BOSTON (AP) — A timeline of events in the campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in the United States:
– 1993: The Hawaii Supreme Court rules that denying marriage to gay couples violates the state constitution, sparking a push in Congress to pass pre-emptive federal legislation.
– 1996: President Bill Clinton signs the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman and denies gay couples a host of federal marriage benefits.
– 1998: Hawaii amends its constitution to give the Legislature sole power over amendments regarding gay marriage. The same day, Alaska voters amend the constitution to limit marriage to heterosexual couples.
– 1999: California becomes the first state to create a domestic partnership law allowing gay couples to receive some protections of marriage. The Vermont Supreme Court rules that same-sex couples must be treated equally to heterosexual couples.
– 2000: A law establishing civil unions goes into effect in Vermont; it gives gay couples some of the protections of marriage. Opponents in Nebraska win a ballot initiative that prohibits the state from recognizing same-sex couples. Over the next decade, similar amendments pass in many other states.
– 2003: The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rules that barring same-sex couples from marrying violates the state constitution, making it the first state to legalize same-sex marriage.
– May 17, 2004: Same-sex weddings begin in Massachusetts.
– 2004: 13 states adopt constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage, including Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan and Mississippi.
– 2008: California court orders legalization. Voters subsequently overturn the ruling and limit marriage to one man and one woman. Connecticut’s high court legalizes same-sex marriage after finding civil unions aren’t equal to marriage.
– 2009: Gay marriage is legalized in Vermont, New Hampshire and Iowa.
– 2010: Marriage licenses become available in the District of Columbia, the first U.S. jurisdiction below the Mason-Dixon line to legalize same-sex marriage.
– 2011: New York becomes the most populous state to approve same-sex marriage.
– 2012: President Barack Obama endorses same-sex marriage; voters approve it in referendums in Maine, Maryland and Washington state.
– 2013: The Hawaii Legislature passes a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. Same-sex couples begin marrying on Dec. 2. Rhode Island, Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey and New Mexico raise the number of states with same-sex marriage to 15.
– June 26, 2013: U.S. Supreme Court overturns a key part of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, allowing married same-sex couples to receive the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples. In a separate ruling, the high court clears the way for same-sex marriages to resume in California.
– 2013: Illinois Legislature legalizes same-sex marriage.
– December 2013 to May 2014: Federal or state judges in Oklahoma, Virginia, Michigan, Texas, Utah, Arkansas and Idaho find bans unconstitutional. Judges order Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee to recognize same-sex marriages from other states. Appeals are pending or promised in all the cases.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.