April 25, 2008, Newsletter Issue #81: History of Gay Marriage Laws in America

Tip of the Week

The fight for legalizing gay marriage in America has mostly been conducted through the courts. Here is a quick history of the US laws from various states:

Connecticut was the fifth US state to allow civil unions, and the first to do it without judicial intervention.
Maryland has an appeal in process to allow gay marriage due to begin hearing December 2006.New York doesn't have gay marriage laws, but five separate suits have been filed seeking same-sex marriage. Four of these failed and one succeeded at the trial level. That case was stayed and later reversed.In Oregon in 2004 and 2005, two counties began to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples. The state Supreme Court ruled that the counties had acted against the state's constitution and voided the marriages. The Oregon Supreme Court ruled that the marriages were invalid as the county had acted against the state's constitution.Oregonians voted 57% to 43% to pass a constitutional amendment defining marriage to be between one man and one woman. However, law allowing same-sex civil unions was introduced.Washington state currently bans marriage with the Defence of Marriage Act 1998, but the legislation is open to a challenge to allow same-sex marriage in law.

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