The Battle Over the Definition of Marriage - Timeline

A timeline of how homosexual activists have pressed their case to legitimize homosexual relationships as being legally and socially equal to traditional marriage.

by DALE O’LEARY 06/26/2013

WASHINGTON — The history of the battle over the definition of marriage is part of a larger movement to change laws and public opinion on homosexuality. The issue is complex because the wording of laws on marriage, the rules for amending the state constitutions, the various court precedents and the wording of proposed laws and amendments differ from state to state.

Those desiring to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples have focused their efforts on the courts and liberal-leaning legislatures, while the defenders of marriage as the union of one man and one woman have been most successful when the issue is put to the people through a referendum process.

In 1969, the Stonewall Riot in New York City sparked the “gay pride" movement.

In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association responded to pressure from homosexual militants who threatened to disrupt their national conference by removing homosexuality from its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. According to Ronald Bayer, who supported the decision, “The result was not a conclusion based on an approximation of scientific truth as dictated by reason but was instead an action demanded by the ideological temper of the times.”

In 1981, the first cases of what would later be called AIDS were reported. Since then, more than 300,000 men who have had sex with men with AIDS have died. Homosexual activists used AIDS prevention programs to promote the “gay agenda” in schools.

In 1993, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that the state’s prohibition of same-sex “marriages” amounted to discrimination on the basis of sex. In 1998, the people of Hawaii responded to the ruling by amending their state Constitution to authorize the Hawaii Legislature to enact a statutory ban on same-sex “marriage.”

In 1996, concerned that other states would be forced to recognize same-sex “marriages” performed in Hawaii, the U.S. Congress passed the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which restricted federal marriage benefits and required inter-state marriage recognition to only opposite-sex marriages. DOMA was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

In 1999, the Vermont Supreme Court ruled in Baker v. Vermont that same-sex couples could enter civil unions. In 2009, the Vermont Legislature extended marriage to same-sex couples.

In 2000, Nevada and Nebraska passed referendums defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

In 2003, ruling in Lawrence v. Texas, the Supreme Court struck down laws against sodomy.

The Massachusetts Decision

In its 2003 Goodridge v. Department of Public Health decision, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court redefined marriage as “the exclusive and permanent commitment of marriage partners to one another” with no reference to the sex of the persons. The court recognized that their decision marked “a significant change in the definition of marriage,” but argued that their decision did not “undermine the institution of civil marriage,” since the plaintiffs “do not want marriage abolished.”

The concurring opinion in this case by Justice John Greaney spoke to those who disagreed with the decision: “Simple principles of decency dictate that we extend to the plaintiff, and to their new status, full acceptance, tolerance and respect. We should do so because it is the right thing to do.”

However, in the 10 years since the decision, Massachusetts has denied tolerance and respect to those who disagree with the decision. Catholic adoption agencies were closed because they would not place children with same-sex couples. Schools have pushed the “gay agenda” starting in kindergarten, and parents have been told they have no right to remove their children or present an alternate point of view. Plays promoting the “gay agenda” and ridiculing religion have been publicly funded and objections to them ignored.

In 2004, 13 states passed amendments to their state constitutions defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. This was followed by two states in 2005, eight states in 2006 and three states in 2008. North Carolina approved a state amendment in 2012, for a total of 31.

In 2008, the people of California approved Proposition 8, which declared: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” In 2010, Proposition 8 was declared unconstitutional in the district court. This case was appealed and reached the Supreme Court in March of 2013, along with a challenge to DOMA.


After a string of successful referendum campaigns, in 2012, a referendum defending marriage failed to pass in Minnesota, after which the state Legislature passed a law redefining marriage. Today, 13 states have redefined marriage to include same-sex couples, either by court order or legislation. In several states, the legislation was subsequently approved by popular vote. In addition, seven states have approved some form of civil unions.

In April of 2012, the National Organization for Marriage, which is a leader in the movement to defend marriage as the union of one man and one woman, announced that a list of donors it had provided to the Internal Revenue Service had been obtained by the homosexual-rights group Human Rights Campaign and published. Disclosing confidential information from tax returns is a federal crime. Donors so identified reported being harassed, and spokesmen for NOM charged that the disclosure of donors had negatively affected contributions to their work.

The change in momentum may be linked to media bias. The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism reviewed nearly 500 stories on marriage in January and February of 2013 and found that, by a 5-to-1 margin, they favored legalizing same-sex “marriage.”

On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court struck down DOMA and found that those defending Prop. 8 had no standing, effectively upholding the lower court ruling striking it down.


Homosexuals rejected marriage, and now they want their relationship to be considered the same as the very thing they reject.

If they really believe that SSM is the same as marriage between one man and one woman why are they against marrying the opposite sex?

It makes zero sense.


I think that they still reject marriage. Do they really want a life-long indissoluble union, with fidelity to only one partner for life, and no extramarital sex? I would also ask if their union is open to life, but by its very nature it cannot be. It cannot be marriage because it is not conjugal. It is like a child pretending to be an adult, a nice game but not real.

Well, that description does not apply to civil marriage in the US because civil marriage allows divorce and so is not “indissoluble”. The SCOTUS rulings apply to civil marriage, not to Catholic marriage, in just the same way as the laws n divorce apply to civil marriage and not to Catholic marriage…

I would also ask if their union is open to life, but by its very nature it cannot be. It cannot be marriage because it is not conjugal.

Civil marriage can be valid if the bride has passed her menopause or if there is some other problem so that the marriage is not “open to life”. Civil marriage and Catholic marriage differ on a number of points. The SCOTUS rulings only apply to civil marriage.


Yes, Catholic marriage can also be valid if the bride has passed her menopause; the union can still be conjugal because the couple can still engage in conjugal relations. Same sex couples cannot.

It’s true that divorce has wreaked havoc on the institution of marriage, pretty much undermining it. Were it not already undermined, I doubt that gays would want it.

But, this gives them an inch. they will now want the mile. I’m sure we will see lawsuits against the Church or pressure for the CC to recognize their marriages and such and so forth or be married by the Church. it’s only a matter of time.

This is what scares me. I believe lawsuits will be coming against the church to try to bankrupt it and who know how the government will rule.

Ironic thing… the ppl of california voted to have marriage be defined as one man one woman… it passed, and now its legal in california for ‘gays’ to be ‘married’… so much for voting counting.

How many lawsuits have there been from divorced couples wanting to marry in a Catholic Church? How many of those lawsuits have succeeded? How long has it been since civil divorce has been legal?

Predicting dire consequences that then don’t happen only makes you look like a false prophet.


And if they had voted for all firearms to be banned in California it would have been thrown out as unconstitutional as well. It cannot be legal in California if it is against the US Constitution, the Constitution takes legal precedence.


Democracy is not just about a plurality of votes. It’s also about constitutional protection of minority rights. If it were just a matter of number of votes, then it would be possible for instance, for a state to pass a racist law, and instead of a democracy you’d have mob rule.

The issue here isn’t whether there was plurality of votes involved, but whether same-sex marriage is a matter subject to constitutional protection. Your Supreme Court seems to think so.

They didn’t take into acount that it PASSED. Which means their votes obviouslyl did not count. I do not nor will I respect or reconize ‘gay marriage’, in any state. It goes against God.

These ‘churches’ definetly aren’t Christian… good to know who to stay away from.

Cathedral spokesman Richard Weinberg said the bells rang at noon Wednesday for 45 minutes to an hour. Bells also rang at other Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian, Unitarian and other Christian churches

That isn’t what the supreme court said at all. The state of CA refused to defend the law and the supreme court said they can’t hear a case where the side charged to defend the law refuses to do so.

SCOTUS didn’t rule Prop 8 as unconstitutional. They left the issue open for further challenges. The District court ruling is not binding authority on the issue.

That’s why the Pope called the culture a dictatorship of relativism.

Indeed it did not, the California court ruled it unconstitutional. The Federal court did too, but the Supremes have now said that the Federal court shouldn’t have ruled so the only legal ruling left standing is the one from the California court, which ruled Prop 8 unconstitutional.


But its not unconstituional if the people voted for it… its the disgusting left in california. We outta get all the red states together and form our own country.

First will come lawsuits against companies in states that do not recognize gay marriage. Even though the state does not recognize gay marriage, if a company located in that state does interstate business with a state that does, or does business with the government, it will be sued to provide benefits to partners of same sex couples, thereby getting around state law or even a vote for a change in state law. Big companies will cave in first, followed by smaller companies. Small business owners who do not provide benefits for same sex partners will be vilified and called homophobic.

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