Courtesy of Supreme Court’s historic ruling of June 26, 2015, same sex marriages in USA have become legal now. This ruling prevents states from banning same sex marriages and also orders states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
The development in the law comes as a massive shift in the tide because only two decades back, USA had defined marriage as ‘the union of one man and one woman’ by enacting the ‘Defense of Marriage Act’. This law came into action on September 21, 1996 and made same sex marriage unofficial.
So, the question is what happened in these two decades that forced the nation to completely change the laws surrounding gay marriage? Here we find the answer by tracing the development of the gay marriage law.
• Massachusetts Supreme Court’s ruling in 2003-
The first major blow to the Defense of Marriage Act came in 2003, when Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that a ban on same sex marriage is unconstitutional. This ruling paved way for same sex couples to legalize their marriage and claim an official status to their relationship.
Of course there were instances of other state courts offering rulings that supported gay marriage before 2003, but they did not create much impact. The ruling from Massachusetts Supreme Court on the other hand garnered massive attention and stirred the movement.
• city council of Washington, D.C legalizes same sex marriage- 2010
Seven years after the verdict by Massachusetts Supreme Court, the city council of Washington, D.C legalized same sex marriage and it proved to be a huge boost for the same sex marriage movement. The fact that Washington D.C is the capital of the country added extra weightage to this development and also the manner in which the resolution was passed made news. Out of 13 votes, 11 were affirmative and only two votes went against marriage of the same sex.
• The historic supreme court verdict in June 2015-
The final development in the laws surrounding gay marriage came in June 2015 when the Supreme Court ruled that same sex couples can marry nation-wide. The ruling was passed 5-4 and is seen as a huge landmark ruling in the history of USA.
Before this verdict as many as 36 states had already legalized gay marriages in their respective states and this verdict only went one step further for same sex couples in enjoying their civil rights.