Timeline of same-sex marriage in the United States

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Legal status of same-sex unions
Marriage
Performed
Recognized
  1. Performed in 12 states and Mexico City, and recognized by all states in such cases
  2. Performed in the Netherlands proper, and partially recognized by Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten in such cases
  3. Neither performed nor recognized in Niue, Tokelau or the Cook Islands
  4. Neither performed nor recognized in Northern Ireland, the dependency of Sark or the Caribbean territories
  5. Neither performed nor recognized in American Samoa or many tribal jurisdictions
  6. Limited to residency rights for foreign spouses of citizens (EU) or legal residents (China)
  7. Registration open in all counties except Hualien, Penghu, Taitung and Yunlin

* Not yet in effect, but automatic deadline set by judicial body for same-sex marriage to become legal

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This page contains a timeline of significant events regarding same-sex marriage in the United States. On June 26, 2015, the landmark US Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges effectively ended restrictions on same-sex marriage in the United States.

1950s[edit]

1953[edit]

  • August: Shipment of the August 1953 issue of ONE magazine, with the cover story "Homosexual Marriage?", is delayed by U.S Post Office officials for three weeks while they try to determine whether its contents are obscene.[1]

1958[edit]

  • January 13, 1958: In One, Inc. v. Olesen, the United States Supreme Court rules that homosexual writings cannot be banned from mailing under the guise of obscenity.

1960s[edit]

1964[edit]

  • A woman in Jess Stearn's popular non-fiction work The Grapevine: A Report on the Secret World of the Lesbian explains that she congratulated two men on their wedding because "Having no status in the law of the land...the homosexual marriage must be maintained only through mutual love and devotion of those involved."[2]

1966[edit]

1967[edit]

  • December 3: Theologians who object to acceptance of homosexual relationships are reported to be "dubious about how 'fulfilling' even a lasting homosexual relationship can be and point out that a homosexual 'marriage' lacks the discipline and formal commitment of legal sanctions".[4]

1968[edit]

  • December 22: A report in the New York Times says the plot of Spitting Image, a play scheduled for Off Broadway in February, involves "a pair of homosexuals who marry and have a baby". It calls the premise "farcical" and an "outrageous charade".[5]

1970s[edit]

History of same-sex marriage legal status, 1971-2015, with influential legal decisions. Plot shows proportion of US states and the District of Columbia with: historical/traditional definition of marriage (gray); legislation enacted to ban same-sex marriage (blue); constitutional bans on same-sex marriage (yellow, includes states that also have legislative ban); statewide legal same-sex marriage.Red bar shows period in which DOMA prohibited federal recognition of same-sex marriages.[6]

1970[edit]

1971[edit]

  • January 26: Look magazine devotes three pages of its cover story "The American Family" to a gay couple, Jack Baker and Michael McConnell.[8]
  • June 4: Members of the Gay Activists Alliance demand marriage rights for same-sex couples at New York City's Marriage License Bureau.[9][10]
  • October 15: The Minnesota Supreme Court rules in Baker v. Nelson that the state's statute limiting marriage to different-sex couples does not violate the U.S. Constitution.[11]

1972[edit]

  • The National Coalition of Gay Organizations calls for the repeal of all statutes that limit marriage to different-sex couples and for extending the legal benefits of marriage to all cohabiting couples.[12]
  • March 21: Senator Birch Bayh of Indiana, principal sponsor of the Equal Rights Amendment, defends it against critics who contend it would require states to permit same-sex marriages: "All it says is that if a state legislature makes a judgment that it is wrong for a man to marry a man, then it must say that it is wrong for a woman to marry a woman".[13]
  • October 10: The United States Supreme Court dismisses appeal in Baker v. Nelson, a decision that refused to invalidate Minnesota's restriction of marriage to different-sex couples, "for want of a substantial federal question."[14]

1973[edit]

  • January: The Yale Law Journal publishes an unsigned article, "The Legality of Homosexual Marriage", which argues that "[a] credible case can be made that the denial of marriage licenses to all homosexual couples violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment" and that the proposed Equal Rights Amendment would make such a claim irrefutable.[15]
  • July 1: Maryland bans same-sex marriage, the first state to enact such a statute.[16]
  • November 9: The Kentucky Court of Appeals rules in Jones v. Hallahan that two women were properly denied a marriage license based on dictionary definitions of marriage, despite the fact that state statutes do not restrict marriage to a female-male couple.[17]

1974[edit]

1975[edit]

  • March 26 – April 22: In Colorado, the Boulder County Clerk, Clela Rorex, issues marriage licenses to 6 same-sex couples after receiving a favorable opinion from an assistant district attorney.[21][22]
  • Virginia enacts a statute that says "A marriage between persons of the same sex is prohibited."[23]

1977[edit]

  • June 8: Governor Reubin Askew signs legislation banning same-sex marriage in Florida.[24]
  • August 18: Governor Jerry Brown signs legislation banning same-sex marriage in California.[25]
  • Wyoming bans same-sex marriage by statute.[26]

1980s[edit]

1980[edit]

1982[edit]

  • February 25: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, deciding Adams v. Howerton, holds that for immigration purposes Congress intended its use of the words marriage and spouse to have their "ordinary meaning" which "contemplates a relationship between a man and a woman".[28]

1984[edit]

1987[edit]

  • New Hampshire bans same-sex marriage by statute.[26][31]

1989[edit]

1990s[edit]

1991[edit]

  • October: Fox Broadcasting Company airs the first same-sex wedding on national television in the episode "Can't Help Loving That Man" of its sitcom Roc.[33]

1993[edit]

  • May 5: The Supreme Court of Hawaii sends the case of Baehr v. Miike to a trial court to determine if the state statute limiting marriage to different-sex couples is unconstitutional because it either is not justified by compelling state interests or is not narrowly drawn to avoid unnecessary abridgements of rights under the Hawaii Constitution.[34]
  • The Conference of Bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America write in a pastoral letter that they find no scriptural basis for blessing same-sex unions.[35]
  • December: In A Place at the Table, Bruce Bawer argues for the legal and religious recognition of same-sex relationships as marriages, arguing for what he calls the "silent majority" of non-radicals like himself and criticizing the gay community's identification of homosexuality with sexual behavior.[36]

1995[edit]

1996[edit]

  • September 21: President Bill Clinton signs into law the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), denying federal recognition of same-sex marriages.[38]
  • December 3: A Hawaii trial court holds that no compelling interests support Hawaii's statute limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples. The decision is stayed pending review by the Supreme Court of Hawaii.[39][40]
  • The Unitarian Universalist Association adopts a resolution calling for full marriage equality for same-sex couples[30]
  • At its General Convention, the United Methodist Church, which in 1972 said that "the practice of homosexuality [is] incompatible with Christian teaching", votes 553 to 321 to adopt a rule that "Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches."[41]

1997[edit]

  • June 3: Minnesota bans same-sex marriage by statute and prohibits the recognition of same-sex marriages legalized elsewhere.[42]
  • November 2: The Union of American Hebrew Congregations calls for legislation to allow gays and lesbians access to civil marriage and supports efforts to consider a religious ceremony to celebrate such marriages.[43]

1998[edit]

  • February 27: In Brause v. Bureau of Vital Statistics, an Alaska court orders the state to show it has a compelling reason for prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying.[44]
  • November 3: Hawaii voters pass a constitutional amendment to give the Hawaii State Legislature the power to reserve marriage to different-sex couples.[45]
  • November 3: Voters in Alaska approve a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.[46]

1999[edit]

2000s[edit]

2000[edit]

  • March 7: California voters approve Proposition 22, adding the statement "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California" to the state's statutes.[49]
  • July 1: Vermont institutes the first civil unions in the United States, in response to the decision in Baker v. Vermont.
  • November 7: Voters in Nebraska approve a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.[50]

2002[edit]

  • May 15: Rep. Ronnie Shows (D-MS) introduces the Federal Marriage Amendment, a law to amend the U.S. Constitution to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman and to prevent the extension of the rights of marriage to unmarried persons.[51]
  • November 5: Voters in Nevada approve a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.[52]

2003[edit]

2004[edit]

  • February 4: The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, responding to a query from the state Senate, issues an opinion that same-sex couples must be allowed to marry and that a designation like civil union constitutes discrimination.[54]
  • February 12 – March 11: San Francisco issues marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
  • February 20: A clerk in Sandoval County, New Mexico, issues licenses to same-sex couples until state Attorney General Patricia Madrid issues an opinion stating that the licenses are "invalid under state law".[55]
  • February 25: President George W. Bush calls for a constitutional amendment "defining and protecting marriage as a union of a man and woman as husband and wife."[56]
  • February 27: Several same-sex couples are wed in New Paltz, New York. The marriages are later invalidated.[57]
  • March 5–9: A clerk in Asbury Park, New Jersey, processes several marriage licenses for same-sex couples until warned by the state attorney general to stop. A deputy mayor officiates at the marriage of one couple on March 8.[58][59]
  • March 3: Multnomah County, Oregon, issues marriage licenses to same-sex couples.[60]
  • April 20: An Oregon state judge orders Multnomah County to stop issuing same-sex marriage licenses, declares the 3,000 issued since March 3 valid, and orders the state legislature to create an equivalent of marriage for same-sex couples.[61]
  • May 17: Same-sex marriage starts in Massachusetts.[62]
  • August 3: Voters in Missouri approve a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.[63]
  • August 12: The California Supreme Court rules that the same-sex marriages performed in San Francisco in February and March are void.[64]
  • September 18: Voters in Louisiana approve a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.[65]
  • November 2: Voters in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Utah approve state constitutional amendments defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.[66]

2005[edit]

  • January 20: An Indiana appeals court upholds the constitutionality of the state's statute defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.[67] The plaintiffs do not appeal to the state supreme court.[68]
  • April 5: Kansas voters approve a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.[69]
  • April 14: Oregon's highest court rules in Li & Kennedy v. State of Oregon that the 3,000 same-sex marriages performed in the state in March and April 2004 were never valid.[70]
  • May 12: U.S. District Judge Joseph F. Bataillon rules in Citizens for Equal Protection v. Bruning that a constitutional amendment to the Nebraska Constitution that denies recognition of same-sex couples under any designation violates the U.S. Constitution.[71] (His decision is overruled in 2006 by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.)[72]
  • July 4: At the 25th General Synod of the United Church of Christ in Atlanta, Georgia, delegates voted to adopt the resolution, "Equal Marriage Rights for All," affirming homosexuality as compatible with Christian living and allowing for same-sex marriage ceremonies to be performed in UCC congregations. The United Church of Christ became the first major Mainline Christian body and major Christian denomination in the United States to do so.[73]
  • September 29: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoes legislation establishing same-sex marriage.[74]
  • November 8: Voters in Texas approve a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.[75]

2006[edit]

2007[edit]

  • September 18: Maryland's highest court decides Conaway v. Deane, rejecting a challenge to the state's prohibition on same-sex marriage.[83]
  • October 12: California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoes same-sex marriage legislation for the second time.[84]

2008[edit]

  • May 14: New York Governor David Paterson orders state agencies to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions.[85]
  • May 15: The Supreme Court of California decides In re Marriage Cases and overturns the state's ban on same-sex marriage.[86]
  • June 17: In California, county clerks begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.[87]
  • July 31: Massachusetts repeals its 1913 law invalidating any marriage of non-residents if the marriage is invalid in the state where they live.[88]
  • August 25: The Democratic National Convention adopts a platform that "oppose[s]the Defense of Marriage Act and all attempts to use this issue to divide us" and suggests support for same-sex marriage.[89]
  • September 1: The Republican National Convention adopts a platform that "laments that judges are ... undermining traditional marriage laws", endorses the Federal Marriage Amendment and state initiatives that support "traditional marriage", and references "the right of states not to recognize same-sex 'marriages'".[90]
  • October 10: The Supreme Court of Connecticut, in Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health, rules that the state's prohibition of same-sex marriage violates the state constitution.[91]
  • November 4: Voters in Arizona, California, and Florida approve state constitutional amendments defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.[92]
  • November 5: Proposition 8 takes effect in California, preventing the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses.
  • November 12: Same-sex marriage starts in Connecticut.[93]

2009[edit]

  • April 3: The Iowa Supreme Court, ruling in Varnum v. Brien, holds that the state's restriction of marriage to different-sex couples violates the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution.[94]
  • April 7: The Vermont General Assembly overrides the governor's April 6 veto of same-sex marriage legislation, making it the first state to institute same-sex marriage by statute.[95]
  • April 23: Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell signs legislation converting existing civil unions into marriages effective October 1, 2010.[96]
  • April 27: Same-sex marriage starts in Iowa.[97]
  • May 6: Maine Governor John Baldacci signs the marriage equality law, the first governor in the U.S. to sign such legislation.[98]
  • May 26: The California Supreme Court, ruling in Strauss v. Horton, upholds Proposition 8's ban on same-sex marriage and holds that same-sex marriages performed before its passage remain valid.[99]
  • June 3: New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch signs legislation legalizing same-sex marriage.[100]
  • July 17: The General Convention of the Episcopal Church approves a resolution calling for the development of a rite for blessing same-sex unions and allowing bishops where unions are legal to use their own judgment in blessing such unions until the rite becomes available.[101][102]
  • August 21: The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America votes by a 559-441 margin to allow non-celibate gay and lesbian pastors in committed, monogamous relationships to be ordained to pastoral office. It also allows, but not requires, for ELCA pastors to perform blessings on same-sex weddings.[103] It becomes the second Mainline denomination to do so.
  • September 1: Vermont's statute authorizing same-sex marriages takes effect.[104]
  • September 15: A group of Democratic members of the House of Representatives led by Jerrold Nadler, Tammy Baldwin, and Jared Polis introduce the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.[105]
  • October 2: A Texas judge rules the state's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional while presiding over the divorce proceedings for two gay Texans married in Massachusetts.[106]
  • October 11: California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signs legislation establishing the recognition of same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.[107]
  • November 3: A voter referendum repeals Maine's same-sex marriage law, preventing it from going into effect.[108][109]
  • December 18: District of Columbia Mayor Adrian Fenty signs same-sex marriage legislation.[110]
  • The husband of Representative Jared Polis, a Colorado Democrat, acquires a Congressional spouse ID, though he is later told he should have been issued a "designee ID", the style given to unmarried partners of members of Congress.[111]

2010s[edit]

2010[edit]

2011[edit]

  • February 23: The Obama Administration announces its determination that discrimination based on sexual orientation is subject to heightened scrutiny and when judged by that standard section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional. It will continue to enforce DOMA's provisions, will no longer defend challenges to the constitutionality of section 3 of DOMA in court, and will cooperate if Congress seeks to defend the statute in court.[121]
  • March 4: Speaker of the House John Boehner launches effort to defend DOMA's constitutionality in court by convening the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), tasked with "initiating action by the House to defend this law."[122]
  • June 24: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signs the state's Marriage Equality Act into law.[123]
  • July 24: New York's statute authorizing same-sex marriages takes effect.[124]
  • August 1: Washington state's Native American Suquamish tribe approves granting same-sex marriages.[125]
  • September 20: Navy Lt. Gary C. Ross becomes the first active member of the U.S. military to legally marry a same-sex partner moments after the repeal of the military's "don't ask don't tell" policy takes effect.[126]

2012[edit]

2013[edit]

  • January 1: Maryland's statute authorizing same-sex marriages takes effect.[163]
  • April 26: U.S. Judge Harry Pregerson issues an administrative ruling as Chair of the Federal Public Defenders Standing Committee that Oregon's ban on same-sex marriage and DOMA Section 3 deny equal protection to the wife of a female federal employee.[164]
  • April 26: The husband of U.S. Representative Mark Pocan, a Wisconsin Democrat, becomes the first same-sex spouse to obtain a congressional spouse identification card.[165] The validity of a similar one given to the spouse of Representative Jared Polis in 2009 was later called a mistake.[166]
  • May 2: Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee signs same-sex marriage legislation into law, effective August 1.[167]
  • May 7: Delaware Governor Jack Markell signs same-sex marriage legislation into law, effective July 1.[168]
  • May 14: Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signs same-sex marriage legislation into law, effective August 1.[169]
  • June 26: The Supreme Court issues a 5–4 decision in United States v. Windsor, ruling Section 3 of DOMA unconstitutional "as a deprivation of the equal liberty ... protected by the Fifth Amendment."[170]
  • June 26: The Supreme Court issues a 5–4 decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry, dismissing the appeal of the district court's decision on August 4, 2010, when the case was known as Perry v. Schwarzenegger, that affirmed the right of same-sex couples to marry in California.[171]
  • June 28: Following the Supreme Court's decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lifts its stay of a lower court order that prohibited enforcement of the California Constitution's ban on same-sex marriages.[172] Same-sex marriages resume in California, after being banned since November 5, 2008.[173]
  • June 28: U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services approves a permanent resident visa (green card) for a same-sex couple for the first time.[174]
  • June 28: The Office of Personnel Management invites the same-sex spouses of civilian federal employees and retirees to enroll in their spouses' health, life insurance, and other benefit programs.[175]
  • July 1: Delaware's statute authorizing same-sex marriages takes effect.[176]
  • July 1: Minnesota recognizes the validity of same-sex marriage from other jurisdictions, though it does not yet authorize its own same-sex marriages.[177]
  • July 24: Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, begins issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, in violation of state law.[178]
  • August 1: Rhode Island's statute authorizing same-sex marriages takes effect.[179]
  • August 1: Minnesota's statute authorizing same-sex marriages takes effect.[180]
  • August 11: John Berry, U.S. Ambassador to Australia, becomes the first U.S. diplomat to marry a same-sex partner.[181]
  • August 21: The county clerk's office in Doña Ana County, New Mexico, begins issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.[182]
  • August 23: The county clerk's office in Santa Fe County, New Mexico, begins issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples after being ordered to do so by a state judge on August 22.[183]
  • August 27: The county clerk's office in Bernalillo County, New Mexico, begins issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples after being ordered to do so by a state judge on August 26.[184]
  • August 27: The county clerks of San Miguel, Valencia, and Taos counties, New Mexico, announce they will begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.[185]
  • August 31: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg becomes the first member of that court to officiate at the marriage ceremony of a same-sex couple.[186]
  • September 3: The county clerk's office in Grant County, New Mexico, announces it will make same-sex marriage licenses available during the second week of September.[187]
  • September 4: The county clerk's office in Los Alamos County, New Mexico, begins issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples after a New Mexico district court rejects the clerk's arguments against doing so.[188]
  • September 12: A Pennsylvania state judge orders Montgomery County to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.[189]
  • September 27: A New Jersey state Superior Court judge rules that beginning October 21 the state must allow same-sex couples to marry because they are otherwise denied federal rights due them following the U.S. Supreme Court decision in United States v. Windsor .[190]
  • October 15: In North Carolina, the Buncombe County Register of Deeds accepts applications for same-sex marriage licenses from 10 couples, which he does not grant pending authorization from the state attorney general.[191]
  • October 16: Based on an opinion from the Oregon Department of Justice, Oregon begins recognizing same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions.[192]
  • October 21: After the New Jersey Supreme Court on October 18 unanimously refused to stay a lower court's order pending appeal,[193] same-sex marriages begin and Governor Chris Christie drops the state's appeal of the lower court's ruling.[194]
  • November 13: Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie signs same-sex marriage legislation into law, effective December 2.[195]
  • November 14: Missouri Governor Jay Nixon announces an executive order to allow same-sex couples married in other jurisdictions to file joint state income taxes if they file joint federal returns.[196]
  • November 20: Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signs same-sex marriage legislation into law, effective June 1, 2014.[197]
  • December 2: Hawaii's statute authorizing same-sex marriages takes effect.[198]
  • December 19: The New Mexico Supreme Court issues a unanimous decision in Griego v. Oliver that holds that same-sex couples enjoy the same marriage rights as different-sex couples.[199]
  • December 20: Judge Robert Shelby of the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah rules in Kitchen v. Herbert that the Utah state constitution's ban on same-sex marriage denies same-sex couples equal protection and due process. The first Utah marriage licenses are issued to same-sex couples.[200]

2014[edit]

  • January 6: The U.S. Supreme Court stays the District Court's order of December 20, 2013, in Kitchen v. Herbert, halting same-sex marriages in Utah while the decision is appealed.[201]
  • January 10: U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announces that the federal government recognizes the marriages of same-sex couples who married in Utah between December 20, 2013, and January 6, 2014. Their number is estimated at 1,360.[202]
  • January 14: U.S. District Court Judge Terence C. Kern rules in Bishop v. Oklahoma that Oklahoma's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. He stays enforcement of his decision based on the Supreme Court's action in Kitchen v. Herbert on January 6.[203]
  • February 8: Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Saturday, announced a new Department of Justice policy at the Waldorf Astoria in New York for the Human Rights Campaign's greater New York gala. In the speech he announces that all federal government lawyers are to give same-sex marriages, "full and equal recognition, to the greatest extent possible under the law." [204]
  • February 12: U.S. District Court Judge John G. Heyburn rules that Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions.[205] He stays his decision on March 19.
  • February 13: U.S. District Court Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen rules in Bostic v. Rainey that Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and stays enforcement of her decision pending appeal.[206]
  • February 21: In Lee v. Orr, U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman rules that Cook County can issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples without waiting for the Illinois statute legalizing same-sex marriage to take effect on June 1.[207] Some licenses are issued the same day.[208]
  • February 26: In De Leon v. Perry, U.S. District Court Judge Orlando Garcia rules that Texas' ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and stays enforcement of his ruling pending appeal to the Fifth Circuit.[209][210]
  • March 5: An ABC News/Washington Post poll finds 59% of Americans support same-sex marriage, a record high.[211]
  • March 14: U.S. District Court Judge Aleta Trauger rules in Tanco v. Haslam that the state of Tennessee must recognize the plaintiffs' three same-sex marriages as their case is heard in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee.[212] This decision is stayed on April 26 by the Sixth Circuit.
  • March 21: In DeBoer v. Snyder, U.S. District Court Judge Bernard A. Friedman rules that Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and does not stay his decision.[213]
  • March 22: In Michigan, several hundred same-sex couples obtain marriage licenses and some marry before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issues a temporary stay of the decision in DeBoer v. Snyder,[214] which it makes permanent pending appeal on March 25.[215]
  • March 24: The U.S. division of World Vision, one of the largest Christian charities in the U.S., modifies its employment eligibility rules to include gays and lesbians in same-sex marriages, while "[a]bstinence outside of marriage remains a rule".[216] It reverses that policy on March 26 in response to protests from its donors.[217]
  • April 10: U.S. District Court Judge Richard L. Young, in the case of Baskin v. Bogan, orders the state of Indiana to recognize the same-sex marriage of a terminally ill woman.[218]
  • April 14: U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Black rules in Henry v. Himes that Ohio must recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions.[219] On April 16 he stays his ruling pending appeal, except for the birth certificates sought by the plaintiffs for their children.[220]
  • May 9: Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza strikes down Arkansas's ban on same-sex marriage.[221] The ruling is stayed on May 16 by the Arkansas Supreme Court.
  • May 10: Kristin Seaton & Jennifer Rambon of Eureka Springs, Arkansas are the first same-sex couple to receive a marriage license in the overlapping Southern regions of Dixie and Bible Belt.[222]
  • May 13: U.S. District Magistrate Candy Dale strikes down Idaho's ban on same-sex marriage.[223] The ruling is stayed on May 15 by the Ninth Circuit.
  • May 19: U.S. District Court Judge Michael McShane strikes down Oregon's ban on same-sex marriage.[224]
  • May 20: U.S. District Court Judge John Jones strikes down Pennsylvania's ban on same-sex marriage.[225]
  • June 6: U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb strikes down Wisconsin's ban on same-sex marriage.[226] The decision is stayed on June 13.
  • June 19: The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church approves a resolution to allow ministers to preside over same-sex marriages in states where the unions are legal and local congregational leaders approve, reversing defeat of a similar measure in 2012.[227] In a separate vote, the assembly approves individual congregational authority to change the definition of marriage from "a man and a woman" to "a union of two people" in their constitution. The amendment requires approval from a majority of the 172 regional presbyteries.[228] They become the third Mainline denomination to do so.
  • June 25: U.S. District Court Judge Richard L. Young strikes down Indiana's ban on same-sex marriage. The decision is stayed two days later by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.[229]
  • June 25: Ruling 2–1 in Kitchen v. Herbert, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals strikes down Utah's same-sex marriage ban. It is the first appellate court decision to find that marriage is a fundamental right that applies to same-sex couples.[230] The decision is immediately stayed in anticipation of an appeal to the United States Supreme Court.
  • June 25: Boulder County, Colorado, begins issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, despite a stay of the previous day's ruling.[231]
  • July 1: U.S. District Court Judge John G. Heyburn expands his February 12 ruling, striking down Kentucky's same-sex marriage ban in its entirety. The decision is stayed immediately.[232]
  • July 1: The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals orders the state of Indiana to recognize the same-sex marriage of a terminally ill woman.[233]
  • July 9: Judge C. Scott Crabtree of Colorado's 17th Judicial District Court strikes down Colorado's same-sex marriage ban. He stays enforcement of his ruling pending appeal.
  • July 10: Denver County, Colorado begins issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples after a state judge rules that the Boulder County clerk is under no obligation to stop issuing such licenses despite the state's ban on gay marriage.
  • July 11: Pueblo County, Colorado, begins issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
  • July 16: In a unanimous decision, the Connecticut Supreme Court rules that same-sex couples are entitled to some of the legal rights of marriage with respect to events that predate the state's establishment of same-sex civil unions in 2005 and same-sex marriage in 2008.[234]
  • July 17: Florida Circuit Judge Luis M. Garcia, ruling in Huntsman v. Heavilin, strikes down the state's ban on same-sex marriage with respect to Monroe County. It is stayed the same day when the state files an appeal.[235]
  • July 18: Ruling 2–1 in Bishop v. United States, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals strikes down Oklahoma's ban on same-sex marriage ban, repeating the arguments it made with respect to Utah on June 25.[236]
  • July 18: The Colorado Supreme Court orders the clerk of Denver County to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.[237]
  • July 18: The United States Supreme Court grants a stay of a lower court decision requiring the state of Utah to recognize the validity of same-sex marriages performed there between December 20, 2013, and January 6, 2014.[238]
  • July 21: Pueblo County, Colorado, stops issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.[239]
  • July 23: U.S. District Court Judge Raymond P. Moore strikes down Colorado's same-sex marriage ban. The decision is stayed on August 21.[240]
  • July 25: The Colorado Court of Appeals rules that Boulder County can continue issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.[241]
  • July 25: In Pareto v. Ruvin, Florida Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel strikes down the state's ban on same-sex marriage as applied to Miami-Dade County. She puts enforcement of her ruling on hold pending appeal.[242]
  • July 28: The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, ruling 2–1 in Bostic v. Schaefer, strikes down Virginia's same-sex marriage ban.[243]
  • July 29: The Colorado Supreme Court orders the Boulder County clerk to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.[244]
  • July 31: In a unanimous decision, the Wisconsin Supreme Court rules that a 2009 law allowing same-sex couples to apply for domestic partnerships does not violate the state's Marriage Protection Amendment.[245]
  • August 4: Florida Circuit Judge Dale Cohen strikes down the state's ban on same-sex marriage as applied to Broward County. He puts enforcement of his ruling on hold pending appeal.[246]
  • August 20: The United States Supreme Court stays enforcement of the Fourth Circuit's July 28 decision in Bostic pending appeal.[247]
  • August 21: U.S. District Court Judge Robert Lewis Hinkle rules in two cases that Florida's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and stays his decision pending appeal.[248]
  • September 3: U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman rules in Robicheaux v. Caldwell that Louisiana's ban on same-sex marriage serves its "legitimate interest ... in linking children to an intact family formed by their two biological parents". It is the first federal court decision find a state's denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples constitutional since the Supreme Court ruling in Windsor in June 2013.[249]
  • September 4: The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, in a unanimous opinion authored by Judge Richard Posner, upholds the district court decisions in Baskin v. Bogan and Wolf v. Walker that found Indiana's and Wisconsin's denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples unconstitutional.[250] It stays its decision on September 15.[251]
  • September 12: U.S. District Court Judge John Sedwick orders Arizona to recognize one same-sex marriage on a death certificate while he considers a lawsuit challenging Arizona's ban on same-sex marriage.[252]
  • September 22: State Judge Edward D. Rubin rules that Louisiana's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.[253]
  • October 3: State Judge J. Dale Youngs rules that Missouri must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions.[254] The state announces it will not appeal on October 6.[255]
  • October 6: The U.S. Supreme Court declines to take action on all the cases it had been asked to consider from appellate courts in the Fourth, Seventh, and Tenth Circuits, allowing the circuit court decisions striking down marriage bans in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin to stand.[256] Stays preventing the legalization of same-sex marriage in Indiana and Wisconsin end automatically with the Supreme Court's action.[257][258]
  • October 6: The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals lifts stays in two cases, ordering Oklahoma and Utah to issue same-sex marriage licenses. The Fourth Circuit does the same for Virginia.[259]
  • October 7: Same-sex marriage begins in Colorado after Attorney General John Suthers orders all counties in the state to issue same-sex marriage licenses.[260]
  • October 7: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals strikes down same-sex marriage bans in Idaho in Latta v. Otter and Nevada in Sevcik v. Sandoval .[261] Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy suspends implementation of the decision in Idaho the next day.[262]
  • October 9: Nevada recognizes same-sex marriage following a court order resulting from the Ninth Circuit's ruling in Sevcik on October 7.[263] Following the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal to consider Bostic on October 6, West Virginia recognizes same-sex marriage when state officials concede their ban is unconstitutional based on Fourth Circuit's ruling in that case.[264]
  • October 10: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy denies a motion to stay sought by Idaho officials who hoped to prevent implementation of the Ninth Circuit's October 7 ruling in Latta.[265]
  • October 10: U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr., ruling in General Synod of the United Church of Christ v. Cooper, strikes down North Carolina's ban on same-sex marriage.[266]
  • October 12: U.S. District Judge Timothy Burgess rules in Hamby v. Parnell that Alaska's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, immediately legalizing same-sex marriage there.[267]
  • October 15: Same-sex marriage becomes legal in Idaho with the lifting of the stay in Latta v. Otter.[268]
  • October 17: U.S. District Judge John Sedwick rules that Arizona's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional in Connolly v. Jeanes. The state orders its agencies to comply immediately.[269]
  • October 17: U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl rules in Guzzo v. Mead that Wyoming's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, but issues a temporary stay.[270]
  • October 21: Same-sex marriage becomes legal in Wyoming, when state officials notify the U.S. district court that they will not appeal the previous week's ruling.[271]
  • October 21: U.S. District Judge Juan Manuel Perez-Gimenez upholds Puerto Rico's ban on same-sex marriage, concluding that Baker v. Nelson is binding on federal courts.[272]
  • November 4: U.S. District Judge Daniel D. Crabtree rules in Marie v. Moser that Kansas's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. His decision takes effect on November 12 when the state defendants exhaust their options for obtaining a stay pending appeal.[273]
  • November 5: St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison rules that Missouri's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and that the city of St. Louis can not enforce the ban. City officials announce intentions to grant same-sex marriage licenses immediately.[274]
  • November 6: The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in a 2–1 ruling upholds same-sex marriage bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee.[275]
  • November 7: U.S. District Judge Ortrie Smith rules in Lawson v. Kelly that Missouri's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, staying his order pending appeal.[276]
  • November 12: U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel rules in Condon v. Haley that South Carolina's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. His decision takes effect on November 20.[277]
  • November 19: U.S. District Judge Brian Morris rules in Rolando v. Fox that Montana's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The decision takes effect immediately.[278]
  • November 25: U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker rules in Jernigan v. Crane that Arkansas's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The decision is stayed pending appeal.[279]
  • November 25: U.S. District Judge Carlton W. Reeves rules in Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant that Mississippi's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.[280] The Fifth Circuit stays his ruling on December 4.[281]

2015[edit]

  • January 5: Miami-Dade County, Florida, Circuit Court Judge Sarah Zabel allows her decision that held Florida's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional to take effect. Same-sex couples in Miami-Dade County obtain marriage licenses beginning mid-day.[282]
  • January 6: A stay issued months earlier in the case of Brenner v. Scott expires and same-sex marriage becomes legal throughout Florida.[283]
  • January 12: U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier rules in Rosenbrahn v. Daugaard that South Dakota's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. She stays her decision pending appeal.[284]
  • January 15: U.S. District Judge Mark A. Goldsmith rules in Caspar v. Snyder that Michigan must recognize the validity of more than 300 marriages of same-sex couples married the previous March in the time between a district court found the state's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals stayed that ruling. He stays implementation of his ruling for 21 days.[285] Governor Rick Snyder announces on February 4 that the state will recognize those marriages and not appeal the decision.[286]
  • January 16: The U.S. Supreme Court agrees to consider four cases on appeal from the Sixth Circuit, consolidating them as one and setting a briefing schedule to be completed April 17.[287]
  • January 23: U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. Granade rules in Searcy v. Strange that Alabama's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.[288] Two days later she stays her injunction until February 9.[289] She issues a similar ruling and stay in Strawser v. Strange four days later.[290]
  • February 9: With the lifting of stays in two federal court decisions, same-sex marriage becomes legal in Alabama and same-sex couples obtain marriage licenses. Some county judges have continued to enforce the pre-existing ban by not granting licenses to same-sex couples, while some other counties have stopped issuing marriage licenses altogether.[291]
  • February 17: A state judge in Travis County, Texas, rules that Texas' ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and recognizes the common law marriage of two women.[292] Two days later, another state judge orders the Travis County clerk to issue a marriage license to two women, one of whom is seriously ill. They wed before the Texas Supreme Court stays the judge's order.[293]
  • February 19: A CNN poll finds 63% of Americans believe gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry, up from 49% in August 2010.[294]
  • March 2: U.S. District Judge Joseph F. Bataillon, who in 2005 had ruled Nebraska's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional only to have his decision overturned, strikes down Nebraska's ban on same-sex marriage. He orders state officials to cease enforcing that ban as of March 9.[295] The decision is stayed by the Eighth Circuit on March 5.
  • March 3: The Alabama Supreme Court orders all counties in the state to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
  • March 17: A majority of the 171 regional bodies of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) votes to modify their constitution to include same-sex marriage in their definition of marriage.[296]
  • March 20: Puerto Rico officials announce that they will no longer defend the Commonwealth's ban on same-sex marriage in court and ask the First Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse the lower court's ruling in Conde-Vidal v. Garcia-Padilla.[297]
  • April 28: The U.S. Supreme Court hears oral argument in Obergefell v. Hodges and related cases.[298]
  • May 21: U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. Granade rules that all probate judges in the state of Alabama must grant same-sex marriage licenses. She stays her ruling pending a Supreme Court decision.[299]
  • June 5: Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood of the U.S. territory of Guam strikes down its ban on same-sex marriage in Aguero v. Calvo.[300] The decision takes effect on June 8.[301]
  • June 9: Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen rules that over 500 same-sex marriages performed in Arkansas in May 2014 are valid.[302]
  • June 26: The United States Supreme Court rules in Obergefell v. Hodges that because the fundamental right to marry extends to same-sex couples, same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment. The decision renders same-sex marriage legal throughout the entire United States.[303]
  • July 1: The Episcopal Church, by overwhelming votes at its General Convention, removes gender-specific language from church laws on marriage to allow for religious wedding services for same-sex couples. It is the fourth mainline denomination to allow for such liturgies.[304]
  • December 16: A Massachusetts Superior Court judge rules in Barrett v. Fontbonne Academy that the Roman Catholic school violated the state's laws against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender in withdrawing a job offer from a man when it learned he was in a same-sex marriage.[305]

2016[edit]

  • January 5: The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services approves the immigrant visa petition filed in 1975 by Richard Adams (1947–2012) on behalf of his husband, an Australian citizen, having recognized the validity of their marriage that was the subject of Adams v. Howerton (1982). His husband Anthony Sullivan receives his green card in April 2016.[306]
  • January 6: Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore orders the state's probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.[307]
  • January 14: The Anglican Communion, an international organization, censures its US branch, the Episcopal Church USA because of its support for same-sex marriage, and suspends it from participating in the organization's decisions "on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity".[308]
  • March 8: U.S. District Court Judge Juan Perez-Gimenez, ordered by the First Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider his October 2014 ruling that found Puerto Rico's ban on same-sex marriage constitutional, rules that the US Supreme Court decision in Obergefell does not apply to Puerto Rico because constitutional guarantees do not apply in an unincorporated territory.[309]
  • April 6: The First Circuit Court of Appeals overrules Judge Perez-Gimenez Puerto Rico decision saying it "errs in so many respects that it is hard to know where to begin". It returns the case to the District Court to be assigned to a different judge.[310] On April 7 Judge Gustavo Gelpi rules Puerto Rico's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.[311]
  • May 6: Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is suspended when a judicial oversight group files a complaint that his ordering probate judges on January 6 not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples "flagrantly disregarded and abused his authority".[312]
  • June 7: U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. Granade issues a permanent injunction against the enforcement of Alabama's laws against same-sex marriage.[313]
  • July 1: Judge Carlton Reeves extends his earlier decision and prevents a Mississippi law allowing court clerks to refuse marriage licenses to same-sex couples based on their religious beliefs from taking effect.[314]
  • July 17: The Republican National Convention approves a platform that condemns Obergefell v. Hodges and calls for its reversal "through judicial reconsideration or a constitutional amendment returning control over marriage to the states". It asserts the "legitimate constitutional authority to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman" and calls for "the appointment of justices and judges who ... respect the authority of the states to decide such fundamental social questions. It opposes "government discrimination against businesses or entities which decline to sell items or services to individuals for activities that go against their religious views about such activities."[315]
  • July 25: The Democratic National Convention adopts a platform that says "Democrats applaud last year's decision by the Supreme Court that recognized that LGBT people–like other Americans–have the right to marry the person they love."[316]
  • August 1: In his official residence, Vice President Joe Biden, a Catholic, officiates at the wedding of two male members of the White House staff.[317] Four days later, three leading Roman Catholic bishops, without naming Biden, call it "a counter witness" to Catholic teaching.[318]
  • December 9: The attorney general of the Cherokee Nation rules that the tribe recognizes same-sex marriage.[319]

2017[edit]

  • March 20: A referendum on whether same-sex marriages should be performed in the Osage Nation in Oklahoma is passed, with 770 voting for same-sex marriage and 700 voting against.[320][321] The law takes effect immediately.[322]
  • March 22: The Minnesota-based Prairie Island Indian Community which forms a part of the Mdewakanton Dakota legalizes same-sex marriage by changing its Domestic Relations Code. Section 1, Chapter 3c of the Code now states that "two persons of the same or opposite gender may marry."[323] A previous version had explicitly banned same-sex marriages.[324]
  • June 5: the Legislature of the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin approves a bill to legalize same-sex marriage, in a 13–0 vote.[325]
  • October 25: the Ak-Chin Indian Community Court of the Ak-Chin Indian Community ruled that the law banning same-sex marriage is in violation with the tribe's constitution and the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968. The tribe's chairman announced that the government will not appeal the ruling.[326]

2018[edit]

  • October 2: the State Department, under Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, reverses a 2009 policy instituted under former Secretary Hillary Clinton which allowed family visas to unmarried same-sex partners of diplomats posted in the United States, even if the countries represented by the diplomats have only legalized same-sex civil partnerships but not same-sex marriage. Under the new policy, same-sex partners have to obtain marriages to their diplomat partners within three months or else lose their family visas. The Department states that the new policy seeks to "ensure and promote equal treatment" for both same- and opposite-sex couples by the Department.[327]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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