Timeline of same-sex marriage

Timeline of same-sex marriage

A timeline of significant events regarding same-sex marriage and legal recognition of same-sex couples worldwide in modern history, followed by a timeline of notable same-sex marriages and unions.

ignificant events regarding recognition of same-sex couples


* October 10: Supreme Court of Connecticut legalizes same-sex marriage
* August 19: Argentina approves the first nation-wide gay rights measure, extending to same-sex couples the right to claim their deceased partners' pensions
* July 1: Maryland domestic partnership laws become effective.
* June 16: The state supreme court's ruling on Same-sex marriage in California becomes effective at 5:01 pm.
* June 11: Norway legalizes same-sex marriage. Civil unions and domestic partnerships had been available in Norway since 1993, but full marriage was not yet recognised. Norway became the fourth European countryndash after the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain ndash and the sixth country worldwide to legalize same-sex marriages.
* May 22: Maryland governor Martin O'Malley signs into law two bills establishing limited domestic partnership rights in that state.
* May 15: Supreme Court of California legalizes same-sex marriage in the landmark "In re Marriage Cases" ruling.
* March: Civil Union Bill drafted in the Republic of Ireland.
* February 1: Domestic partnership in Oregon take effect after court rescinds injunction.
* January 1: Civil unions in New Hampshire take effect.
* January 1: Civil unions in Uruguay take effect.


* September 18: Maryland Court of Appeals upholds state law banning same-sex marriage, overturning a lower court ruling.
*August 30: Iowa's Defense of Marriage Act was struck down as unconstitutional as a result of a legal challenge. The state has announced plans to appeal, but couples began applying for marriage licenses immediately in anticipation of an injunction. About 20 couples obtained marriage licenses and one couple married before the judge issued a stay of his ruling pending appeal. [ [http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-gaymarriage_websep01,1,4408589.story First Iowa gay marriage shows 'love and justice'] , Rick Pearson, "Chicago Tribune", August 31, 2007]
*June 23: Colombia A landmark gay rights bill was derailed at the last minute by a bloc of conservative senators, but supporters vowed to revive the legislation. The bill, which had been endorsed by conservative President Alvaro Uribe, would have made Colombia the first nation in Latin America to grant gay couples in long-term relationships the same rights to health insurance, inheritance and social security as heterosexual couples. Although states and cities have passed laws allowing gay couples to share assets, no other country in the overwhelmingly Roman Catholic region has done so at a national level. Colombia's Constitutional Court recognized similar rights to shared property and inheritance in February, but the decision did not mention health insurance or social security.
*June 14: In the Massachusetts legislature, a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage is defeated in a vote of 154 against and 46 in favor. 50 votes in favor would have been required for the amendment to go on the ballot for a popular vote in the 2008 elections.
*May 31: The state of New Hampshire legalizes civil unions, to take effect on January 1, 2008.
*May 9: The state of Oregon legalizes domestic partnerships. The law will go into effect on January 1, 2008 (but was delayed 48 hours prior to coming into affect, then after a Court Case in February it was allowed to come into affect from 1 February 2008).
*April 21: The state of Washington legalizes domestic partnerships. The law went into effect on July 22, 2007.
* January 12: The Mexican state of Coahuila legalizes civil unions. It is the first state to do so in Mexico and the second entity (after the government of Federal District, which rules Mexico City). However, the law took effect in Coahuila first.
* January 1: In Switzerland a law of civil unions takes effect.


* December 7: Canada's Members of Parliament rejected Stephen Harper’s motion to re-open the equal marriage debate. The motion was defeated 175–123, and every political party had more MPs supporting same-sex marriage than in the previous vote. The prime minister declared the issue "settled".
* November 28: South Africa's Deputy President, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, signs bill into law, making it an enforceable act. Homosexual couples are legally able to get married under this act as of 1 December 2006. [ [http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=13&art_id=iol116488269569B256 Same-sex marriages now legal in SA] , IOL.co.za]
* November 14: South Africa's parliament approved legislation recognizing same-sex marriage. The bill provides for the "voluntary union of two persons, which is solemnized and registered by either a marriage or civil union." It allows individual marriage officers not to perform a ceremony if doing so conflicts with their "conscience, religion and belief." [ [http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/S/SOUTH_AFRICA_GAY_MARRIAGE S. Africa parliament OKs gay marriages] , Associated Press]
*November 9: The Legislative Assembly of Mexico City passes a civil union law that recognizes same sex couples for the first time in Mexico.
*November 7: In the U.S. elections, Arizona rejects an initiative banning gay marriage. The first state in the country to do so. However, seven other states pass marriage amendments.
* October 25: New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously rules in favor of marriage equality; 4–3 say decision whether to rewrite marriage law or write civil union law for homosexuals (separate but equal debate) is left to the legislature in the next six months. The three dissenting justices dissented because they believed same-sex couples should have the full right to marry [ [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2006/10/26/MNGO5M02DV1.DTL Mixed decision for gay couples in New Jersey] , "San Francisco Chronicle"] .
* July 26: Washington State Supreme Court issues its decision upholding state DOMA laws
* July 23: Slovenia's same-sex civil union law made effective.
* July 6: New York State Court of Appeals rules that the NYS Constitution does not mandate recognition of same sex marriage.
* June 20: The law allowing adoption by same-sex couples is published in the Belgian Official Journal.
* May 18: King Albert II of Belgium signs the bill allowing adoption by same-sex couples into law.
* April 20: Belgium: The Senate approves legislation allowing adoption by same-sex couples with 34 votes in favour versus 33 against with 2 abstentions. The bill has now passed both Chambers and is sent to the King for promulgation on May 4.
* March 15: The Czech Republic passes a law of civil unions, takes effect July 1.


*Uganda [ [http://hrw.org/english/docs/2005/07/12/uganda11307.htm Uganda: Same-Sex Marriage Ban Deepens Repression] ] and Latvia amend their constitutions to ban same-sex marriage.
*December 19: The first civil partnership ceremony in Northern Ireland takes place. Two days later the first ceremonies are held in England and Wales
*December 5: The United Kingdom's legalization of civil partnerships comes into force.
*December 1: Belgium: The Chamber of Representatives approves legislation allowing adoption by same-sex couples with 77 votes in favour versus 62 against with 7 abstentions. The bill is sent to the Senate, which decides to review it on December 14.
*December 1: The Constitutional Court of South Africa finds restrictions on same-sex marriage in South Africa unconstitutional.
*November 8: United States: Texas becomes the 18th state to write a ban on same-sex marriage into its constitution, defining marriage as "the union of one man and one woman" and prohibiting the state from "creating or recognizing any legal status identical or similar to marriage," when voters approved the amendment in the November elections.
*July 19: Canada: the "Civil Marriage Act" (Bill C-38) is passed by the Canadian Senate. It became law on July 20 after receiving Royal Assent.
*June 30: Spain: The Congress of Deputies passed the same-sex marriage bill for a second time, overruling the rejection of the Spanish Senate a week before. The law took effect on July 3, after it was publicized in the official government registry.
* June 28: Canada: Canadian House of Commons passes Bill C-38, which will legalize same-sex marriage.
* June 23: Canada: A judge in New Brunswick rules that same-sex couples have the right to equal marriage in that province.
*June 5: A referendum is passed in Switzerland giving same sex couples the same inheritance and tax rights as married heterosexual couples. Switzerland's is a direct democracy and this referendum is binding.
*May 12: United States: A federal judge in Omaha strikes down Nebraska's sweeping ban on same-sex marriages, civil unions, domestic partnerships, and other same-sex relationships. U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon ruled that the ban, known as Initiative 416, violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. This is the first state constitutional provision banning same-sex marriage to be ruled unconstitutional.
*April 21: marriage bill passed by Spain's lower house of parliament.
*April 7: United States: The Connecticut State Senate passes legislation that legalizes same-sex civil unions. On April 13, the bill is passed through the Connecticut House of Representatives with the added "marriage is between a man and a woman" definition. The bill is sent back to the Senate for approval. Finally, on April 20, the State Senate approved the amended bill by a vote of 26-8 and Republican Governor Jodi Rell signed the same-sex civil union bill into law.
*April 7: United States: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg orders city agencies to recognize legal same-sex marriages from other states and countries. This order will give same-sex couples who married in places such as Massachusetts or Canada rights that couples recognized under the city's existing domestic partnership law do not have, including the power to make life-or-death medical decisions. Same-sex spouses will also be able to collect worker's compensation if a partner dies.
*March 14: United States: Judge Richard Kramer of San Francisco County Superior Court said California's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.
*February 22: United Kingdom: The British government announces December 5, 2005 as the implementation date for the Civil Partnership Act. Ceremonies can begin from December 19, 2005 in Northern Ireland, December 20 in Scotland and December 21 in England and Wales, after the mandatory waiting period, although under special circumstances the waiting period can be waived.
*February 1: Canada: Bill C-38, which would extend civil marriage rights to same-sex couples across all of Canada, introduced in the House of Commons.
*January 27: Sweden: The Swedish government announces the launching of a report into whether same-sex marriage should be legalized.
*January 19: United States: The Louisiana Supreme Court reinstated the anti-gay marriage amendment that had been struck by a District Judge in October, 2004. [ [http://www.courttv.com/news/gaymarriage/011905_louisiana_ap.html Louisiana high court reinstates anti-gay marriage amendment] ]


* Luxembourg passes a law of civil unions and takes effect.
* December 9: Canada: Acting on a reference question from Parliament, the Canadian Supreme Court states that a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Canada would be constitutional. Prime Minister Paul Martin says his government will introduce same-sex marriage legislation in January.
* December 8: Israel: The Israeli government indicates that it will recognize same-sex partnerships for certain benefits, and will introduce legislation formalizing this status.
* December 8: New Zealand: Parliament passes civil union legislation by 65 votes to 55. The new law provides a way for de facto couples, including same-sex couples, to gain legal recognition of their relationships, but stops short of same-sex marriage.
* November 30: South Africa: A South African court rules that the common law concept of marriage must be extended to include same-sex couples. Although the ruling does not immediately permit same-sex marriage in South Africa, it is considered a major step in that direction.
* November 26: Canada: In one of Canada's largest class-action lawsuits, the Ontario Court of Appeal upholds a lower court ruling whereby Canadians whose same-sex partners died after April 1985 are entitled to Canada Pension Plan survivors' benefits.
* November 17: United Kingdom: The British House of Lords passes the Civil Partnership Act to allow same-sex couples to obtain civil partnerships. This is the final legislative hurdle for the bill, becomes law on receiving Royal Assent by Queen Elizabeth II on November 18. Gay couples had to wait until December 2005 before the act comes into force, the delay being necessary to allow administrative changes.
* November 9: Ireland: An Irish High Court judge rules that a lesbian couple who married in Canada may proceed with their case seeking to have their marriage recognized for the purposes of Irish tax law.
* November 5: Canada: A judge in Saskatchewan rules that same-sex couples must enjoy the right to equal marriage in that province.
* November 4: Canada: Two lesbian couples denied marriage licenses file a lawsuit against the governments of Canada and of Newfoundland and Labrador, asking for the legalization of same-sex marriage in that province.
* November 3: United States Results of November 2 vote confirms that state constitutional amendments prohibiting same-sex marriage are passed in eleven states: Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Ohio, Oregon, and Utah. The measures in Oregon, Mississippi, and Montana bar same-sex marriage only; those in the other states bar civil unions and domestic partnerships as well; and Ohio bars granting any benefits whatsoever to same-sex couples.
* October: United States: Louisiana - District Judge William Morvant of Baton Rouge struck down the amendment, approved by voters in September, on the grounds that it violated a provision of the state constitution requiring that an amendment to cover only one subject; the amendment prevented the state from recognizing any legal status for common-law relationships, domestic partnerships and civil unions between both gay and heterosexual couples. [ [http://www.courttv.com/news/gaymarriage/011905_louisiana_ap.html Louisiana high court reinstates anti-gay marriage amendment] ]
* September 18: United States: Louisiana voters ratified a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as only between a man and a woman. [ [http://media.www.thehullabaloo.com/media/storage/paper958/news/2004/10/01/News/Louisiana.Marriage.Amendment.Passes.With.78.Percent-1987946.shtml?sourcedomain=www.thehullabaloo.com&MIIHost=media.collegepublisher.com Louisiana marriage amendment passes with 78 percent] ]
* August 13 : Australia bans same-sex marriage. See [ [http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200408/s1176437.htm Same-sex marriage ban 'a milestone for values'. 14/08/2004. ABC News Online ] ]
* May 17: United States: Massachusetts - first legal same-sex marriages in the US performed.
* February 20: In New Mexico, Sandoval County clerk Victoria Dunlap issues marriage licenses to more than 60 same-sex couples until stopped by the state attorney general later that day, declaring them invalid; 26 couples were married by local pastors on the courthouse steps that day, and most of the other couples who received licenses married elsewhere. A district court later issued an injunction prohibiting Dunlap from issuing licenses to same-sex couples. Dunlap's motion to the state supreme court to lift the restraining order was rejected on July 8.
* February 12: United States, California: Newly-elected San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom issues the first same-sex marriage certificates in the US, purely as an exercise of executive power. These certificates were later nullified by the California Supreme Court.
* February 6 : A new circular by Belgian Minister of Justice Laurette Onkelinx allows all binational same-sex marriages. To get married, whatever the sex, one of future spouses must be either Belgian or a registered resident, that means more than 3 months legal stay in Belgium. This prevents "matrimonial tourism".


* November 18: United States: Massachusetts: decision in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health
* July 14: Croatia: Same-sex union law accepted by Croatian parliament Sabor. It grants same-sex partners cohabitated at least of 3 years the same rights as enjoyed by unmarried cohabiting opposite sex partners; only inheritance and financial support. [ [http://www.nn.hr/clanci/sluzbeno/2003/1584.htm 116 22.7.2003 Zakon o istospolnim zajednicama ] ] Croatia was one of the first former socialist states that recognized same sex couples, after Hungary.
* June 17: Canada: The Canadian government announces that it will not appeal the Ontario appeals court ruling that permitted same-sex marriage. Instead, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien indicates that his government will introduce legislation to change the definition of marriage.
* June 10: Canada: The Ontario Appeals Court rules that the law restricting marriage to heterosexual couples contravenes the equality provisions in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The court does not permit the province any grace time to bring its law in conformity with the ruling. Thus Ontario has become the first jurisdiction in North America to recognize same-sex marriages. Toronto announces that its city clerk will begin to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and two same-sex couples who filed suit have their marriages retroactively recognized. On June 11 the attorney general of Ontario announces that his government will conform to the court ruling.
* June 1: Belgium: The law permitting same-sex civil marriage comes into force. A circular by Minister of Justice Marc Verwilghen limits it to marriage between Belgians or between Belgian and Dutch persons.
* May 1: Canada: The British Columbia Court of Appeal becomes the first provincial court of appeal to rule that the Canadian government must legally recognize same-sex marriage.
* February 28: Belgium: The law extending civil marriage to same-sex couples is published in the Belgian Official Journal. In accordance with article 23 of the law, it will come into force on the first day of the fourth month after that in which it was published.
* February 13: Belgium: King Albert II signs the bill extending civil marriage to same-sex couples into law.
* January 30: Belgium: The Chamber of Representatives approves legislation extending civil marriage to same-sex couples with 91 votes in favour versus 22 against with 9 abstentions. The bill has now passed both Chambers and is sent to the King for promulgation.


* December 13: Argentina: The City Legislature of Buenos Aires passes bill 1004 to provide a same-sex civil union registry.
* November 28: Belgium: The Senate approves legislation extending civil marriage to same-sex couples with 46 votes in favour versus 15 against with 4 abstentions. The bill is sent to the Chamber of Representatives.
* July 12: Canada: Ontario Superior Court of Justice rules that January 14, 2001 marriages are legal, but stays judgement pending appeal. (Upheld June 10, 2003; see Same-sex marriage in Ontario.)
* June 5: Sweden: Law passed allowing same-sex couples to apply for adoption.


* September 28: Finland: The Eduskunta (Parliament of Finland) passes a law on the "registered partnership", which allows two members of the same sex to register their partnership and gain much of the same rights and duties as married couples. (Adoption was not included.) The law came into force on March 1, 2002. [ [http://www.seta.fi/fi/setafi6424.htm Approved Finnish legislation on same-sex partnerships] ]
* August 1: Germany has allowed civil unions for same-sex couples.
* April 1: The Netherlands: Laws that permit marriage for same-sex couples and grant same-sex couples adoption rights come into effect. Four same-sex couples are married at the stroke of midnight by the Mayor of Amsterdam. Civil servants in charge of marrying couples in the Netherlands are allowed to refuse to marry gay couples if they claim they are morally opposed to it, but only if they had been hired before the legalization. Anyone hired after that date cannot refuse to do so without being fired.
* March 15: Portugal: The existing "União de Facto" law (non-registered civil partnership) is changed to include same-sex partners. Child adoption is only allowed for "opposite-sex partners".
* January 14: Canada: Two same-sex marriages were performed in Ontario, of Kevin Bourassa to Joe Varnell and Elaine Vautour to Anne Vautour, by Rev. Brent Hawkes. [cite web
title=Record of Marriage
signed by Rev. Brent Hawkes
] Although registration of the marriages was initially denied, a successful court challenge upheld their legality on June 10, 2003, thus retroactively making them the first legal same-sex marriages in modern times. [cite web
title=The first legal gay marriage is now certified
Certificate of marriage, issued June 11, 2003.


* December 21: The Netherlands: Queen Beatrix signs the marriage bill into law. It went in effect on April 1, 2001
* December 19: The Netherlands: The Upper House of Parliament approves legislation that opens marriage for same-sex couples.
* September 12: The Netherlands: The Lower House of Parliament approves legislation that opens marriage for same-sex couples with majority of 109 against 33 votes.


* November: France: The French Parliament approves legislation (art. 515-1 et s. Code civil) that::# creates civil unions for gay and straight couples (called "Pacte civil de solidarité" abbreviated as "PaCS"); and:# redefines the non-registered partnership as the stable union between two adults regardless of their gender (before this law, previous decisions of the French highest Court ruled that there could be no couple without appearance of marriage, therefore excluding gay people from any vision of family).


* January 1 - The Netherlands - civil union legalized.


* Iceland civil unions legalized.


* January 1 : Sweden - civil unions (named registered partnership) into force (law: June 23, 1994).
* Hungary - Unregistered cohabitation granted Domestic Partnership level rights.


* August 1 - Norway - civil union in force (law: April 30, 1993)


* October 1: Denmark: World's first modern legally recognized same-sex unions called "registered partnership"


* May 18: United States, Minnesota: Jack Baker and James Michael McConnell apply for a marriage license in Hennepin County, Minnesota. The license is denied, and this denial was appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which refused to hear the case. See the court opinion in Baker v. Nelson. (In 1971, they obtain a marriage license from another Minnesota county, and are married before a Methodist minister in Minneapolis.)

Notable same-sex unions


* June 17 - California: George Takei, actor, and Brad Altman.


* December 27 - Cardiff, Wales: John Barrowman, actor/singer, and Scott Gill, architect.
* December 17 - London, England: Matt Lucas, comedian, and Kevin McGee, TV producer.
* November 3 - Lanarkshire, Scotland: Jill Jackson, Scottish musician, and Johnna Iratcabal.
* September 16 - Venray, Netherlands: Michelle Courtens, Dutch singer, and Carlijn.
* August 18 - Enghien, Belgium: Anne-Laure Sibon fr icon, French singer, and Belgian Vanessa Delcourt.


* December 21 - Windsor, Berkshire: Elton John, musician, and David Furnish, filmmaker.


* December - Ipswich,Massachusetts: Arthur Finkelstein, right-wing political operative (responsible for the elections of New York Governor George Pataki, former US Senator Jesse Helms, former US Senator Alfonse D'Amato), and his personal partner of many years.
* September 10 - Toronto, Canada: Uzi Even, former Israeli Knesset member, and Amit Kama (legal civil marriage)
* August 1 - Boston, Massachusetts: Cheryl Jacques, former Massachusetts State Senator and gay rights activist, and Jennifer Chrisler (legal marriage)
* April 1 - Quebec, Canada: Michael Hendricks and René Leboeuf, first same-sex couple to legally marry in Quebec
* March 8 - San Francisco, California: Jackie Goldberg, State Assemblywoman, and Sharon Sticker (marriage later voided by a decision of the California Supreme Court)
* February 26 - San Francisco, California: Rosie O'Donnell, Television personality, and Kelli Carpenter (marriage later voided by a decision of the California Supreme Court)
* February 12 - San Francisco, California: Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, life-long gay activists (marriage later voided by a decision of the California Supreme Court)
*Pursuit of Equality is an Award Winning documentary that documents the same-sex marriages that took place in San Francisco, CA


* November 15 - British Columbia, Canada: Ted Nebbeling, former BC Cabinet Minister, and Jan Holmberg (legal civil marriage)
* September 20 - Malibu, California: Melissa Etheridge, Grammy-award winning singer, and Tammy Lynn Michaels, actress (private union ceremony)


* January 4 - Stockholm, Sweden: Per-Kristian Foss, Norwegian Finance minister (2001-2005), and Jan Erik Knarbakk (Norwegian legal union at the Norwegian Embassy)


* October 1 - Copenhagen, Denmark: Axel Axgil and Eigil Axgil, gay rights campaigners and businessmen, world's first legal civil union in modern history. Their last name is a combination of their first names.


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