Huge advances for gay marriage in an eventful year

By From page A8 | June 27, 2014

One year ago, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a pair of landmark rulings, one striking down the statute that denied federal recognition to same-sex marriages and the other clearing the way for gay couples to wed legally in California.

In the 12 months since then, the ripple effects of those rulings have transformed the national debate over same-sex marriage, convincing many people on both sides that its spread nationwide is inevitable.

From the East Coast to the Midwest and the Pacific, seven more states legalized same-sex marriage, boosting the total to 19, plus Washington, D.C. The Obama administration moved vigorously to extend federal benefits to married gay couples. And in 17 consecutive court decisions, federal and state judges have upheld the right of gays to marry. Not a single ruling has gone the other way.

A look back at some of the notable developments since June 26, 2013:



On July 1, five days after the high court rulings, two men who had been partners since 1989 tried to obtain amarriage license at a courthouse in Norfolk, Virginia. Timothy Bostic and Tony London were turned down, and filed a lawsuit a few weeks later arguing that Virginia’s treatment of gays and lesbians was unequal in depriving them of the many benefits of marriage.

Another gay couple was later added to the case, and in February a federal judge, Arenda L. Wright Allen, ruled in their favor, saying Virginia’s ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional.



Moments after midnight on Oct. 21, gay couples began exchanging vows in New Jersey as their state became the 14th to allow same-sex marriages. A state judge, in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court decisions, had ruled in September that New Jersey’s provisions for civil unions were not adequate to ensure equality forgay couples. The state’s politically ambitious Republican governor, Chris Christie, had fought for years againstgay marriage, but within hours of the first weddings he dropped his still-pending appeal of the court ruling.

“The governor will do his constitutional duty and ensure his administration enforces the law,” a statement from his office said.



In the span of a week, the governors of Hawaii and Illinois signed laws passed by the legislature legalizing same-sex marriage.

In Hawaii, tourism officials looked ahead to the possibility of becoming a gay wedding mecca. Some activists looked back — recalling that Hawaii was an early battleground in the gay marriage debate.

The state Supreme Court had ruled in 1993 that gay couples should have marriage rights, triggering a backlash that included congressional passage of the Defense of Marriage Act in 1994. It was a key part of that act — forbidding the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages — that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a year ago.

In Illinois, Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn signed the marriage bill on a desk once used by President Abraham Lincoln. Among those speaking at the ceremony was state Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, a Republican.

“History will show that we got it right on this one,” she said. “I am available to be a flower girl, and I’ll even waive the fee.”



New Mexico became the 17th state to legalize same-sex marriage on Dec. 19, through a unanimous ruling by the state Supreme Court.

Some opponents discussed trying to overturn the ruling with a ballot measure, but that effort gained no traction. The Republican governor, Susana Martinez, urged New Mexicans to “respect one another in their discourse” and turn their focus to other issues.

A day after that ruling, a federal judge in Utah created even bigger waves, striking down the ban ongay marriage that voters in the conservative state had approved in 2004. It was the first of more than dozen similar rulings to follow by judges in other states.

U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby, a former Army combat engineer, said in his 53-page decision that Utah failed to show how allowing same-sex marriages would harm opposite-sex marriages in any way.

“In the absence of such evidence, the state’s unsupported fears and speculations are insufficient to justify the state’s refusal to dignify the family relationships of its gay and lesbian citizens,” he wrote.

More than 1,000 gay and lesbian couples wed in Utah before Shelby’s ruling was stayed.



Late in the afternoon of Friday, May 9, a county circuit judge in Little Rock struck down Arkansas’ 10-year-old ban on gay marriages.

A week passed before Judge Chris Piazza’s ruling was stayed by the state Supreme Court, creating an opening in which more than 540 gay couples received marriage licenses — the first batch of gay weddings in the former Confederacy.

In Oregon, U.S. District Judge Michael McShane threw out the state’s same-sex marriage ban on May 18. Oregon swiftly became the 18th state to allow gay marriage, since top government officials had refused to defend the ban.

The next day, on the other side of the country, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III struck down Pennsylvania’s marriage law.

“We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history,” Jones wrote in his decision.

Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, though opposed to gay marriage, said he would not appeal, and Pennsylvania became the 19th state where gay couples could wed.



As the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage rulings approached, marriage-equality lawsuits were pending in all 31 of the states that still barred gays from marrying.

On Wednesday, a federal judge in Indiana struck down that state’s ban. And more notably, the first ruling was issued at the level of the federal appellate courts. A 2-1 decision from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Shelby that Utah’s gay-marriage ban was unconstitutional.

It’s possible that in another year, the issue could be back before the U.S. Supreme Court — with the justices facing a clear-cut choice on whether to rule that gay marriage must be allowed in every state.


The Associated Press

The Associated Press


Discussion | 12 comments

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  • 2realJune 27, 2014 - 5:53 am

    Gay gay gay gay gay. Sick of it. Go back in the closet!

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  • GodJune 27, 2014 - 6:03 am

    Squeals from a gay h*m*phobe. You're going to H E double hockey sticks little boy.

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  • JimboJune 27, 2014 - 4:00 pm

    So tell us, which one of those big bad scary gays made you not only click on the story but also click several times to respond? All I see in your post is someone trying to hold their own closet door shut.

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  • Teach5thJune 27, 2014 - 8:45 am

    We talk to kids about making up their own minds and not giving in to peer pressure. Yet, not too long ago adults voted against gay marriage in California and other states, and both Obama and Hillary were against it. Then, because Obama and Hillary have no real convictions, they "evolved" to now be in favor of it, as did many people in California and the U.S. The name calling of those mostly liberal folks has morphed to now include those who oppose gay marriage. Now, the first thing "God" calls 2real is homophobe. Like calling someone "racist", that's supposed to convince someone not to speak his/her mind. Peer pressure is alive and well in our adult community; no wonder kids give in to it!

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  • Teach5thJune 27, 2014 - 8:55 am

    Let's try this again (the 1st response didn't make it past ???). We teach kids not to give in to peer pressure, yet the adults who model behavior that kids emulate, give in to pressure from other adults all the time. Gay marriage used to be opposed by most in the U.S., including Obama and Hillary. Now, many without real convictions about anything have "evolved". If you write anything in opposition to what the libs/press believe in, you are challenged and hopefully shut up by their name calling. Why shouldn't they do that since they proved by calling folks "r*c*st scared folks? Look at the above post. Call someone a h*m*phobe should shut them up, right "God"?

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  • CD BrooksJune 27, 2014 - 9:06 am

    Teach5th, kids dealing with peer pressure is one thing. Emulating parents quite another. As adults we are supposed to be good examples and set proper guidelines for our kids. As I always say when folks drive their kids anywhere, they are so terrible at driving and have so few social skills, the kids learn the really bad stuff from them. If we didn't pass our prejudice and poor skills onto our children they would be much better off. When we become successful at that, everything else will take care of itself. BTW, that "God" comment was "gay h*m*phobe..."

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  • Teach5thJune 27, 2014 - 9:13 am

    So "God" knows 2real well enough to know his s*x*al preference?

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  • CD BrooksJune 27, 2014 - 9:25 am

    Teach5th, that is funny

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  • JimboJune 27, 2014 - 4:05 pm

    Says someone who apparently caves to one groups religious peer pressure their entire lives. Even many churches that were against gay people getting married stood up to the PEER pressure from other religious groups and churches and have been openly performing marriages on same sex couples. So they come online hiding behind anonymous profiles to tantrum like children.

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  • 2realJune 27, 2014 - 5:23 pm

    Straight pride over here baby! Im a grown man for the record. God bless

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  • JimboJune 27, 2014 - 6:07 pm

    So what equality are you fighting for? Gay pride is not truly a way where people just go, "HEY LOOK AT ME I'M GAY! YAY!" No, it's a way to show that the homosexual community is fighting for equality and therefore must make themselves noticed (thus why there are gay parades). Until homosexuals get the legal equality they deserve (I say "legal" because they probably won't be treated equally in certain situations that are legal, just like other minorities) then gay pride will continue so the homosexual community can be recognized and not ignored. It helps people realize that "Hey, they're still doing that parade thing, aren't they? I guess they still need to be recognized and have their equal rights." Yet once they are legally said to be equal and have the same respects of the law as everyone else does, then I can almost guarantee that after their is a huge celebration to celebrate the day when homosexuals got their equality, gay pride and parades will diminish greatly, and that only once every year will you see a big parade to celebrate that day the homosexual community got their equality.

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  • The SugarJarJune 27, 2014 - 7:03 pm

    straight pride is kind of like white pride, if you can understand what that means. if you cant, its a longer conversation.

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