A History of Same-Sex Marriage in the United States

May 14th, 2013 will forever be remembered as the day Minnesota became just the 12th state to legalize same-sex marriage.  Although the law won’t go into effect until August 1, the bill’s passage means many new changes are on the horizon for gay couples.  In recognition of the bill, we decided to make a timeline to showcase gay marriage over the years in the United States.

1978 – Harvey Milk makes national headlines when he is sworn in as the first openly gay member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.  During his time on the board, Milk is best remembered for his adamant opposition of “Prop 6” which would have allowed schools to fire any employee who publicly supported gay rights.  The proposition was defeated when it was called for vote in November. A former board member assassinated Milk later that month.

1982 – Wisconsin becomes the first state to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in regards to employment, housing, and public accommodations when it passes AB70, aka The Gay Rights Bill.  Two years later, Berkeley, California becomes the first city to offer its employees domestic-partnership benefits.

1993 – “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy is enacted in the U.S. military, permitting gays to serve in the military as long as they keep their sexual orientation private.

2000 – Vermont becomes the first state in the country to recognize civil unions between same-sex couples.  The law entitles couples “to the same benefits, privileges, and responsibilities as spouses”, but it does not define the unions as marriage.  Marriage is still classified as a heterosexual relationship.

2003 – The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rules that preventing same-sex couples from marrying violates the state constitution.

2004 – Gay marriage is legalized in Massachusetts.

2006 – Same-sex civil unions are legalized in Connecticut.  Two years later, the Connecticut becomes the second state to officially legalize gay marriage.

2009 – Iowa, Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire all legalize same-sex marriage throughout the year, although residents in Maine vote to overturn the law later in the year.

2010 – The U.S. Senate votes 65 to 31 in favor of repealing  “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”.  On December 18, President Obama officially repeals the policy.

2011 – New York becomes the largest state to allow same-sex marriage.

2012 – Washington and Maryland pass legislation to allow gay marriage, and Maine votes in favor of allowing same-sex marriages.  President Barack Obama openly supports same-sex marriage.  In November, Minnesota rejects a measure that would have banned gay marriage.

2013 – Governors from Rhode Island, Delaware and Minnesota sign same sex legislation into law after it passes through the State House and State Senate.  The law will go into effect on July 1 in Delaware, and August 1 in Rhode Island and Minnesota.

Related source:  Infoplease.com

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