Same-Sex Marriage Timeline

FMST 303

Major Legislation related to same-sex marriage

Minnesota Supreme Court Case (Baker v. Nelson)

October 15, 1971

Court ruled that the Constitution did not support same-sex marriage

Hawaii Supreme Court Case (Baehr v. Lewin)

May 5, 1993

Court ruled that the state must show a compelling reason to ban same-sex marriage. The outcome of this case led states to specify that marriage is between one man and one woman.

Utah passes "recognition of Marriages" bill

March 1995

The Utah Statute prohibited state recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states and nations. This was the first of its kind in the U.S. More than 30 states followed with their own "Defense of Marriage" laws.

Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) enacted

September 21, 1996

Clinton signed on this federal law that allowed states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages granted under the laws of the other states. DOMA defined marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman

Vermont legally recognizes civil unions between same-sex couples

June 2000

Vermont was the first state to legally recognize civil unions between same-sex couples which entitled the couples to the same benefits as spouses. However, these unions were still not considered to be marriages.

Lawrence v. Texas Supreme Court Case

June 26, 2003

Court rules sodomy laws to be unconstitutional. Justice Scalia (dissented) predicted the ruling would lead to legal recognition of same-sex marriage.

Goodridge v. Department of Public Health

November 18, 2003

Court rules in favor of same-sex marriage.

Same-sex marriages legal in Massachusetts

May 17, 2004

Legalization happened as a result of Goodridge v. Department of Health ruling

New York State appeals Court ruling

February 2008

Court unanimously voted that valid same-sex marriages performed in other states must be recognized by employers in New York. This granted same-sex couples the same rights as other couples.

California Supreme Court rules in favor of same-sex couples

May 15, 2008

Court rules same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry.

California voters approve Proposition 8

November 4, 2008

Proposition 8 banned same-sex marriages. However, marriages that occurred prior to the ruling were still recognized.

Washington, DC allows same-sex marriages


New York approves same-sex marriage


Maine, Maryland and Washington legalize same-sex marriage


Voters legalized same-sex marriage. Public beginning to allow same-sex marriage.

United Stats v. Windsor Court Case- Overturn of DOMA

June 2013

Supreme Court ruled by a 5-4 vote that DOMA is unconstitutional. Federal benefits available to legally married same-sex couples.