Gay Love in 2013

Recapping the year that brought DOMA to its knees.
December 18, 2013

Adam and Andrzej at The Stonewall Rally on June 26

There’s no two ways about it: 2013 was a banner year for gay weddings. On the first day of the New Year, Maryland, which had previously recognized same-sex marriages in other jurisdictions, began allowing gay weddings to take place there as well. On May 2, the Rhode Island legislature passed a bill allowing gay unions to begin on August 1. Similarly, Delaware enacted a bill that brought gays together in matrimony beginning July 1. And in a vote of support for Midwestern gays, Minnesota—Michelle Bachman’s home state—voted to allow same-sex marriage on May 14. That bill took effect on August 1.

Although New Mexico law does not specifically allow or ban same-sex marriages, Doña Ana and Santa Fe Counties began issuing gay wedding licenses in August of this year. Now a total of eight counties perform weddings in the state.

In New Jersey, Governor Chris Chrisitie showed his true colors when he tried to appeal the September 27 state superior court decision that found an equal protection guarantee for gays seeking weddings licenses, which, on October 31, the state officially began issuing after Christie dropped his appeal.

One of the first states to explicitly ban gay marriage, Hawaii, finally turned the corner when, on October 30, the state Senate passed a bill to legalize gay marriage. It then passed the state house and was signed by governor Neil Abercrombie (yes, that’s his real name) on November 13 and took effect December 2. That brought the total number of states where gay marriage is legal to 15.

And did you know that although the state of Michigan, which has officially banned same-sex marriage since 2004, does not recognize the proceedings, the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians voted to legalize gay marriage under their tribal jurisdiction this year?

Of course, all of these developments were overshadowed by the landmark June 26 Supreme Court decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act in the case of United States v. Windsor. In the 5-4 decision, the majority opinion called the law “a deprivation of the liberty of the person protected by the Fifth Amendment.” On the same day, in its ruling in the case of Hollingsworth v. Perry, the Supreme Court also struck down California’s Proposition 8, effectively re-legalizing gay marriage there.

As was much discussed this summer, those two measures were especially important in the fight for marriage equality because they meant that the federal government could no longer deny benefits to legally married same-sex couples on the basis of an unconstitutional law. As states continue to move into the 21st Century, the federal government will be there to greet them.

Here’s to 2014!

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