday to at least 15 gay couples, some of whom then exchanged vows outside the courthouse, as more same-sex couples lined up for a chance to tie the knot...
...New Mexico law defines marriage as a contract between contracting parties but does not mention gender." Feb. 20, 2004, "Gay Couples Marry in New Mexico," CNN
Feb. 20, 2004
Cambodian King backs gay marriage
"The king said that as a 'liberal democracy', Cambodia should allow 'marriage between man and man... or between woman and woman.' He said he had respect for homosexual and lesbians and said they were as they were because God loved a 'wide range of tastes.'" Feb. 20. 2004, "Cambodian King Backs Gay Marriage," BBC
Feb. 24, 2004
President Bush announces support for constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage
"President Bush backed a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage Tuesday [Feb. 24, 2004], saying he wants to stop activist judges from changing the definition of the 'most enduring human institution.' Marriage cannot be severed from its cultural and moral roots, Bush said, urging Congress to approve such an amendment.
'After more than two centuries of American jurisprudence and millennia of human experience, a few judges and local authorities are presuming to change the most fundamental institution of civilization,' the president said. 'Their action has created confusion on an issue that requires clarity.'" Feb. 24, 2004, "The Bush Presidency," CBS News
Feb. 24, 2004
Log Cabin Republicans criticize President Bush’s support for constitutional amendment banning gay marriage
"'Writing discrimination into our Constitution violates conservative and Republican principles. This amendment would not strengthen marriage -- it would weaken our nation. As conservative Republicans, we are outraged that any Republican -- particularly the leader of our party and this nation -- would support any effort to use our sacred United States Constitution as a way of scoring political points in an election year,' Guerriero said." Feb. 24, 2004, "Press Release February 24, 2004," www.lrc.org
Feb. 27, 2004
New York town of New Paltz begins marrying same-sex couples
"The same-sex marriage controversy moved to a tiny Hudson River village, where the mayor of New Paltz, New York, began performing same-sex marriages Friday [Feb. 27, 2004]. Mayor Jason West said he considers it his 'moral obligation' to issue marriage licenses to gay couples." Feb. 28, 2004, Jonathan Wald, "New York Town's Mayor Marries Same-sex Couples," CNN
Feb. 27, 2004
California Supreme Court refuses to stop same-sex marriages
"California's Supreme Court has rejected a request from the state's attorney general to stop gay weddings and declare invalid over 3,400 same-sex marriages. However, the court did agree to consider arguments in the court fight over the licensing of gay and lesbian unions by the city of San Francisco. Chief Justice Ronald George instead ordered the respondents who oppose the weddings to file legal briefs by next Friday, Mar. 5." Feb. 28, 2004, "California Gay Weddings to Go On," CNN
Mar. 3, 2004
New York attorney general urges halt to same-sex marriages
"In a statement, Spitzer said state laws governing marriage do not authorize cities or counties to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and he urged officials to stop solemnizing such unions. But he said those provisions 'raise important constitutional questions involving the equal protection of the laws' -- questions that the courts must decide. Under state court precedent, he said, same-sex marriages and civil unions performed in other states should be recognized in New York." Mar. 3, 2004, "N.Y. Attorney General Urges Halt to Same-sex Marriages," CNN
Mar. 3, 2004
Gays wed in Portland, Oregon
"County officials began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Portland [Oregon] Wednesday [Mar. 3, 2004], joining the rapidly spreading national movement that has moved from San Francisco to upstate New York." Mar. 3, 2004, "Gay Marriage Licenses Issued in Oregon," Associated Press
Mar. 4, 2004
Same-sex couples turned away in New York City
"Same-sex couples lined up in the rain today [Mar. 4, 2004] in New York City to apply for marriage licenses, but they were turned away in the latest round of a national debate, a day after couples in Portland, Ore., began tying the knot. Couples went to the Municipal Building in Manhattan carrying placards asking 'Marry Us,' but were handed packets explaining that the law does not allow same-sex marriages." Mar. 5, 2004, "Gay Couples March on Manhattan," Los Angeles Times
Mar. 4, 2004
New York mayor says he wants state to legalize same-sex marriages
"Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who has refused in his two years in office to disclose his personal views on gay and lesbian marriage, told 80 journalists at a lesbian and gay fund-raising dinner in Manhattan Thursday [Mar. 4, 2004] night that he favored changing state law to legalize same-sex unions, four people who were there said yesterday." Mar. 6, 2004, Robert D. McFadden, "Bloomberg Is Said to Want State to Legalize Same-Sex Marriages," New York Times
Mar. 5, 2004
New Paltz, NY mayor barred from performing same-sex marriages
"A state judge on Friday [Mar. 5, 2004] barred the mayor of a college town from performing more same-sex marriages for a month, saying Jason West was ignoring his oath of office. Justice Vincent Bradley issued a temporary restraining order against the 26-year-old New Paltz mayor at the request of the Florida-based Liberty Council, which acted on behalf of a local resident." Mar. 5, 2004, "N.Y. Judge Bars Mayor from Gay Marriages," Associated Press
Mar. 8, 2004
Seattle recognizes marriages by gay city work
"The gay marriage debate rippled into Washington State on Monday, as six same-sex couples filed a lawsuit challenging the state's Defense of Marriage Act and the Seattle mayor said the city would now recognize gay marriages forged elsewhere.
The mayor, Greg Nickels, said Seattle would extend to gay city employees all the benefits and rights heterosexual couples enjoy." Mar. 9, 2004, "In Seattle, a Legal Challenge to Marriage Laws," New York Times
Mar. 8, 2004
Lambda Legal and Northwest Women’s Law Center file lawsuit on behalf of lesbian and gay couples in Washington state
"Six same-sex couples filed a lawsuit Monday seeking the right to get married after they were refused marriage licenses by a sympathetic public official, as the mayor ordered the city to recognize the marriages of gay city employees who tie the knot elsewhere." Mar. 8, 2004, "New Lawsuits in WA, NY," Associated Press
Mar. 8, 2004
Gay marriages begin in New Jersey
"In a decision likely to stoke the contentious election-year debate over same-sex marriage, the New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled that state lawmakers must provide the rights and benefits of marriage to gay and lesbian couples.
The high court on Wednesday gave legislators six months to either change state marriage laws to include same-sex couples, or come up with another mechanism, such as civil unions, that would provide the same protections and benefits.
The court's vote was 4-to-3. But the ruling was more strongly in favor of same-sex marriage than that split would indicate. The three dissenting justices argued the court should have extended full marriage rights to homosexuals, without kicking the issue back to legislators." Mar. 8, 2004, "New Jersey Court Recognizes Right to Same-sex Unions," New York Times
Mar. 8, 2004
California state Assemblywoman marries
"This city [San Francisco] once again saw the melding of the personal and political Monday [Mar. 8, 2004] when state Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica) presided over the marriages of six couples who have long been active in the gay and lesbian community, including Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg. In back-to-back ceremonies on the steps of the City Hall rotunda, Kuehl, California's first openly gay state legislator, pronounced her close friends and political colleagues married to tears and shouts of jubilation." Mar. 9, 2004, Lee Romney, "Goldberg and Partner Marry in San Francisco," Los Angeles Times
Mar. 9, 2004
New Jersey Attorney General orders halt to gay marriage licenses
"The day after New Jersey's first gay marriage was performed, the state attorney general ordered city officials to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples and performing gay marriages - or face criminal charges." Mar. 10, 2004, "New Jersey's Step Forward; A court's Order on Same-sex Partnerships Leaves Plenty of Room for Democratic Decisions," Washington Post
Mar. 9, 2004
San Jose, CA recognizes same-sex marriages by city employees
"The San Jose City Council [CA] voted Tuesday [Mar. 9, 2004] to offer identical benefits to all married city employees, whether same-sex or heterosexual. With the 8-1 vote to honor same-sex marriage licenses issued by other communities, San Jose now offers same-sex married employees better benefits than those available under the city's domestic partnership registry, which was created in 1999." Mar. 10, 2004, "Gay City Workers in San Jose Given Full Marriage Benefits," San Francisco Chronicle
Mar. 10, 2004
Washington Post/ABC Poll show support for same-sex marriage grows
"About half the country -- 51 percent -- favors allowing gay couples to form civil unions with the same basic legal rights as married couples, up 6 percentage points in less than a month. A slightly larger majority also rejected amending the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriages in favor of allowing states to make their own laws, an increase of 8 percentage points in recent weeks." Mar. 10, 2004, "Poll Finds Growing Support for Gay Civil Unions," Washington Post
Mar. 10, 2004
Same-sex marriage debate moves to Tennessee
"Fresh from their wedding in San Francisco, Jason McDowell and Bill Watson requested new driver's licenses in their home state with their last names hyphenated. They were turned down...
...[T]he two men intend to challenge Tennessee's ban on same-sex marriages..." Mar. 10, 2004, "Gay Couple Know 'It's a Long Battle' to Have Their Marriage Recognized," Associated Press
Mar. 11, 2004
Crowds flock to Boston, Massachusetts for same-sex marriage debate
"From as far away as Florida and California, thousands of demonstrators converged on the Massachusetts Statehouse today [Mar. 11, 2004], as legislators prepared to resume debate on a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
After hopelessly deadlocking one month ago, lawmakers today were scheduled to vote on a series of compromise amendments that would ban gay marriage but legalize civil union as a marriage-like alternative for gay and lesbian couples." Mar. 11, 2004, Elizabeth Mehren, "Massachusetts Marriage Debate Draws Crowds," Los Angeles Times
Mar. 11, 2004
California Supreme Court orders halt to San Francisco same-sex weddings.
"The California Supreme Court today [Mar. 11, 2004] ordered San Francisco officials to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples until the court can hold a hearing on gay marriages. The hearing would be held later this spring ... A Superior Court hearing has been scheduled for Mar. 29. If the state Supreme Court does not intervene, a final resolution to the legal challenges could take at least a year. If the case is permitted to go to trial, San Francisco officials said in their brief, the city will present evidence that 'relegating same-sex relationships to inferior, second-class status severely stigmatizes gay men, lesbians and their families.'" Mar. 11, 2004, Mary MacVean, "Court Orders San Francisco Officials to Halt Gay Marriages," Los Angeles Times
Mar. 11, 2004
Massachusetts legislature takes step towards banning gay marriage.
Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, sent its adherents a news update stating: "Yesterday [Mar. 11, 2004] was a significant day in our campaign to preserve marriage. Homosexual activists gathered in the Massachusetts State House on Beacon Hill and spent the day repeatedly singing the 'Star Spangled Banner' and 'God Bless America'. And in the end, God did bless us yesterday by answering the prayers of literally tens of thousands of people who were praying all across the country - praying for the preservation of marriage.
The result was four victories on marriage yesterday. As I mentioned in Thursday's Update, there was positive news from Portland, Oregon. Also, the Virginia State Senate passed (with a veto-proof majority) a ban on the recognition of out-of-state civil unions, and shortly after the Portland decision, the California Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling which said that San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom was violating the law and must immediately stop issuing same-sex 'marriage' licenses.
On the nation's opposite shore, the Massachusetts Legislature took the next step in wrestling control of this public policy issue away from unelected judges. The amendment - which gained initial approval last night - is not what we want; it prohibits homosexual 'marriage' but creates civil unions. However, the fight is not over, as the Legislature will return on Mar. 29th to take up the debate for a third time. The Legislature will then have the opportunity to vote on changes to the amendment prior to casting a final vote." Mar. 12, 2004, Family Research Council
Mar. 12, 2004
Lawsuit filed in California challenging the constitutionality of California's marriage laws
"Equality California -- together with six gay and lesbian couples and Our Family Coalition -- filed a lawsuit today [Mar. 12, 2004] challenging the constitutionality of California's marriage laws. The parties are being represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern and Southern California, and Lambda Legal. Five of the six couples had appointments to obtain marriage licenses at San Francisco City Hall but their appointments were canceled as a result of the California Supreme Court's order yesterday [Mar. 11, 2004] directing San Francisco to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
The lawsuit argues that denying same-sex couples the right to marry violates the California Constitution's guarantees of equality, liberty, and privacy." Mar. 12, 2004, "Equality California, Six Couples and Our Family Coalition File Lawsuit Seeking the Right to Marry for Lesbian & Gay Couples, " Equity California (EQCA), www.eqca.org
Mar. 12, 2004
Oregon attorney general says same-sex marriage is illegal, but that law may be unconstitutional
"Oregon's attorney general advised county officials Friday [Mar. 12, 2004] that issuing same-sex marriage licenses is against state law -- but added that the law in question may be unconstitutional." Mar. 12, 2004, "Oregon Attorney General: Gay Marriage Illegal," CNN
Mar. 15, 2004
Spousal benefits for gays at the United Nations challenged
"A bloc of more than 50 Islamic states, backed by the Vatican, sought today to halt U.N. efforts to extend spousal benefits to partners of some gay employees. The initiative came less than two months after U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan moved to award benefits to partners of gay employees who come from countries where such benefits are provided, such as Belgium and the Netherlands...
The United Nations has recognized polygamy, a common practice in the Islamic world, as a legitimate form of marriage and permits employees to divide their benefits among more than one wife. But the decision to expand that right to same-sex partners has fueled intense opposition...
The European Union, Canada, Australia and New Zealand defended Annan's decision on benefits for U.N. staffers. 'The European Union is satisfied with this practice and we see no reason why the secretary general's prerogative in this area should now be contested,' said Ireland's envoy, Margaret Stanley, speaking on behalf of the EU.
But conservative critics said the secretary general's decision represents an unwelcome assault on conservative values, and they vowed to take the fight to the U.N. Human Rights Commission in Geneva in the coming weeks. 'I have no doubt there will be very strong opposition from Islamic countries, from some Latin Americans and the Vatican,' said Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, which has worked closely with the Vatican at the United Nations." Mar. 16, 2004, "UN Spousal Benefits for Gays in Dispute," Washington Post
Mar. 16, 2004
Second Oregon county says gay couples can marry
"Commissioners in a second Oregon county voted Tuesday [Mar. 16, 2004] to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The board of commissioners of Benton County agreed to follow in the footsteps of Multnomah County, a Benton spokeswoman said. The county's district attorney said county officials will begin distributing the licenses Mar. 24." Mar. 17, 2004, "Second Oregon County Says Gay Couples Can Marry," CNN
Mar. 16, 2004
New York Times/CBS Poll shows 59% support constitutional amendment restricting marriage to "a man and a woman.”
"By 59 percent to 35 percent, respondents said they supported a constitutional amendment that would 'allow marriage only between a man and a woman.' But 56 percent said that they did not view the issue as important enough to merit changing the nation's constitution." Mar. 16, 2004, "The 2004 Campaign: The Poll; Nation's Direction Prompts Voters' Concern, Poll Finds," New York Times
Mar. 18, 2004
Tennessee County rescinds ban on gay residents
"...[E]ight county commissioners on Thursday [Mar. 18, 2004] quickly rescinded an antigay motion that drew national attention — and some ridicule — to Dayton once more.
The measure, which the commission had passed unanimously Tuesday night, would have banned gays and lesbians from living in Rhea County. The proposal would have allowed the county to prosecute gays and lesbians for 'crimes against nature.'" Mar. 19, 2004, "County Rescinds Vote to Ban Gay Residents," Los Angeles Times
Mar. 18, 2004
Couples marry in act of civil disobedience at New York city hall
"Three gay and lesbian couples were married in religious ceremonies on the steps of City Hall yesterday in an act of civil disobedience...
[Robert] Morgenthau [Manhattan District Attorney] issued a statement saying he believed that there's been 'no definitive rulings from the courts' in New York on marriages for same-sex couples. 'The criminal courts are not the appropriate forum for the resolution of these issues . . . This office will take no action with respect to the participants in these ceremonies,' he said. Mayor Bloomberg said the ceremonies were more 'theater than anything else' and said demonstrating in Albany would be more effective if gay and lesbians want to change state law barring same-sex marriages." Mar. 19, 2004, "3 Pairs Flout N.Y. Law With Gay Marriages," San Diego Union Tribune
Mar. 19, 2004
Quebec ruling paves way for gay marriages
"Homosexuals have the right to wed, Quebec's top court said Friday [Mar. 19, 2004], making it the third Canadian province to allow same-sex marriage. The Quebec Court of Appeal upheld a lower-court ruling that the traditional definition of marriage is discriminatory and unjustified." Mar. 19, 2004 "Quebec Court Paves Way for Gay Marriages," Boston Globe
Mar. 20, 2004
Same-sex weddings continue in New Paltz, NY
"Six ministers of the Unitarian Universalist Church performed marriage ceremonies for 25 same-sex couples Saturday [Mar. 20, 2004], defying prosecutors who view the practice as illegal. The weddings, which the ministers consider to be legal unions, thus raising the ire of prosecutors, were held at a New Paltz bed and breakfast." Mar. 21, 2004, "6 Ministers Wed 25 Same-sex Couples," San Diego Tribune
Mar. 22, 2004
Wording of federal same-sex marriage ban revised
"Key backers of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage said yesterday [Mar. 22, 2004] that they are rewording the two-sentence text to clarify that it would allow states to establish civil unions or other partnership arrangements for same-sex couples..."
"The new text says: 'Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman.'
In the original text, the first sentence was the same. But the second sentence had said: 'Neither this constitution or the constitution of any state, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.'" Mar. 23, 2004, "Same-Sex Marriage Ban Being Retooled; Civil Unions Would Be Up to States," Washington Post
"...the revisions quickly drew criticism as a gay rights group said it left the status of civil unions uncertain and a conservative group said it went too far in recognizing such unions.
'They are using that as a selling point; we find it as a detriment,' said Robert H. Knight, director of the Culture and Family Institute, which is affiliated with Concerned Women for America, a conservative group. 'Why is that a good thing, when civil unions are gay marriage by another name and will lead to the destruction of marriage?'
Winnie Stachelberg, political director for the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group, said, 'I don't think what Musgrave and Allard are trying to achieve here is any more clear today than yesterday.'" Mar. 23, 2004, "Backers Revise Amendment on Marriage," New York Times
Mar. 23, 2004
Oregon county bans all marriage
"In a new twist in the battle over same-sex marriage roiling the United States, a county in Oregon has banned all marriages -- gay and heterosexual -- until the state decides who can and who cannot wed.
The last marriage licenses were handed out in Benton County at 4 p.m. local time Tuesday [Mar. 23, 2004]. As of Wednesday, officials in the county of 79,000 people will begin telling couples applying for licenses to go elsewhere until the gay marriage debate is settled. 'It may seem odd,' Benton County Commissioner Linda Modrell told Reuters in a telephone interview, but 'we need to treat everyone in our county equally.'
State Attorney General Hardy Myers said in a statement that he was 'very pleased' with Benton County's decision. 'It is my sincere hope that the legal process will provide clarity for each of Oregon's counties.'" Mar. 24, 2004, "Gay-marriage Debate in Missouri Sparks ‘Inflammatory’ Comments," Reuters
Mar. 25, 2004
Kansas rejects ban on same-sex marriages
"The Kansas State Senate yesterday [Mar. 25, 2004] rejected a discriminatory amendment to the state constitution that would have denied marriage to same-sex couples, even though a state law invalidating such marriages already exists. The law would have also banned civil unions and domestic partnerships. A similar amendment was also defeated earlier this week in Iowa.
'The heartland's rejection of discrimination is a beacon to every corner of America,' said HRC President Cheryl Jacques. 'The bipartisan Kansas vote shows fair-minded Americans are defeating efforts to enshrine discrimination into law.'
Republican State Sen. David Adkins was among those leading efforts to reject the measure. The measure needed a two-thirds' majority to pass. It was defeated in a bipartisan 17-16 vote." Mar. 26, 2004, "Kansas Sends Dramatic Message Against Constitutional Discrimination," Human Rights Campaign
Mar. 29, 2004
Massachusetts lawmakers propose civil unions and ban on same-sex marriage
"The Massachusetts Legislature adopted a new version of a state constitutional amendment Monday that would ban gay marriage and legalize civil unions, eliminating consideration of any other proposed changes..." Mar. 29, 2004, "Mass. Lawmakers Agree on Gay Marriage Ban," Associated Press
Mar. 30, 2004
Massachusetts Attorney General refuses governor's request
"Yesterday [Mar. 30, 2004], Massachusetts's Governor Mitt Romney (R) asked Attorney General Thomas Reilly (D) to seek a stay on the Supreme Judicial Court's ruling that marriage licenses be issued to homosexuals beginning May 17th. The Governor's reasoning was that the voters of the Bay State should have an opportunity to vote on the amendment banning same-sex "marriage" before the licenses are issued. It's the only way to have a fair vote on the issue. Once the licenses are issued the media will parade the newly married homosexuals before the public, which will certainly skew the outcome of any vote. The Attorney General has said he will NOT seek a stay, saying this is a political issue, not a legal one." Mar. 31, 2004, Family Research Council
Mar. 30, 2004
Conservatives testify against constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage
"Several high-profile conservative Americans testified at a Congressional hearing today [Mar. 30, 2004] in opposition to changing the U.S. Constitution. At today's House Judiciary subcommittee hearing around a constitutional amendment to ban marriage for same-sex couples, former Congressman Bob Barr and Wyoming State Sen. John Hanes -- both Republicans -- rejected tampering with the Constitution..."
'If we begin to treat the Constitution as our personal sandbox, in which to build and destroy castles as we please, we risk diluting the grandeur of having a Constitution in the first place,' said former Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., who penned the Defense of Marriage Act.
Sen. Hanes added: 'Our goal as conservatives should be to avoid creating needless division, and instead let the people build their communities without federal interference.'" Mar. 30, 2004, Human Rights Campaign
Mar. 31, 2004
UK grants "joint rights" to same-sex couples
"Gay and lesbian couples are to be given the chance to get similar legal rights to married couples under a new Civil Partnership Bill. The measures, unveiled on Wednesday, allows legal recognition for gay couples for the first time. The Bill gives the legal rights to same-sex couples who register their partnership at a civil ceremony.
Gay couples would not have to live together for a certain length of time to be eligible for the rights and if the partnership breaks up, there would be a formal court process for dissolving it." Mar. 31, 2004, "Gay Couples to Get Joint Rights," BBC
Apr. 7, 2004
Gays and lesbians sue New York over marriage
"Thirteen same-sex couples sued the state of New York on Wednesday [Apr. 7, 2004], seeking to have the state law that denies gay and lesbian couples the right to marry declared unconstitutional...
Plaintiffs include state Assembly member Daniel O'Donnell and his partner of 23 years, John Banta. The NYCLU, the American Civil Liberties Union [ACLU] and a private law firm are representing the plaintiffs. The lawsuit charges that state health regulations defining marriage as being only between a man and a woman violates the state Constitution's equal protection, privacy and due process provisions." Apr. 7, 2004, "Gay and Lesbian Couples Sue New York Over Marriage Law," Associated Press
Apr. 20, 2004
Oregon same-sex marriages ordered halted
"A judge on Tuesday ordered Multnomah County to stop issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. The action effectively ends gay marriage nationally, because the county was the only jurisdiction in the country known to currently allow same-sex weddings." Apr. 20, 2004, "Oregon Same-sex Marriages Ordered Halted," Associated Press
May 4, 2004
Kansas lawmakers reject gay marriage ban
"A proposed constitutional amendment declaring that Kansas recognizes marriage as only between one man and one woman failed Tuesday [May, 4, 2003] to win enough House support to submit it to voters.
The vote was 79-45 - five favorable votes fewer than the two-thirds majority needed to approve a proposed change in the Kansas Constitution. The Senate adopted the proposal Saturday on a 27-13 vote." May 4, 2003, "Kansas House Rejects Gay Marriage Ban," Associated Press
May 10, 2004
Massachusetts city defies government - will permit out-of-state gays to wed
"Officials in Cape Cod's gay tourism mecca of Provincetown voted to offer marriage licenses to out-of-state same-sex couples, potentially setting the stage for another legal battle over gay marriage." May 10, 2004 "Massachusetts Town Votes to Let Out-of-State Gays Marry," Associated Press
May 17, 2004
First legal gay marriage in the US
"CAMBRIDGE, Mass., May 17 -- America's first gay marriage fully authorized by law took place here this morning when Tanya McCloskey, 52, and Marcia Kadish, 56, exchanged vows at the Cambridge City Hall." May 17, 2004, "Gay Couples Wed in Mass.," Washington Post
June 10, 2004
New York court backs gay marriage
"A New York court has ruled in favour of gay marriages saying that failure to do so would breach the equal rights laws written into the state's constitution.
In its ruling the court in the town of New Paltz also dismissed the charges against local mayor Jason West who wed dozens of gay couples in February. It had been claimed that Mr West broke the law when he allowed the marriages." June 10, 2004, "New York Court Backs Gay Marriage," BBC
July 14, 2004
Same-sex marriage ban fails in US Senate
"Efforts to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage foundered Wednesday afternoon in the Senate when the proposal failed to garner enough votes to stay alive.
After final arguments by the leaders of each party, the Republicans mustered 48 votes, 12 short of the 60 they needed to overcome a procedural hurdle and move the proposed amendment to the floor.
'In 217 years, we've only amended that sacred document 17 times,' said Sen. Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota before the vote. 'There have been 11,000 separate attempts.'
There is no urgent need to amend the Constitution now, he said.
But Sen. Bill Frist disagreed. 'It has become clear to legal scholars ... that same-sex marriage will be exported to all 50 states,' said the majority leader, from Tennessee.
'Will activist judges not elected by the American people destroy the institution of marriage, or will the people protect marriage as the best way to raise children? My vote is with the people.'" July 15, 2004, "Same-sex Marriage Senate Battle Over, War Is Not," CNN
Aug. 3, 2004
Missouri votes to ban same-sex marriage
"Missouri voters solidly endorsed a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage..." Aug. 4, 2004, "Missouri Voters Approve Gay Marriage Ban; Vote Seen as Bellwether for Other States," Associated Press
Aug. 4, 2004
Seattle judge approves same-sex marriages
"Gay couples can be married under Washington state law, because denying their right to do so is a violation of their constitutional rights, a judge ruled Wednesday [Aug. 4, 2004].
'The denial to the plaintiffs of the right to marry constitutes a denial of substantive due process,' King County Superior Court Judge William L. Downing said in his ruling." Aug. 4, 2004, "Washington Judge OKs Same-sex Marriage," Associated Press
Aug. 12, 2004
California Supreme Court voids same-sex marriages
"Thousands of marriages sanctioned in San Francisco earlier this year were voided Thursday when the California Supreme Court ruled that city's mayor overstepped his authority by issuing licenses to gay and lesbian couples.
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom said the city would appeal the 5-2 ruling by the state's high court...
In its ruling Thursday, the court said San Francisco illegally issued the certificates and performed the wedding ceremonies, since state law defined marriage as a union between a man and woman. The justices nullified the nearly 4,000 marriages performed between February 12 and Mar. 11, when the court halted the weddings.
The court did not resolve whether the California Constitution would permit a same-sex marriage, ruling instead on the limits of authority regarding local government officials.
The high court's ruling ordered city and county officials to 'take all necessary remedial steps to undo the continuing effects of the officials' past unauthorized actions, including making appropriate corrections to all relevant official records and notifying all affected same-sex couples that the same-sex marriages authorized by the officials are void and of no legal effect.'" Aug. 13, 2004, "California High Court Voids Same-sex Marriage," CNN
Aug. 24, 2004
Vice President Cheney sees same-sex marriage as a state issue
"Vice President Cheney spelled out his differences with President Bush on the volatile issue of gay marriage Tuesday [Aug. 24, 2004] while making his most revealing public comments so far about the sexual orientation of his gay daughter.
Asked his position on the subject at a town hall meeting here, Cheney replied: 'Lynne and I have a gay daughter, so it's an issue that our family is very familiar with. . . . With respect to the question of relationships, my general view is that freedom means freedom for everyone. People . . . ought to be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to.'
'At this point . . . my own preference is as I've stated,' Cheney said. 'But the president makes basic policy for the administration. And he's made it.'" Aug. 25, 2004, "Cheney Sees Gay Marriage as State Issue," Washington Post
Aug. - Nov. 2004
Voters in 13 states approve constitutional bans on same-sex marriage
"Voters in 13 states - Missouri, Louisiana, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon and Utah - approve constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage." Apr. 1, 2008, "Gay Marriage Timeline," Pew Charitable Trust
Sep. 18, 2004
Same-sex marriage ban approved in Louisiana
"Louisiana voters overwhelmingly approved a state constitutional amendment Saturday [Sep. 18, 2004] banning same-sex marriages and civil unions, one of up to 12 such measures on the ballot around the country this year." Sep. 20, 2004, "Louisiana Voters Approve Same-sex Marriage Amendment," Associated Press
Sep. 28, 2004
Roman Catholic Church blasts Spanish government's introduction of same-sex marriage bill
"The Roman Catholic Church has attacked the Spanish government's plans to introduce gay marriage, comparing them to releasing a virus into society. The government says it expects homosexual people to be able to marry as early as next year... 'It would impose on society a virus, something false, which will have negative consequences for social life,' Juan Antonio Martinez Camino said." Sep. 28, 2004, "Spain Church Blasts Gay Marriage," BBC
Sep. 30, 2004
US House of Representatives rejects same-sex marriage ban
"The House joined the Senate yesterday in refusing to approve a constitutional amendment to bar same-sex marriage, described by Republican supporters as a vital protection for traditional families but denounced by Democratic foes as a divisive pre-election ploy to inflame prejudice.
The vote by the GOP-controlled House was 227 to 186 in favor of writing the same-sex marriage ban into the Constitution, 49 short of the two-thirds majority needed to approve an amendment and send it to the states for ratification.
The Senate, also controlled by Republicans, voted 50 to 48 in July against taking up the amendment." Oct. 1, 2004, "House Rejects Same-Sex Marriage Ban," Washington Post
Oct. 1, 2004
Spanish government approves gay marriage bill
"The Spanish government has approved a draft law which will legalize homosexual marriage. The bill gives same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples, including the right to adopt children...
If the bill is approved by parliament, it will make Spain the third EU country to authorize gay marriages." Oct. 1, 2004, "Spain Approves Gay Marriage Bill," BBC
Nov. 2, 2004
11 US states pass initiatives to ban same-sex marriage
"Measures banning same-sex marriage passed by wide margins in all 11 states that had them on Tuesday's [Nov. 2, 2004] ballot, in what conservative groups described yesterday [Nov. 3, 2004] as a sweeping popular rejection of a Massachusetts court's decision to allow gay marriage in that state." Nov. 4, 2004, "Same-Sex Bans Fuel Conservative Agenda," Washington Post
(Note: Click here to see a recap of those 11 measures.)
Nov. 29, 2004
US Supreme Court declines to review Massachusetts' same-sex marriage law
"The Supreme Court on Monday [Nov. 29, 2004] sidestepped a dispute over same-sex marriages, rejecting a challenge to the nation's only law sanctioning such unions." Nov. 29, 2004, "Supreme Court Declines Massachusetts Same-Sex Marriage Fight Conservatives Had Challenged State Law Allowing Unions," CNN
Dec. 9, 2004
Canada's Supreme Court approves same-sex marriage
"Canada's Supreme Court has told the government it can legalize gay marriage without violating the constitution. Dec. 9, 2004, "Canada 'Can Permit Gay Marriage,'" BBC
Feb. 4, 2005
State judge rules that New York ban on same-sex marriage is illegal
"A New York State judge in Manhattan ruled yesterday (Feb. 4, 2005) that a state law that effectively denied gay couples the right to marry violated the state Constitution, a decision that raised the possibility that the city would begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples as soon as next month.
The ruling, by Justice Doris Ling-Cohan, was the first on the state level to side with proponents of gay marriage. In her 62-page decision, she wrote that the state's Domestic Relations Law, which dates to 1909 and limits marriage to unions between opposite-sex couples, deprived gay couples of equal protection and due process rights under the state Constitution.
She likened the law to those that once barred interracial marriages and said that words currently used in defining legal marriages - husband and wife, groom and bride - 'shall be construed to apply equally to either men or women.'" Feb. 5, 2005, "Judge's Ruling Opens Window for Gay Marriage in New York City," New York Times
Feb. 23, 2005
Pope calls same-sex marriage "evil"
"Homosexual marriages are part of 'a new ideology of evil' that is insidiously threatening society, Pope John Paul says in his newly published book.... In one section about the role of lawmakers, the Pope takes another swipe at gay marriages when he refers to 'pressures' on the European Parliament to allow them.
'It is legitimate and necessary to ask oneself if this is not perhaps part of a new ideology of evil, perhaps more insidious and hidden, which attempts to pit human rights against the family and against man,' he writes." Feb. 23, 2005, "Pope Calls Gay Marriage Part of 'Ideology of Evil,'" Reuters
Mar. 14, 2005
Judge rules California same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional
"A judge ruled today [Mar. 14, 2005] that California can no longer justify limiting marriage to a man and a woman, a legal milestone that if upheld on appeal would pave the way for the nation's most populous state to follow Massachusetts in allowing same-sex couples to wed...
'The state's protracted denial of equal protection cannot be justified simply because such constitutional violation has become traditional,' Kramer wrote." Mar. 14, 2005, "Judge Says Calif. Can't Ban Gay Marriage," Associated Press
Apr. 4, 2005
Kansas voters approve constitutional ban on same-sex marriage
"Voters in Kansas overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment banning same-sex couples from marrying or entering into civil unions. With more than half of the precincts reporting, 298,647 votes, or 70 percent, were cast in favor of a amendment, with 128,366, or 30 percent, opposed." Apr. 5, 2005, "Kansas: Voters Approve Amendment Banning Same-Sex Marriage," New York Times
Apr. 14, 2005
Oregon court voids same-sex marriage licenses
"The Oregon Supreme Court on Thursday (Apr. 14, 2005) nullified nearly 3,000 marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples by Multnomah County a year ago, saying a single county couldn't take such action on its own. The court said while the county can question the constitutionality of laws governing marriage, they are a matter of statewide concern so the county had no authority to issue licenses to gay couples." Apr. 14, 2005, "Oregon Court Voids Same-sex Marriage Licenses," CNN
Apr. 20, 2005
Connecticut approves same-sex civil unions
"Connecticut on Wednesday [Apr. 20, 2005] became the second state to offer civil unions to gay couples -- and the first to do so without being forced by the courts...
The Senate approved the amended bill Wednesday 26-8. The law takes effect October 1." Apr. 20, 2005, "Connecticut OKs Civil Unions for Gay Couples," Associated Press
Apr. 25, 2005
Navajo Nation bans same-sex marriage
"The Navajo Nation has forbidden same-sex marriages on its Arizona reservation. The Tribal Council voted unanimously in favor of legislation that recognizes only the union of one man and one woman, and prohibits marriages between close relatives.
'Men and women have been created in a sacred manner,' delegate Harriet K. Becenti said." Apr. 25, 2005, "Navajo Council Bars Same-Sex Marriage," Los Angeles Times
May 13, 2005
US judge rejects Nebraska ban on same-sex marriage
"Nebraska's ban on gay marriage was struck down by a federal judge who ruled the measure interferes with the rights of gay couples and people in a host of other living arrangements, including foster parents and adopted children. The constitutional amendment, which defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman, was passed overwhelmingly by the voters in November 2000." May 13, 2005, "Judge Strikes Down Same-sex Marriage Ban in Nebraska," Associated Press
California Supreme Court allows domestic partnership registry
"California Supreme Court lets stand a new law creating domestic partners' registry for same-sex couples." Apr. 1, 2008, "Gay Marriage Timeline," Pew Charitable Trust
June 28, 2005
Gay marriage extended nationwide in Canada
"The [Canadian] House of Commons voted Tuesday night [June 28, 2005] to extend marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples throughout Canada despite strong opposition from the Conservatives and a splintering of the governing Liberal Party caucus.
The vote sealed two years of provincial court decisions that gave same-sex couples the right to marry in 8 of 10 provinces and one of the three northern territories." June 29, 2005, "Gay Marriage Is Extended Nationwide in Canada," New York Times
June 30, 2005
Spain legalizes same-sex marriage
"The Spanish Parliament gave final approval today [June 30, 2005] to a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, making Spain only the second nation to eliminate all legal distinctions between same-sex and heterosexual unions, according to supporters of the bill.
The measure, passed by a vote of 187 to 147, establishes that couples will have the same rights, including the freedom to marry and to adopt children, regardless of gender. June 30, 2005, "Spain Legalizes Sane-sex Marriage," New York Times
July 4, 2005
United Church of Christ backs same-sex marriage
"The United Church of Christ became the first mainline Christian denomination to support same-sex marriage officially when its general synod passed a resolution on Monday [July 4, 2005] affirming 'equal marriage rights for couples regardless of gender.'" July 5, 2005, "United Church of Christ Backs Same-Sex Marriage," New York Times
July 20, 2005
Canada legalizes same-sex marriage
"Canada signed gay marriage legislation into law Wednesday [July 20, 2005], becoming the fourth nation to grant full legal rights to same-sex couples." July 25, 2005, "Canada OKs Gay Marriage," San Francisco Chronicle
California Supreme Court establishes co-parenting rights for same-sex couples
"California Supreme Court issues first-of-its-kind ruling recognizing the co-parenting rights of same-sex couples." Apr. 1, 2008, "Gay Marriage Timeline," Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life website
Sep. 6, 2005
California legislature first in US to approve gay marriage legalization
"The California Legislature on Tuesday became the first legislative body in the country to approve same-sex marriages, as gay-rights advocates overcame two earlier defeats in the Assembly.
The 41-35 vote sends the bill to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose office had no comment on the bill when it cleared the Senate last week..." Sep. 7, 2005, "California Legislature Approves Same-Sex Marriage Bill," Associated Press
Sep. 29, 2005
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoes bill to legalize same-sex marriage
"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger today delivered on his promise to veto legislation that would have given same-sex partners the right to marry, but said he would not support any rollback of the state's current domestic partner benefits." Sep. 29, 2005, "Schwarzenegger Vetoes Gay Marriage Bill as Promised," San Francisco Chronicle
Nov. 9, 2005
Texas voters approve constitutional amendment banning same- sex marriage
"Texas voters Tuesday overwhelming approved a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, making their state the 19th to take that step." Nov. 19, 2005, "Texas OKs Gay-Marriage Ban," FOX News
June 6, 2006
Alabama voters approve constitutional amendment banning gay marriage
"Alabama voters showed that there are limits to how far they are willing to go to mix faith and politics in the Buckle of the Bible Belt. They overwhelmingly endorsed a ban on gay marriage Tuesday, giving it 81 percent approval." June 6, 2006, "Alabama Voters Showed That There are Limits to How Far They Are Willing to Go to Mix Faith and Politics," Associated Press
July 6, 2006
New York State Court of Appeals rules against gay marriage
"On Thursday, the court rejected same-sex couples' bid to win marriage rights in New York...The Court of Appeals ruled 4-2 that New York's law allowing marriage only between a man and a woman was constitutional." July 6, 2006, "2 Courts Reject Same-Sex Marriage Cases," Associated Press
July 6, 2006
Georgia Court upholds anti-gay marriage ballot measure
"In Georgia, where three-quarters of voters approved a ban on gay marriage when it was on the ballot in 2004, the state Supreme Court reinstated the ban Thursday, ruling unanimously that it did not violate the state's single-subject rule for ballot measures." July 6, 2006, "State's Top Court Rejects Gay Marriage," Associated Press
July 14, 2006
Courts in Nebraska and Tennessee hand down anti-gay marriage rulings
"Courts handed victories to gay-marriage opponents in two states Friday, reinstating Nebraska's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage and throwing out an attempt to keep a proposed ban off the ballot in Tennessee. ...
In the Nebraska case, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a judge's ruling last year that the ban was too broad and deprived gays and lesbians of participation in the political process, among other things.
In Tennessee, the state Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit by the ACLU that contended the state failed to meet its own notification requirements for a ballot measure asking voters to ban gay marriage. The high court ruled unanimously Friday that the ACLU didn't have standing to file the suit." July 14, 2006, "More Victories for Opponents of Gay Marriage," Associated Press
July 18, 2006
House rejects constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage
"The House on Tuesday rejected a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, ending for another year a congressional debate that supporters of the ban hope will still reverberate in this fall's election.
The 236-187 vote for the proposal to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman was 47 short of the two-thirds majority needed to advance a constitutional amendment." July 18, 2006, "House Rejects Gay Marriage Ban Amendment," Associated Press
July 26, 2006
Washington state upholds ban on gay marriage
"The state Supreme Court today upheld Washington's law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, rejecting the argument of 19 same-sex couples that they've been unfairly denied the right to wed.
In a splintered decision, Justice Barbara Madsen wrote that the state's marriage law was enacted to 'promote procreation and to encourage stable families.'
'The legislature was entitled to believe that limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples furthers the State's legitimate interests in procreation and the well-being of children.'
She wrote that the same-sex couples failed to prove that they had a fundamental right to marry, or that the state's 1998 Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional." July 26, 2006, "State's High Court Upholds Ban on Gay Marriage," Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Nov. 7, 2006
Voters in seven states approve constitutional ban on same-sex marriage
"Voters in seven states - Idaho, Colorado, South Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin - approve constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage." Apr. 1, 2008, "Gay Marriage Timeline," Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life website
Dec. 4, 2006
New Jersey legislature approves civil unions
"Those rights and benefits afforded to same-sex couples under the 'Domestic Partnership Act' should be expanded by the legal recognition of civil unions between same-sex couples in order to provide these couples with all the rights and benefits that married heterosexual couples enjoy..." Dec. 4, 2006, Assembly Bill No. 3787 (2R) of 2006 (378KB)
Apr. 22, 2007
Washington Governor approves domestic partnerships bill
"Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire (D) signs bill creating same-sex domestic partnership starting July 22, 2007. The law also applies to senior heterosexual couples." Apr. 1, 2008, "Gay Marriage Timeline," Pew Charitable Trust
May 9, 2007
Oregon Governor approves domestic partnership bill
"Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski (D) signs bill creating same-sex domestic partnerships starting January 1, 2008."
Apr. 1, 2008, "Gay Marriage Timeline," Pew Charitable Trust
May 31, 2008
New Hampshire Governor approves civil union bill
"New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch (D) signs bill creating same-sex civil unions." Apr. 1, 2008, "Gay Marriage Timeline," Pew Charitable Trust
May 15, 2008
California Supreme Court overturns ban on gay marriage
"The California Supreme Court, striking down two state laws that had limited marriages to unions between a man and a woman, ruled Thursday [May 15, 2008] that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry.
The court’s 4-to-3 decision, drawing on a ruling six decades ago that struck down the state’s ban on interracial marriage, would make California only the second state, after Massachusetts, to allow same-sex marriages...
Given the historic, cultural, symbolic and constitutional significance of marriage, Chief Justice Ronald M. George wrote for the majority, the state cannot limit its availability to opposite-sex couples.
'In view of the substance and significance of the fundamental constitutional right to form a family relationship,' he wrote, 'the California Constitution properly must be interpreted to guarantee this basic civil right to all Californians, whether gay or heterosexual, and to same-sex couples as well as to opposite-sex couples.'" May 15, 2008, "California Supreme Court Overturns Gay Marriage Ban," New York Times
Oct. 10, 2008
Connecticut Supreme Court rules same-sex couples can marry
"A sharply divided Connecticut Supreme Court struck down the state’s civil union law on Friday and ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. Connecticut thus joins Massachusetts and California as the only states to have legalized gay marriages.
The ruling, which cannot be appealed and is to take effect on Oct. 28, held that a state law limiting marriage to heterosexual couples, and a civil union law intended to provide all the rights and privileges of marriage to same-sex couples, violated the constitutional guarantees of equal protection under the law.
The [4-3] ruling was groundbreaking in various respects. In addition to establishing Connecticut as the third state to sanction same-sex marriage, it was the first state high court ruling to hold that civil union statutes specifically violated the equal protection clause of a state constitution." Oct. 10, 2008, "Gay Marriage Is Ruled Legal in Connecticut," New York Times
Nov. 4, 2008
California voters approve a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage
"A measure to once again ban gay marriagein California was passed by voters in Tuesday's [Nov. 4, 2008] election, throwing into doubt the unions of an estimated 18,000 same-sex couples who wed during the last 4 1/2 months...
Proposition 8 was the most expensive proposition on any ballot in the nation this year, with more than $74 million spent by both sides.
The measure's most fervent proponents believed that nothing less than the future of traditional families was at stake, while opponents believed that they were fighting for the fundamental right of gay people to be treated equally under the law...
Eight years ago, Californians voted 61% to define marriage as being only between a man and a woman.
The California Supreme Court overturned that measure, Proposition 22, in its May 15 decision legalizing same-sex marriage on the grounds that the state Constitution required equal treatment of gay and lesbian couples..." Nov. 5, 2008, "California Voters Approve Proposition 8 Ban on Same-sex Marriages," Los Angeles Times
Nov. 4, 2008
Florida voters approve a constitutional ban on same-sex marriages
"A ban on gay marriage, which is already illegal in Florida, looks like it will be enshrined in the state Constitution...
The marriage protection amendment defines marriage as a bond between straight couples and renders invalid any other union that is 'treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent.'' Nov. 5, 2008, "Florida, California Voters Approve Gay-marriage Bans," Miami Herald
Nov. 4, 2008
Arizona voters approve a constitutional ban on same-sex marriages
"The second time around proved the charm, as Arizona voters approved a constitutional amendment that bans same-sex marriage.
Proposition 102 proposed a 20-word amendment to the state Constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman. It's an attempt to do what backers couldn't do in 2006: ensure that Arizona's existing law banning same-sex marriages will not be overturned by a judge..." Nov. 5, 2008, "Voters Approve Proposal to Ban Gay Marriage," AZCentral.com
IV. 2009 - Present
Apr. 3, 2009
Iowa Supreme Court overturns ban on gay marriage
"Same-sex couples will be allowed to marry in Iowa by month’s end, after a ruling on Friday [Apr. 3, 2009] by the Iowa Supreme Court that found unconstitutional a state law limiting marriage to a man and a woman.
The unanimous decision moved the heated battle over same-sex marriage beyond the East and West Coasts to the nation’s middle...
Opponents of same-sex marriage pledged to fight the outcome, but acknowledged that there appeared to be no immediate way to undo it. The only avenue would be a constitutional amendment, but under Iowa law that process would take at least two years...
Same-sex marriages could take place in counties here starting in three weeks, when the ruling becomes final... There is no requirement that people seeking marriage licenses prove they live in Iowa, so the doors will be open to same-sex couples from other states." Apr. 3, 2009, "Iowa Court Voids Gay Marriage Ban," New York Times
Vermont legislature legalizes same-sex marriages
"Vermont on Tuesday [Apr. 7, 2009] became the fourth state to legalize gay marriage - and the first to do so with a legislature's vote.
The House recorded a dramatic 100-49 vote - the minimum needed - to override Gov. Jim Douglas' veto. Its vote followed a much easier override vote in the Senate, which rebuffed the Republican governor with a vote of 23-5.
Vermont was the first state to legalize civil unions for same-sex couples and joins Connecticut, Massachusetts and Iowa in giving gays the right to marry. Their approval of gay marriage came from the courts." Apr. 7, 2009, "Vermont Legalizes Gay Marriage With Veto Override," Associated Press
May 6, 2009
Maine Governor signs bill legalizing same-sex marriages
"Maine's governor signed a freshly passed bill Wednesday approving gay marriage, making it the fifth state to approve the practice and moving New England closer to allowing it throughout the region...
The Maine Senate voted 21-13, with one absent, for a bill that authorizes marriage between any two people rather than between one man and one woman... The House had passed the bill Tuesday.
Democratic Gov. John Baldacci, who hadn't previously indicated how he would handle the bill, signed it shortly afterward. In the past, he said he opposed gay marriage but supported civil unions..." May 6, 2009, "Maine Becomes 5th State to Allow Same-Sex Marriage," Associated Press
May 26, 2009
California Supreme Court upholds Proposition 8's ban on same-sex marriages
"The California Supreme Court today upheld Proposition 8's ban on same-sex marriage but also ruled that gay couples who wed before the election will continue to be married under state law...
Although the court split 6-1 on the constitutionality of Proposition 8, the justices were unanimous in deciding to keep intact the marriages of as many as 18,000 gay couples who exchanged vows before the election. The marriages began last June, after a 4-3 state high court ruling striking down the marriage ban last May...
Even with the court upholding Proposition 8, a key portion of the court's May 15, 2008, decision remains intact. Sexual orientation will continue to receive the strongest constitutional protection possible when California courts consider cases of alleged discrimination. The California Supreme Court is the only state high court in the nation to have elevated sexual orientation to the status of race and gender in weighing discrimination claims." May 26, 2009, "Prop. 8 Upheld by California Supreme Court," Los Angeles Times Strauss v. Horton, Tyler v. State of California, and County of San Francisco v. Horton(483KB)
June 3, 2009
New Hampshire legalizes same-sex marriages
"The New Hampshire legislature approved revisions to a same-sex marriage bill on Wednesday [June 3, 2009], and Gov. John Lynch promptly signed the legislation, making the state the sixth to let gay couples wed.
The bill had been through several permutations to satisfy Mr. Lynch and certain legislators that it would not force religious organizations that oppose same-sex marriage to participate in ceremonies celebrating it. Some groups had feared they could be sued for refusing to allow same-sex weddings on their property.
Mr. Lynch, who previously supported civil unions but not marriage for same-sex couples, said in a statement that he had heard 'compelling arguments that a separate system is not an equal system.'
'Today,' he said, 'we are standing up for the liberties of same-sex couples by making clear that they will receive the same rights, responsibilities - and respect - under New Hampshire law." June 3, 2009, "New Hampshire Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage," New York Times
Nov. 5, 2009
Maine voters repeal state’s law allowing same-sex marriage
"With 87 percent of precincts reporting early Wednesday [Nov. 4, 2009] morning, 53 percent of voters had approved the repeal, ending an expensive and emotional fight that was closely watched around the country as a referendum on the gay-marriage movement. Polls had suggested a much closer race...
With the repeal of the same-sex marriage law, Maine became the 31st state to reject same-sex marriage at the ballot box. Five other states - Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire and Vermont - have legalized same-sex marriage, but only through court rulings and legislative action...
Throughout the bitter campaign, supporters of same-sex marriage had stressed that gay couples deserved equal treatment under the law, banking on Maine’s reputation as a 'live-and-let-live' state. Opponents repeatedly warned voters that if gays were allowed to marry, it would be taught in the public schools - a tactic that proved effective in California last year." Nov. 4, 2009, "A Setback in Maine for Gay Marriage, But Medical Marijuana Law Expands," New York Times
Aug. 4, 2010
US District Judge rules CA Proposition 8 unconstitutional
"A federal judge today struck down Proposition 8, the voter-passed November 2008 initiative that defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker found that the ban on same-sex marriage violated the constitutional due process and equal protection rights of a pair of couples - one lesbian and one gay - who sued.
The judge ordered an injunction against enforcement of Prop. 8 but issued a temporary stay until he decides whether to suspend his ruling while it is being appealed. The stay means that same-sex couples are still prohibited from marrying...
Walker's ruling [in Perry v. Schwarzenegger] is certain to be appealed to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. The case could reach the U.S. Supreme Court in 2011 or 2012." Aug. 4, 2010, "Judge Strikes Down Ban on Same-sex Marriage," San Francisco Chronicle Perry v. Schwarzenegger (342 KB)
Feb. 23, 2011
US President Barack Obama declares Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, directs Department of Justice to stop defending the law in court
"President Obama, in a major legal policy shift, has directed the Justice Department to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act — the 1996 law that bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages — against lawsuits challenging it as unconstitutional.
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. sent a letter to Congress on Wednesday saying that the Justice Department will now take the position in court that the Defense of Marriage Act should be struck down as a violation of gay couples’ rights to equal protection under the law.
'The President and I have concluded that classifications based on sexual orientation warrant heightened scrutiny and that, as applied to same-sex couples legally married under state law,' a crucial provision of the act is unconstitutional, Mr. Holder wrote." Feb. 23, 2011, "Obama Orders End to Defense of Federal Gay Marriage Law," New York Times
June 24, 2011
New York legalizes same-sex marriage
"The number of Americans living in states covered by same-sex marriage laws has more than doubled after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law that gave gay and lesbian couples the right to marry. Cuomo signed the measure after it passed a Republican-controlled Senate on Friday night [June 24, 2011], raising questions as to whether the move reflects new momentum in the gay rights movement.
Cuomo said the law will grant same-sex couples equal rights to marry 'as well as hundreds of rights, benefits and protections that are currently limited to married couples of the opposite sex.' A few of those are the right of inheritance, employer health benefits and a host of state tax benefits. That will not include Social Security benefits through a spouse, because that is a federal benefit.
The controversial law passed by a narrow 33-to-29 vote - a first for a GOP-led state Senate - making New York the sixth state in the union to legalize same-sex marriage." June 25, 2011, "Number of Americans in Same-sex Marriage States More Than Doubles," CNN
July 19, 2011
President Barack Obama supports Dianne Feinstein's bill to repeal Defense of Marriage Act
"The Obama administration announced Tuesday that it will support a congressional effort to repeal a federal law that defines marriage as a legal union between a man and woman.
White House spokesman Jay Carney denounced the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), saying the administration will back a bill introduced this year by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) to remove the law from the books.
Feinstein's bill, called the Respect for Marriage Act, would 'uphold the principle that the federal government should not deny gay and lesbian couples' the same rights as others, according to Carney." July 19, 2011, "Obama Backs Bill to Repeal Defense of Marriage Act," Washington Post
Feb. 7, 2012
US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rules CA Proposition 8 unconstitutional
"A federal appeals court Tuesday struck down California's ban on same-sex marriage, clearing the way for the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on gay marriage as early as next year.
The 2-1 decision by a panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found that Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure that limited marriage to one man and one woman, violated the U.S. Constitution. The architects of Prop. 8 have vowed to appeal. The ruling was narrow and likely to be limited to California...
In a separate decision, the appeals court refused [3-0] to invalidate Walker’s ruling on the grounds that he should have disclosed he was in a long term same-sex relationship. Walker, a Republican appointee who is openly gay, said after his ruling that he had been in a relationship with another man for 10 years." Feb. 7, 2012, "Prop. 8: Gay-marriage Ban Unconstitutional, Court Rules,"Los Angeles Times
Feb. 13, 2012
Washington legalizes same-sex marriage
"Washington state became the seventh in the nation to put a law on its books recognizing same-sex marriage on Monday, as opponents of the measure signed by Governor Christine Gregoire vowed to try to prevent it from ever taking effect.
The measure, which won final approval from state lawmakers last Wednesday, remains essentially on hold until at least early June, following a standard enactment period that runs until 90 days after Washington's legislative session ends." Feb. 13, 2012, "Washington Governor Signs Gay Marriage Law," Reuters
Mar. 1, 2012
Maryland legalizes same-sex marriage
"Maryland's governor signed a measure legalizing gay marriage Thursday, joining seven other states.
Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, signed the bill a week after its final passage in the Legislature. The law is scheduled to take effect in January 2013. However, opponents - backed by many churches - are expected to petition the law to a referendum on the November ballot." Mar. 1, 2012, "Md. Governor Signs Bill Legalizing Gay Marriage," Associated Press
May 9, 2012
President Obama endorses same-sex marriage
"President Obama announced Wednesday that he believes same-sex couples should be granted the right to marry, becoming the first U.S. president in history to fully embrace that level of civil rights for gays.
Obama’s announcement gave an immediate jolt to the decades-long movement for gay equality at a moment when a growing number of states are moving to ban — or legalize — same-sex unions and as polls show a majority of Americans support marriage rights." May 9, 2012, "Obama Endorses Gay Marriage, Says Same-Sex Couples Should Have Right to Wed," Washington Post
June 7, 2012
Denmark legalizes same-sex marriage
"Denmark has become the latest country to approve same-sex marriage.
The law was passed with an overwhelming majority in parliament, and also covers weddings in the Church of Denmark.
Denmark was the first country in the world to recognise civil partnerships for same-sex couples in 1989...
'This is equality between couples of the same gender and couples of different genders. A major step forward,' Danish Minister for Ecclesiastical Affairs Manu Sareen said after the vote." June 7, 2012, "Denmark Approves Same-Sex Marriage and Church Weddings," British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) News
Nov. 6, 2012
Maine, Maryland and Washington become first states to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote
"Voters in Maine and Maryland approved same-sex marriage on a day of election results that jubilant gay rights advocates called a historic turning point, the first time that marriage for gay men and lesbians has been approved at the ballot box.
In Minnesota, in another first, voters rejected a proposal to amend the State Constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman, a measure that has been enshrined in the constitutions of 30 states. A state law barring same-sex marriage remains on the books there, but with the defeat of the amendment, the door remains open to change by the legislature or the courts." Nov. 7, 2012, "Same-Sex Marriage Gains Cheer Gay Rights Advocates," New York Times
"Washington state has approved gay marriage, joining Maine and Maryland as the first states to pass same-sex marriage by popular vote.
With about three-quarters of the expected ballots counted Thursday, Referendum 74 was maintaining its lead of 52 percent. Opponents conceded the race Thursday, while supporters declared victory a day earlier...
Gay couples in Washington could start picking up their marriage certificates and licenses from county auditor offices Dec. 6, a day after the election is certified. However, because Washington has a three-day waiting period, the earliest a certificate could be signed, making the marriage valid, is Dec. 9."
US Supreme Court agrees to hear two same-sex marriage cases
"The Supreme Court announced on Friday that it would enter the national debate over same-sex marriage, agreeing to hear a pair of cases challenging state and federal laws that define marriage to include only unions of a man and a woman.
One of the cases, from California [the Proposition 8 case], could establish or reject a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Another case, from New York, challenges a federal law [the Defense of Marriage Act] that requires the federal government to deny benefits to gay and lesbian couples married in states that allow such unions."
US military extends some marriage benefits to same-sex partners
"The Pentagon announced Monday that it would extend 20 new benefits to same-sex military couples, including access to base facilities and groups as well as joint assignments, the latest move by the Obama administration to heed calls from gay and lesbians pressing for change.
Activists hailed the move as a meaningful step toward full equality, which they say will remain elusive unless a 1996 federal law [the Defense of Marriage Act] that defines marriage as a heterosexual union is repealed. The new benefits do not include health care coverage for same-sex spouses or on-base housing privileges."
Feb. 11, 2013, "Same-sex Military Couples to Receive New Benefits, Pentagon Says," Washington Post
Apr. 19, 2013
New Zealand legalizes same-sex marriage
"The Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill passed its third and final reading by 77 votes to 44 on Wednesday night.
The vote made New Zealand the first country in the Asia-Pacific region and the 13th in the world to enshrine marriage equality in law.
The Governor-General gave Royal Assent to the legislation on Friday.
There is a four month wait written into the Act so the Department of Internal Affairs can make the necessary changes to forms, certificates and computer systems.
This means the first date that same-sex couples will be able to marry will be 19 August."
Apr. 21, 2013, "Marriage Legislation Becomes Law," Radio New Zealand
May 2, 2013
Rhode Island becomes 10th US state to legalize same-sex marriage
"Overcoming years of resistance, Rhode Island on Thursday became the 10th state in the country and the last in New England to approve same-sex marriage.
The measure passed a final vote in the legislature in the afternoon. Just before 7 p.m., Gov. Lincoln Chafee, an independent who had long advocated for its passage, signed it into law in a jubilant ceremony on the steps of the Statehouse in Providence, where hundreds of people, including many state and local officials, joined the celebration...
Approval in Rhode Island followed a 16-year struggle in the heavily Roman Catholic state, with intense opposition from clerics and many Republicans. But in a sign of the changing times, all five Republicans in the 38-member State Senate supported the measure — the only time in any state where the entire caucus of either party has approved such a measure unanimously — making Rhode Island the latest indication of growing acceptance of same-sex marriage across the country."
May 2, 2013, "Rhode Island Joins States That Allow Gay Marriage," New York Times
May 3, 2013
Uruguay legalizes same-sex marriage
"Uruguayan President José Mujica last week signed a bill into law that will extend marriage rights to same-sex couples in the South American country.
The newspaper El País reported on Monday that Mujica and Education and Culture Minister Ricardo Ehrlich signed the measure on May 3. It received final approval last month in the Uruguay House of Representatives."
May 7, 2013, "Uruguayan President Signs Marriage Bill into Law," Washington Blade
May 7, 2013
Delaware becomes 11th US state to legalize same-sex marriage
"A divided state Senate voted Tuesday to make Delaware the 11th state in the nation to allow same-sex marriage, after hearing hours of passionate testimony from supporters and opponents.
Less than an hour after the Senate’s 12-9 vote, Democratic Gov. Jack Markell signed the measure into law.
'I do not intend to make any of you wait one moment longer,' a smiling Markell told about 200 jubilant supporters who erupted in cheers and applause following the Senate vote...
Delaware’s same-sex marriage bill was introduced in the Democrat-controlled legislature barely a year after the state began recognizing same-sex civil unions. The bill won passage two weeks ago in the state House on a 23-18 vote."
May 7, 2013, "Delaware Becomes 11th State Allowing Same-Sex Marriage After State Senate Vote," Washington Post
May 14, 2013
Minnesota becomes 12th US state to legalize same-sex marriage
"Governor Mark Dayton on Tuesday made Minnesota the nation's 12th state to allow same-sex couples to marry and only the second in the Midwest, signing a bill on the steps of the state Capitol before thousands of supporters.
The Democratic governor's signature came a day after state senators approved the bill, which made Minnesota the third state this month to approve same-sex nuptials after Rhode Island and Delaware.
The Minnesota law takes effect on August 1 and Minneapolis, the state's biggest city, said on Tuesday that City Hall would open just after midnight on the first day same-sex couples can marry and Mayor R.T. Rybak will be on hand to officiate that night...
Iowa is the only other Midwestern state that permits same-sex couples to marry, by a state Supreme Court order in 2009."
May 14, 2013, "Minnesota Governor Signs Bill Legalizing Gay Marriage," Reuters
May 18, 2013
France legalizes same-sex marriage
"France's president has signed into law a controversial bill making the country the ninth in Europe, and 14th globally, to legalise gay marriage.
On Friday, the Constitutional Council rejected a challenge by the right-wing opposition, clearing the way for Francois Hollande to sign the bill...
The first gay wedding could be held 10 days after the bill's signing...
Scores of protesters took to the streets of Paris to voice their opposition to the ruling on Friday: previous, occasionally violent, demonstrations against the bill have drawn hundreds of thousands onto the streets."
May 18, 2013, "France Gay Marriage: Hollande Signs Bill into Law," BBC