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May 17, 2004
Massachusetts becomes the first state to pass a law recognizing legal same-sex marriages.
May 15, 2008
The California Supreme Court decides that it's unconstitutional to ban same-sex marriages through a case called "In Re: Marriage." The first legal same-sex marriage in California took place on June 16th of that year.
October 10, 2008
The Connecticut Supreme Court rules in favor of same-sex marriage, enacting a law that retroactively comes into effect on October 1st. Connecticut citizens are allowed to convert their civil unions into legal marriages from that point onwards.
November 4, 2008
An amendment to the California Supreme Court ruling called Proposition 8 reverses the original decree; California no longer grants legal same-sex marriages.
April 3, 2009
The Iowa Supreme Court unanimously votes to pass a law allowing same-sex marriages in Iowa.
April 7, 2009
Vermont legislature overrides Governor Jim Douglas to allow same-sex marriage in the state. On September 1st, same-sex couples begin applying for marriage licenses.
May 6, 2009
Governor John Baldacci signs a bill recognizing same-sex marriages in Maine.
June 3, 2009
New Hampshire becomes the fourth state this year to pass a law allowing same-sex marriages. It takes effect on January 1st, 2010.
November 3, 2009
Like California, Maine's marriage bill is overturned and same-sex married couples are no longer legally recognized.
December 18, 2009
Washington, D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty signs a bill allowing same-sex marriages into law.
June 24, 2011
New York passes a law allowing same-sex marriage, marking the first time that Republican-led legislature has enacted this type of law.
February 13, 2012
Washington Governor Christine Gregoire signs the state's law allowing same-sex couples to marry. The law was supposed to take effect on June 7th of that year, but anti-gay activists pushed it back into November.
February 16, 2012
New Jersey legislature briefly approved a bill allowing same-sex marriage in the state, but Governor Chris Christie quickly vetoed it.
March 1, 2012
Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley signs the state's bill allowing same-sex marriage into law.
November 6, 2012
Citizens in Maine, Maryland, Washington, and Minnesota vote to support same-sex marriage bills, overturning anti-gay efforts to block progress in those states.
April 24–May 14, 2013
Rhode Island, Delaware, and Minnesota all pass laws allowing same-sex marriage.
June 26, 2013
The Supreme Court overturns Proposition 8, and California begins recognizing same-sex marriages again. The same day, the Court strikes the Defense of Marriage Act, a law from 1996 that prevented the federal recognition of gay marriage.
October 21, 2013
A court ruling in New Jersey legalizes same-sex marriage for a second time, and Governor Chris Christie drops his appeal.
November 13–December 19, 2013
Hawaii, Illinois, and New Mexico join the group of states allowing same-sex marriage, which now includes 17 states.
May 19–20, 2014
Oregon and Pennsylvania strike down bans on gay marriage and there are no appeals, thereby allowing same-sex marriage to be recognized in each state.
October 6, 2014
The United States Supreme Court denies review on five marriage cases in Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Indiana, and Wisconsin, giving the lower courts in each state the power to override proposed same-sex marriage bans and legalize it once and for all. Additionally, the ruling gave Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming the right to legalize same-sex marriage. All were battling court cases involving proposed same-sex marriage bans, but when the Supreme Court refused to review the original five cases, it invalidated the proposed bans in the latter six states as well.
October 7, 2014
The United States Court of Appeals voted to support same-sex couples in two different cases, allowing two more states, Idaho and Nevada, to legally recognize same-sex marriage. The Court of Appeals vote also clears Arkansas, Arizona, and Montana to allow same-sex marriages since they, too, had similar cases waiting for review.
January 6, 2015
Florida's move to allow same-sex marriage goes into effect.
North Dakota and Georgia are the only states left that still outright ban same-sex marriage. South Dakota, Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi have ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, but laws haven't been passed yet. Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee all have marriage cases pending in front of the Supreme Court.
Hearings for those cases took place on April 28th of this year, and the Supreme Court is expected to rule on them by the end of June. If the ruling goes the same way it did in October 2014, it could clear the way for a nationwide acceptance of same-sex marriage in every state.
June 26, 2015
The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of supporting gay marriage as a Constitutional right, spreading waves of joy across the internet and in the halls of the White House, where Joe Biden is currently running around with a rainbow flag cape doling out high-fives (okay, not really, but it sounds right). In a statement explaining the majority decision, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote:
"No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than they once were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death.
It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fufillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization's oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right."