May 27th, 2009
06:26 PM ET

Interactive: Same-sex marriage chronology

Program Note: Tune in tonight to hear more on the the reaction to the California Supreme Court's ruling on Proposition 8 tonight on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/05/26/california.same.sex.marriage/art.calif.protest.cnn.jpg caption="Protesters gather outside the California Supreme Court in San Francisco on Tuesday. "]

The Los Angeles Times

For the last decade, the battle over same-sex marriage and other rights for gay couples has been hard fought in U.S. courts and legislatures and at the ballot box. Use this map to view milestones in the fight and how state laws have changed since 2000.

Check out this interactive to see a time line of the same-sex debate.

soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. Ashley

    Marriage is between a man and a woman? Who made that crap up!? You can't deny a person rights because they have a different sexual orientation than you. How would YOU feel if you were in the same position as the gay community? No marital rights. You wouldn't feel so good would you? They allowed the other 18,000 couples to stay married, what would be so bad aabout allowing the other partners to get married too? Oh, and one more thing: How would THEM getting married EVER affect you? God, i can't believe people will actually deny someone basic human rights, just because they're different. It's just like the Cival Rights movement, and womens rights issue.

    California, It's a no brainer: ALLOW GAY MARRIAGE!

    Until gay marriage is allowed, people will just keep on fighting for they're rights, and right's of others.

    May 28, 2009 at 12:20 pm |
  2. R Setzer

    Much like freeing the slaves, women's right to vote, civil rights in the 60's or the American Revolution–these kinds of changes do not happen over night. A mindset needs to be changed and the kind of discourse or "tug-of-war" in which we are currently engaged is a NECESSARY part of that process.

    I imagine a vast majority of people reading this who drive wear a seatbelt. Common sense, right? No. In fact, there was a time when cars didn't have them, when a buzzer would tell you you weren't buckled up–and boy, was there outcry! "I don 't need a seatbelt!" or "They're uncomfortable!" All that outrage over trying to keep you alive.
    Eventually, the mindset changed.

    Same Sex marriage is a bit more of a "hot button," but if both sides of the issue are not discussed, the facts never come to light. And yes, there will be people on both sides trying to stonewall each other,
    but in the end the law will be changed–and there will be a generation coming that says, "well, of course, why not? what is there to argue about?"

    May 28, 2009 at 12:00 pm |
  3. Elizabeth (CT)

    "Marriage" is the spiritual issue. "Civil unions" are the political issue.

    The state should have no say in nor can grant "marriage" due to the separation of church and state. So "marriage" licenses should be understood as "civil union" licenses.

    It is a church or religion's prerogative to have a spiritual ceremony (i.e. "marriage") which recognizes the commitment of couples, hetero- or homosexual, but the state can only grant civil unions in concept, and cannot or should not be discriminatory in its distribution of them.

    May 28, 2009 at 11:49 am |
  4. nick

    you have the freedom to cast votes in such a way as do not deprive freedoms to others. thus, why supreme courts have consistently declared laws banning gay marriage unconstitutional. what if i were to vote for a law that disenfranchises self-satisfied, over-privileged white males? you'd certainly object. it's the same point.

    May 28, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  5. Jyoti

    Also answering Caffert's question – what will it take for Americans to accept Gay Marriage? The answer is free Viagra. Let me explain. Who are people against gay marriage? One of the conservatives recently said that women have changing sexual preferences and are more likely to veer towards gay relations if allowed by law. Well, it sems to me middle aged men with ED are the most vocal opponents of gay marriage. The other groups are in the closet gays. Finally, the christian right has no legs to stand on. How can they say marriage is between one man and one woman. How many wives did Abraham or Jacob have. Homosexuality was rife in the ancient world. Alexander did not even hide it. It was accepted in ancient Rome. Heterosexual people who are confident in their own sexuality and committment have no fear of losing their partners and have no objections to gay marraige. It is more an expression of cowardice and fear that is driving the opposition to gay marriage. I applaud Olsen and Boise for their brave stand.

    May 28, 2009 at 8:25 am |
  6. Terry, TX

    Marriage is between a man and woman. We are entitled to the opinion and the freedom of speech to say it and the freedom to cast our vote accordingly. Enough of this subject already.

    May 28, 2009 at 8:18 am |
  7. Dino (Portugal)

    After listening to much of the debate, I am saddened to always here the comparison of the marriage rights versus civil rights. I do not believe this comparison can be made. The reason why they did not want blacks and whites to get married wasn't because of what they thought marriage was, it was more because they thought of black people as animals, as not being at the same human level as the caucasians, and therefor could not be wed to one. I do not believe that gays and lesbians are at this same postulate as the black people were at that time.

    I hereby do not express opposition for gays and lesbians to get married but I would, however, appreciate a more directed debate to what this truly is about and not making faulty comparisons to the past.

    May 28, 2009 at 7:21 am |
  8. Michael Greenwood Meridian,Ms.

    Our courts need to understand that the people and it's governing body has a right to make laws to govern it's people as a whole. It does not have the right to make laws that discriminate against any of it's people no matter who they are or what their beliefs are.

    May 28, 2009 at 5:53 am |
  9. Shayne, Minneapolis

    @ concern/denver Colorado. many dont believe in god. but the last time i checked the church doesnt provide the rights and breaks and piece of paper that the government does. not all of us want to get married for the religious reasons, but for the breaks provided by the government that married couples recieve. and thats the real issue, giving everyone the same civil rights, not religious.

    May 28, 2009 at 5:52 am |
  10. J.R.

    I understand why gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry but what happens after that. Same-sex marriage will also affect the court systems. If the couple get a divorce who will receive alimony? There are too many factors to acknowledge for us to change the ban.

    May 28, 2009 at 5:49 am |
  11. Billy-Mcewen,Tn.

    What part of the Constitution these gay people from California, don't understand, a Man and a Woman, PERIOD. The people of California have voted on Proposition 8 O.K. so quit whining, with everything going on in this world that is the least of there problem.

    May 28, 2009 at 5:00 am |
  12. taylor

    Marriage should not be a matter of gender. It should be about love and commttment. Whether we agree with each other or not, we are all citizens of this country and we all deserve the same rights. Separate but equal is NOT equal. By denying same-sex couples the right to marry, you're just creating even more divisions between American citizens. We should be working on bringing everyone together, not keeping them apart.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:35 am |
  13. valkyrie22

    Important Distinction;Gay marriage is NOT a right -it is a privilege.There is a BIG difference! I am in favor of Rights for not only Gays , but everyone. However , the Gay movement has not grown up enough to recognize the rights of others. In Colorado, they stretched these rights to include that elementary school kids(mine was 6) must learn about gays in order for them to not beat them up. In California, a doctor's license may now be revoked if they do not perform in-vitro fertilization for gay couples regardless of their own ethical standards. So, be very careful what you grant these "gay-rights" fanatics because they will stretch it out to mean things you could never imagine! Gay people with help of the ADL is now sponsoring a bill to make it a felony to verbally disagree ( interpreted as a hate crime) with Homosexualty(Senate bill 909;Conyers/Kennedy). In other words ,no violence or overt act has even been perpetrated.

    May 28, 2009 at 3:34 am |
  14. Kris

    Hi I'am also gay Male, and i've been with my lover for 28 years OMG like
    America should get over it and let ever one to choose to whome they would like too live their lives with, who ever is stopping us from getting married, and hateing gay people in office should be removed, OMG Hello
    this is 2009, get the with program, But in the end i will still be considered my self married to my man. cuz we both love each to dealth do us apart.:)

    May 28, 2009 at 2:06 am |
  15. tom

    marriage is an important cuz it gives us full benefits same as straight couple have. its has nothing to do with the bible. we dont care about that period!! its about equality!! you hear me CONCERN/DENVER?

    May 28, 2009 at 1:56 am |
  16. dean

    Marriage has a similar definition; just so does as...air, gravity, sun, moon, black, white, right, wrong, male, female...there is no substitute for what "Marriage" stands for. This war is not about equal rights, but about "special rights". There is a clear definition, a clear, meaning and a clear purpose for what "Marriage" stands for. The definition of "Marriage" has always been, and always will be about the permanent relationship of a man and a woman to create and procreate the meaning of life. To those that desire to redefine the "TRUE" definition of "Marriage" find another avenue and find another venue; leave the most pure and important "COVENANT" as is.

    May 28, 2009 at 1:51 am |
  17. jen

    I love this country because we can all vote, DEMOCRACY and that's why Obama won. We voted for prop 8. People in California voted. Stop having a fit. I voted for McCain and Obama won. Should I take it to Supreme Court to overtune that too? Give me a break!

    May 28, 2009 at 1:11 am |
  18. Elaine

    If the conservatives want to defend marriage from the "lavender menace" DON'T GET DIVIRCED!!! Beepers people. Does the word hypocrasy mean anything to you???

    May 28, 2009 at 12:52 am |
  19. Jim

    @ Isabel -" They can Marry who they want" Then it is ok for for a someone to marry a child, inlaw, sibling, animal. What about the "Civil Rights" of those who wish to pray in school that have been violated here in America since the 1960's? @Alexi You want Facts? How many people have to be eyewitnesses to an event or series of events for it to be historical fact? Moses & 600,000 men plus women & children
    " heard" the Voice of God" You & I were not there- was Moses lieing?
    would He lie in Direct violation of Gods law which says" Thou Shalt NOT bear False witness"? If God Did speak He addressesed several issues saying this is right & this is wrong- these are the blessings of obeidiance & these are the consequences of Dis obeidiance. @marc-
    God calls your life style an abomination if there is no God then Anything goes. you had better examine the evidence because the bottom line is the question of wether there is a God we are answerable to or not. think about it.

    May 28, 2009 at 12:01 am |
  20. Chris Wilder

    My maternal ancestors landed in Massachusetts in the 1600s. One of them, Thomas Dudley, was the second governor of the Mass Bay Colony. Others fought in the Revolution to establish this nation. Others fought on the Union side in the Civil War. So explain to me why I deserve less rights than other Americans. Quite bluntly, I deserve civil marriage as much if not more than anyone else in the USA.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:30 pm |
  21. Marco

    Hi. I.m gay, and wanted to give my point of view.
    Why is it so difficult to understand why gays or lesbians want to get married? I'm aware about the fear people suffer about family values, etc. But the primary reason to get married is protection! opportunities!. Medical security that expands for your couple, financial security : better chances to get loans, I guess you understand the point behind this.
    IF the word MARRIAGE on gays or lesbians is so terrible for the hetero world, why not create a new status on the constitution, so gays and lesbians can be socially protected. I will die someday, on a accident or naturally... why not protect the one I most care about and love by being married? Adopting children I admit is very complicated subject and we can put that aside, but at least security and to get same benefits as married couples do should be a legal right for everyone.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:12 pm |
  22. tono-INA

    though i am a gay.. i will not agree to same- sex marriage. i think that no religion is agree about it. so if you belief in any religion. why do not you refer to your holy book. unless you do not belief in god.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:09 pm |
  23. Tusk

    I am not a second class citizen. I will not sit in the back of the bus. What's wrong in America is that ten million of us cannot stand and say those two simple sentences.

    May 27, 2009 at 11:00 pm |
  24. Liza

    Same sex marriage? I don't think so, why are they pushing it? Maybe fight for some kind of a civil right that doesn't involve marriage? Like appoint a beneficiary legally so you are both covered by whatever benefits like in marriage. Supreme Court/Gov't. should give them legal rights especially if they have been together for many years but not thru marriage. Odd enough that you see them kissing each other in public and now kids growing up confused of what family should be like...Two dads or 2 moms or mom and dad?

    May 27, 2009 at 10:59 pm |
  25. LKB

    Agreeing with someone else on here, I, too, strongly believe a marriage or relationship in general is between a man and a woman. Can't make a baby between two men, or two women.

    May 27, 2009 at 10:50 pm |
  26. Mark

    The People of California have spoken in regards to Prop 8. California is normally a very liberal state with a huge conservative base who normally keeps quiet on many issues. We asked and expected the Gay Rights Movement to respect us and leave our children alone and they chose to involve our children throughout this country through educational materials, etc. We have no choice but to continue to strike down any effort that will legitimatize victimizing our children .

    May 27, 2009 at 10:50 pm |
  27. Megan

    Carrie chapman Catt and many other women in the 1910s argued either against womens right to vote or to keep the debate at the state level. It wasn't until ms. Alive Paul brought the topic straight to the federal government that it finally changed. What is it going to hurt heterosexual marraige if homosexuals can marry. Does it nullify hetersoxual love if the government recognizes homosexual love?

    May 27, 2009 at 10:46 pm |
  28. Alexis

    Gays should have equal rights in marriage. What's the problem? The separation of church and state is very clear. We all have the choice to practice religious freedom (which, by the way, includes the freedom to choose not to be religious!), and we should remember that the legality of a marriage is also a freedom. We can't pick and choose what we believe is equal and take a religious position when it suits us.

    May 27, 2009 at 10:42 pm |
  29. carol

    I am responding to marc statement, just because you cannot get married doesn;t mean that you are being discriminated!! Gay couples should recieve equal rights using another word other than marriage. An exanple would be union or united

    May 27, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  30. Als

    I just want the word marriage to stay between a man and a women. I'am for civil unions and equality.

    May 27, 2009 at 9:54 pm |
  31. A. Mason

    I have a question. Since the court left the marriages already done stand, how would the marriage of gays who go to another state to be married and then return to CA be looked at by the state?

    May 27, 2009 at 9:50 pm |
  32. Danny

    If marriage is between a man and a woman, as some claim as biblical truth, then where is marriage even found in the Bible? It is my understanding that our current view of marriage is nothing like unions found in the good book. We currently bar men from having several wives yet that is clearly what happened.

    So why not have a civil union or something else? I want marriage because I don't want second class rights and responsibilities that, currently, only marriage allows.

    Just for a year, lets strip away the rights and responsibilities from marriage to the state of union (or lack thereof) ones state allows for same-sex couples. Watch in awe as countless couples complain that they have to visit lawyers to draw up documents permitting hospital visitation rights, financial rights, etc. Depending on the state, it might take more than the year to gain the over one thousand rights and responsibilities currently afforded to heterosexual partners.

    Would you complain?

    May 27, 2009 at 9:44 pm |
  33. Amanda

    When I was a child, marriage between a black person and a white person was not only socially frowned upon, but was illegal. Today, most people would be appalled to suggest that interracial couples should have less rights than couples of the same race.

    As a Partnered lesbian raising two children, I fail to see why I am still a second-class citizen, as far as marriage is concerned. My Partner and I work full time, pay our taxes (and our bills), we contribute to our community, and are members of a local church.

    Because we live in a "community property" state, if something happens to her, not only would I lose my beloved, I (and our children) would be homeless. Because we are "not related" (according to law), if either of us is injured, the other one cannot speak our wishes to medical staff. Because the children are biologically 'mine', if something happens to me, she would lose her children and they would likely be placed in foster care (at taxpayer's expense).

    Sure, all of these concerns can be addressed through legal means – for a price....a hefty price. We are already paying higher taxes than other (heterosexual/married) couples with children. So, we must BUY rights that are freely given with legal marriage....and we cannot even buy them all.

    How is it that we are NOT "Second-Class Citizens"?

    May 27, 2009 at 9:43 pm |
  34. nadine

    Once again, why is gay-marriage such a problem. If you think it's a sin to be gay, shouldn't God be the judge, not the supreme court? If gay people getting married mocks hetro marriage, why is no one protesting common law marriages? They get health benefits, insurance, financial support like a "regular" married couple. Where's the signs on that one. So God and man say's it ok to have several wives at once but not one wife who's the same sex as you. I guess mormons are ok because they keep to themselves. Hey what if the gay community promised to get married quietly and didn't tell anyone they were married. I wonder if half these protesters would be out there with their signs if no one told them gay people were getting married down the street or in a city that they don't even live in. If were going to ban something I would like to see all prostitution banned but we all know that's not going to happen.

    May 27, 2009 at 9:32 pm |
  35. Alex-NJ

    Marriage, family is to make babies, not for legal sexual act. Any society can live and progress with healthy morality. What you are fighting for is to legalize ability to perform your sexual acts. We all see how is dying our physical body and nobody sees how is soul dying, because not too many know what the soul is.

    May 27, 2009 at 9:31 pm |
  36. Jack, Montauk, NY

    All couples should be "wed" into a civil union at a "wedding" by the state.
    The term "marriage" should be used for religious ceremonies where couples are "wed" at a "wedding" in a church. A marriage is also a civil union recognized by the state..
    All couples then have the same rights by the state.
    But the churches should be able to do what they want, in the same way that a Jewish couple would not be abe to be married in a Catholic church.

    May 27, 2009 at 9:27 pm |
  37. heather

    religious should meddle in this issue because it was God who instituted marrige, I do not understand why gay people want to get married if they do not believe what God – the bible say about it: No memeber of the same sex is aloud to marry each other, If everybody in the world became gay, who would have children?

    May 27, 2009 at 9:19 pm |
  38. Annie Kate

    The map is quite good at seeing the varying degrees of support (and non-support) for same sex marriage. The time-line giving dates and occurrences help in seeing the chronology play out. I was frankly surprised at some of the states who were in the group that gave same sex marriage the least – some of those states I would have though would be more open as opposed to TN and AL who give very little recognition to same sex marriage but were in a group that gave a little recognition. Good map to see where the majority of the work is going to be in getting same sex marriage recognized.

    May 27, 2009 at 8:55 pm |
  39. marc

    I am a gay male and I have been with my partner for 7 years. I don't see why we cannot be married just like anyone else. Its discrimination and it really needs to be delt with.

    May 27, 2009 at 8:27 pm |
  40. Alexi

    In California last summer, there was a concerted effort to strike fear into the hearts of those who find homosexual practice immoral. They were led to believe that religious institutions would soon be forced to perform same-sex marriages, regardless of their moral beliefs. I think that this confusion between private morality and public policy led to the passage of Proposition 8. If there is a way to take the hysteria out of the conversation, to deal ONLY with facts and immediately squelch any misinformation, our country would go a long way to living up to its own constitution.

    May 27, 2009 at 8:24 pm |
  41. concern/denver Colorado

    Marriage is between a man and a woman ..I really do not understand why they must have marriage when half of them do not belive in the bible ..so why press so hard on having something you do not belive in ...why not have civil union ..or something else ..

    May 27, 2009 at 8:19 pm |
  42. Tim Gibson

    Before the religious right sound off on victory in California, they should review Ezekiel Chapter 26.

    May 27, 2009 at 7:47 pm |
  43. Luis (South Carolina)

    Great interactive chronology! I believe that everyone should have the same rights to marry and to be happy. Religion should not be part of it, especially when a decision needs to be made by a Sate. If those that are getting merry then decide to have some type of religious ceremony it will be up them and up to the different congregations to accept them or not. So, the US needs population needs to take a good look at life and live and let other live as well.

    May 27, 2009 at 7:26 pm |
  44. Frank

    I commend the people who have been risking so much in their lives to stand up for what they believe in. I feel that even though there is no evident victory, many battles have been won since the year 2000. At one point over this contraversial debate, I would have been satisfied if the gay community did not have to pay certain taxes or have there own set of taxes but this would mean conforming to what society wants....Again, its not a gay or straight issue. It is about human rights.

    May 27, 2009 at 7:20 pm |
  45. Kevin Ishpeming

    Our government was built on a set of beliefs. If we overturn them one at a time what will we have in the end?

    May 27, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  46. Rose from Muscoy, Calif

    I live in Southern Calif and I didn't vote for Proppsition 8!
    It isn't our business if couples are the same sex. My granddaughter knows the differen't's and she is only 10 years old. She has more sense then the people who are anti-gay!

    May 27, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  47. Isabel, Brazil

    People, whether homosexual or not, deserve equal rights, such as, they can marry who they want.

    I'm a follower and practitioner of a religion, but do not understand why religions should meddle in this issue. People same-sex want the civil marriage, because they pay taxes, contribute to the State and are citizens.

    This is a decision that goes beyond the purely social or religious aspects. It is a matter of law. Or everyone has, or nobody has. And civil matters must be resolved in court impartial.

    May 27, 2009 at 7:02 pm |

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