March 7, 2000 : California voters approved Prop-
osition 22 by a margin of 61% to 39%. Though a
statewide balIot initiative, it was not a Consti-
tutional Amendment, and simply added Section
308.5 to the Family Code, stating that : “Only
marriage between a man and a woman is valid
or recognized in California.” This gave oppo-
nents the opportunity to argue that it was
inconsistent with the California Constitution,
and therefore invalid.
March 29, 2000 : The Central Conference of
American Rabbis declared that gay relation-
ships are “worthy of affirmation” and that
Reform rabbis who officiated at such cere-
monies would have the support of their group,
which represented about 1,800 rabbis, whose
congregations totaled nearly 1.5 million
April 25, 2000 : Vermont’s legislature gave
final approval to a “civil union” bill that gave
virtually all the rights and responsibilities to
same-sex couples as the state gave to married
couples. The Governor signed the bill the next
day. It took effect on July 1, 2000.
May 25, 2000 : The Presbyterian Church U.S.A.’s
highest court upheld the right of its ministers
to conduct “holy union” ceremonies for same-
sex couples, as long as they are not considered
April 11, 2001 : “Gay and Lesbian Advocates
and Defenders” sued the Massachusetts
Department of Public Health on behalf of
seven same-sex couples denied marriage
licenses in March and April, 2001. A
Superior Court judge ruled against them on
May 7, 2002, so they appealed to the state’s
Supreme Judicial Court. (Original case citation :
14 Mass. L. Rep. 591)
June 26, 2003 : The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in
the case of “Lawrence vs. Texas” (539 U.S. 558)
that laws which criminalize homosexual activity
June 24 – July 8, 2003 : According to the Pew
Research Center, 38% of Americans polled now
backed same-sex marriage (up from 27% in
1996) and 53% were opposed (down from
65%). Those most opposed were Evangelical
Protestants (83%) whose views were essen-
tially unchanged since the 1996 poll.
September 19, 2003 : California Governor Gray
Davis signed AB 205, The Domestic Partner
Rights and Responsibilities Act, providing same-
sex couples with nearly all the same rights as
Nov 18, 2003 : The Massachusetts Supreme
Judicial Court ruled 4-3 in favor of same-sex
marriage : “The question before us is whether,
consistent with the Massachusetts Constitution,
the commonwealth may deny the protections,
benefits and obligations conferred by civil
marriage to two individuals of the same sex
who wish to marry. We conclude that it may
not. The Massachusetts Constitution affirms
the dignity and equality of all individuals. It
forbids the creation of second class citizens.”
The court gave Massachusetts 180 days to
comply with its ruling, which it did on May
17, 2004. (Goodridge v. Department of Public
Health, 440 Mass. 309) This was the same
case that was originally filed on April 11, 2001.
Dec 10-13, 2003 : A New York Times/CBS Poll
shows that 34% of Americans supported same-
sex marriage, 61% are opposed. But 39%
support civil unions, with 54% opposed. Fifty-
five percent favor a Federal Constitutional
Amendment banning same-sex marriage, while
40 per cent are opposed. Seventy-one percent
who see marriage as a religious issue were
opposed to same-sex marriage, but 55 per cent
of those who saw it as a legal matter were in
February 4, 2004 : The Massachusetts Supreme
Judicial Court advised that civil unions are not
enough to comply with its November 18, 2003
ruling, and only extending the right to marry to
same-sex couples will do.
Feb 12, 2004 : San Francisco began issuing
marriage licenses to same-sex couples at the
request of newly-elected Mayor Gavin Newsom.
Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon were the first couple
to be married. This tactic spread to other cities
across the country. On Feb. 27th, New Paltz,
New York, follows suit, as does Portland, Oregon,
on March 3rd, though courts soon order a halt.
February 18, 2004 : Chicago Mayor Richard M.
Daley said he would have ”no problem” with
Cook County issuing marriage licenses to same-
February 24, 2004 : President Bush announced
his support of a Constitutional Amendment
banning same-sex marriage.
February 27, 2004 : California Attorney
General Bill Lockyer asked the State Supreme
Court to issue an order invalidating all the
state’s same-sex marriages and halting new
ones. The court refuses, but says it will accept
briefs asking them to do so on March 5th.
March 4, 2004 : New York Mayor Michael R.
Bloomberg said he favors same-sex unions.
Mar 11, 2004 : The California Supreme Court
ordered San Francisco to stop allowing same-
sex marriages until the issue of their legality
could be resolved. The next day, “Equality
California” filed a lawsuit challenging the
constitutionality of California’s marriage
April 7, 2004 : Thirteen same-sex couples sued
the State of New York arguing that its current
definition of marriage violated the State Con-
stitution’s guarantees of equal protection,
privacy and due process.
May 17, 2004 : Massachusetts began issuing
marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Marcia
Kadish and Tanya McCloskey became the first
to be legally married there, and the first in the
U.S. whose same-sex marriage was unquestion-
May 25, 2004 : The California Supreme Court
held hearings on the legality of the same-sex
marriages performed in San Francisco.
July 10, 2004 : New Jersey same-sex couples
began signing up for domestic partnerships.
The Domestic Partnership Act, P.L. 2003, was
passed on January 12, 2004.
July 14, 2004 : A Constitutional Amendment to
ban same-sex marriage nationally fell 12 votes
short of the 60 needed to move it to the Senate
floor, and 19 short of the 67 that would have
been needed for passage by the required 2/3
majority. On September 30th, the vote in the
House was 227 to 186, or 49 short of the 2/3
August 12, 2004 : The California Supreme Court
ruled that San Francisco City and County did not
have the authority to issue marriage licenses to
same-sex couples, and voided all such marriages
November 2, 2004 : Eleven states passed
Constitutional Amendments banning same-sex
marriage (Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky,
Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota,
Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon and Utah.)
November 29, 2004 : The U.S. Supreme Court
turned down the Massachusetts case, leaving the
state’s same-sex marriage law intact.
February 4, 2005 : New York State Justice Doris
Ling-Cohan ruled that New York’s Domestic
Relations Law of 1909, which limits marriage to
opposite-sex couples, deprived same-sex couples
of equal protection and due process rights that
are guaranteed by the State Constitution. But on
July 6th, the New York State Court of Appeals
ruled against same-sex marriage
March 14, 2005 : A California judge ruled that
Proposition 22 was unconstitutional.
May 12, 2005 : A Federal judge struck down
Nebraska’s ban on same-sex marriage.
July 4, 2005 : The United Church of Christ backed
September 6, 2005 : The California Legislature
became the first to pass a bill legalizing same-
sex marriage without being forced to do so by
a court. But Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
vetoed the bill on September 29th.
October 25, 2006 : The New Jersey Supreme
Court unanimously ruled in “Lewis vs. Harris”
(188 N.J. 415 ; 908 A. 2d 196) that same-sex
couples were entitled to the same protections
as heterosexual couples. On December 13th,
the New Jersey Legislature passes a “civil
union” bill to comply.
Nov 7, 2006 : Voters in seven states (Idaho,
Colorado, South Dakota, South Carolina,
Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin) approved
referenda banning same-sex marriage.
February 19, 2007 : New Jersey’s “Civil Union
Act” took effect.
May 15, 2008 : The California Supreme Court
voted 4-3 to invalidate Proposition 22, declar-
ing that same-sex couples have a right to
marry, and that domestic partnerships are
not equal to marriage.
October 10, 2008 : The Connecticut Supreme
Court ruled 4-3 that same-sex couples have a
right to marry and that “civil union” statutes
are not the equivalent of marriage and violate
the state’s “equal protection” guarantees.
November 4, 2008 : California voters passed
Proposition 8 by 52-48%, once again banning
same-sex marriage, and putting in doubt the
validity of the 18,000 such marriages performed
between the time Proposition 22 was struck
down and Proposition 8 was passed. Florida and
Arizona also approved bans.
April 3, 2009 : The Iowa Supreme Court ruled
unanimously that a state law limiting marriage
to a man and a woman was unconstitutional.
They mentioned nothing about a residency
requirement, so couples from any state could
go there to be married.
April 7, 2009 : Vermont became the first state to
successfully legalize same-sex marriage by a vote
of the legislature. The vote in the House was 100
to 49, and 23-5 in the Senate, in both cases
enough to override the Governor’s veto.
May 6, 2009 : Maine’s governor signed a bill
making that state the fifth to legalize same-sex
May 26, 2009 : The California Supreme Court
upheld Proposition 8, but ruled that marriages
performed between the time it declared Prop
22 unconstitutional and the November 8th
election to be valid. It also reaffirmed a portion
of its May 15, 2008 ruling in which the Court
said that laws based on sexual orientation
would receive the same degree of scrutiny as
those that discriminated on the basis of sex or
June 3, 2009 : New Hampshire became the sixth
state to legalize same-sex marriage, when Gov.
John Lynch signed a bill passed by the
November 3, 2009 : Maine’s voters repealed the
state’s same-sex marriage law.
August 4, 2010 : U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn
Walker overturns Proposition 8. Included in his
ruling were 80 ”findings of fact,” which are sig-
nificant because higher courts usually give them
August 16, 2010 : The Ninth Circuit Court of
Appeals granted a stay of Walker’s ruling in
regard to California’s Proposition 8.
February 23, 2011 : President Barack Obama
tells the Justice Department to stop defending
the “Defense of Marriage Act.”
May 5-8, 2011 : For the first time, a Gallup Poll
showed a majority of Americans (53%) favored
same-sex marriage, with 45% opposed, and the
rest undecided. In 1996, 2/3 were opposed, with
only 27% in favor. By 2004 support had gone up
to 42%, but stayed relatively steady, reaching
44% in 2010.
June 24, 2011 : Governor Andrew Cuomo signs
a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in New York.
July 19, 2011 : President Obama announced his
support for the Respect for Marriage Act, which
would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.
February 7, 2012 : A three-judge panel of the
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rules against
California’s Proposition 8.
February 13, 2012 : Governor Christine
Gregoire signs a bill making same-sex marriage
legal in the State of Washington, though the law
still had to face a voter referendum in November.
March 1, 2012 : Governor Martin O’Malley signed
a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in Maryland
as of January 2013. But as in Washington, a
referendum on the law was scheduled for
May 9, 2012 : President Barack Obama endorsed
May 19, 2012 : The N.A.A.C.P.’s Board of
Directors endorsed same-sex marriage.
July 31, 2012 : Proposition 8 supporters
appealed to the Supreme Court.
November 6, 2012 : Maine, Maryland and
Washington voters approved same-sex marriage
in ballot referenda, while voters in Minnesota
reject a referendum which would define
marriage as only between a man and a woman.
December 7, 2012 : The U.S Supreme Court
agreed to hear California’s Proposition 8 case.
February 22, 2013 : The Obama Administration
asked the Supreme Court to overturn the
Defense of Marriage Act :
"The law denies to tens of thousands of same-sex
couples who are legally married under state law
an array of important federal benefits that are
available to legally married opposite-sex couples.
Because this discrimination cannot be justified as
substantially furthering any important govern-
mental interest, Section 3 is unconstitutional."
June 26, 2013 : By a vote of 5-4, the Supreme
Court invalidated the Defense of Marriage Act
in the case of United States v. Windsor (Case #
12-307.) According to the majority : “The federal
statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose
overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage
and injure those whom the state, by its marriage
laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity.
By seeking to displace this protection and treating
those persons as living in marriages less respected
than others, the federal statute is in violation of the
June 26, 2013 : The Supreme Court rules 5-4 in
Hollingsworth v. Perry (Case #12-144) that the
decision of the initial trial judge in District Court,
who overturned California’s Proposition 8
should stand, because those who appealed the
decision had no standing to do so. According to
Justice Roberts, writing for the majority :
“For there to be such a case or controversy, it is
not enough that the party invoking the power of
the court have a keen interest in the issue. That
party must also have “standing,” which requires,
among other things, that it have suffered a concrete
and particularized injury. Because we find that
petitioners do not have standing, we have no
authority to decide this case on its merits, and
neither did the Ninth Circuit …..
“We have never before upheld the standing of a
private party to defend the constitutionality of a
state statute when state officials have chosen not
to. We decline to do so for the first time here.”
June 28, 2013 : The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
lifted the stay it imposed when its decision was
appealed to the Supreme Court. California began
issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples again.
June 30, 2013 : Justice Anthony Kennedy denied
without comment a request to halt the issuance
of marriage licenses in California to same-sex