The Supreme Court with its ruling on July 26, 2015 legalized same sex marriage in USA and ordered all states not to ban gay marriages. This historic verdict although landmark wasn’t surprising as already 36 states in the country accept gay marriage as legal and seventy percent of the USA population resides in states where gay marriage is accepted.
This verdict is maybe the biggest win for gay rights activities that are fighting for equal states since decades. Their story reflects struggle, strong belief and an undying passion. Here we trace the history of gay marriage in USA by glancing at some key events in the past that shaped this movement.
• Gay couples appeal for marriage license-May 1970- Jack Baker and Michael McConnell were the first gay couple in USA to apply for a marriage license. Their appeal was turned down by Hennepin County, Minnesota but they eventually did receive the marriage license as another county from the same state accepted their claim.
• Arizona Supreme Court invalidates same sex marriage license, January 1975- The Arizona Supreme Court invalidated the marriage license granted to a same sex couple and ruled same sex marriage as unconstitutional.
• Same Sex marriage appears on the TV- 1991- The first instance of gay marriage appearing on the American TV was in 1991. The TV series ROC, produced by Fox studios showed the marriage between same sex couple. Uncle Russell, a character in the series married his partner.
• California offers limited rights to same-sex couple-Sept. 1999- The Californian government tilted towards same sex marriage as it offered some rights to gay couples. In 1999, The then governor of California Gray Davis paved way for the new law that accepted the claims of these couples and provided them limited rights.
• First legal same sex marriage ceremony happens in USA- 2004- The mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom ordered the city hall to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples. This decision resulted in the celebration of first gay marriage in USA. Dell Martin and Phyliis Lyon became the first gay couple to tie the knot and get official recognition to their relationship.
• The President voices his support- May 2012- A major boost to the same sex marriage movement came in 2012 as Barrack Obama, the president of the nation officially announced his support in the favor of gay marriage and became the first sitting American president to do so.
• A blow to Defense of Marriage Act- June 2013- The Defense of marriage Act which was the biggest hurdle in front of gay marriage activists was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2013. While giving a ruling in the Hollingsworth vs Perry case, the Supreme Court denounced the proposition 8 appeal which made same sex marriage legal.
• Supreme Court makes gay marriage legal in USA- July 2015- The date 26 July, 2015 will be inked in golden letters in the history of gay marriage in USA as on this day, the Supreme Court struck down all state bans on gay marriage. While offering a verdict in the Obergefell v. Hodges case, the court ordered the state to out-of-state same-sex marriage licenses.