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Chronology of Anti-Gay Legislation, Actions and Articles

Chronology of Events and Articles

April, 2003, when the U.S. Supreme Court was considering the constitutionality of the Texas anti-sodomy laws, Senator Rick Santorum, the third ranking Republican in the U.S. Senate and a rising star in the party, spoke to a reporter at the Associated Press expressing a belief that homosexuality and adultery between consenting adults should both be considered criminal activities. He gave us a sense of the firestorm that was to follow the court's decision.

"If the Supreme Court says you have the right to consensual sex in your own home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery."

June 26, 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Texas anti-sodomy laws were unconstitutional.

July 1, 2003, President Bush's comments at a press conference opposing gay marriage indicated that he was open to a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage by saying, "I will work with congressional leaders and others to do what is legally necessary to defend the sanctity of marriage."

November 17, 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that under the Massachusetts Constitution, gay couples should have an equal right to legal marriage. These two court decisions have created a huge backlash from the Religious Right.

December 16, 2003, President Bush went further than his previous statement. In an interview with Diane Sawyer of ABC News, he gave tentative support to a constitutional amendment that would preserve marriage as only between a man and a woman.

January 29, 2004 in his State of the Union speech, the President re-iterated his support for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. His language seemed designed to make the Religious Right happy without appearing too extreme to moderate voters. He said:

"if judges insist on forcing their arbitrary will upon the people, the only alternative left to the people would be the constitutional process." more

January 30, 2004, the State Court of Appeals in Kansas ruled that homosexuals having sex with minors can receive harsher punishments than heterosexuals. The ruling rejected an appeal by Matthew R. Limon who was sentenced to more than seventeen years in prison for having sex when he was eighteen years old with a fourteen year old boy. Had Limon's partner been an underage girl, he could have been convicted of unlawful sex under the state's "Romeo and Juliette" law and sentenced, at most, to one year and three months in prison.

Feb. 3 - Ohio has become the 38th state to pass a "defense of marriage" act with one of the most sweeping bans on same-sex unions in the country. more

February 4, 2004, Massachusetts' highest court ruled that starting on May 17 same-sex couples can get married in Massachusetts, making it the only state to permit gay marriage. more

February 7, 2004, Gov. Bob Taft signed legislation making Ohio the 38th state to prohibit the recognition of same-sex unions.

February 7, 2004, the Kansas City, Missouri, Council voted in favor of offering health care benefits to the unmarried domestic partners of its city employees. The Council, which opened a citywide domestic partner registry last year and extended sick leave and funeral leave benefits to include domestic partnerships, estimates that the newly adopted proposal will cost about $250,000 annually.   

February 24, 2004, President Bush officially announced that he supports a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

February 24, 2004, Scott Bloch, President Bush's new appointee heading the Office of Special Counsel (OSC), decided to remove discrimination based on sexual orientation from the list of prohibited personnel practices from the OSC website.

March 11, 2004, the California Supreme Court ordered city officials in San Francisco to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples,

bringing at least a temporary end to a monthlong experiment that had thrust San Francisco to the forefront of a national debate on gay marriage. The court did not rule on the legality of the marriages, nor did it address the constitutional issues raised by city officials in defense of them. It also left open the possibility that the city could issue the licenses again after further review of two lawsuits on the matter.

March 11, 2004, Massachusetts legislators

moved a step closer on Thursday to amending the state Constitution to ban same-sex marriages and establish civil unions for gay and lesbian couples, by passing three preliminary votes on the amendment.

But it was not clear if the measure, which is known as a compromise amendment, would ultimately pass the next legislative hurdle, an opportunity for the amendment to be revised before coming to a final vote. The legislature will reconvene to consider the measure again on March 29.

March 31, 2004, Georgia:

will be one of the first states to put an initiative on the ballot, adding a polarizing social issue to the battle for votes in a presidential election year in which voters are already deeply divided. Utah's Legislature also approved putting a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage on this year's ballot, and a few other states may approve such measures before the end of this year's legislative sessions ... In Georgia, surveys have shown that given the chance most residents would support an amendment restricting marriage to heterosexuals.

May 17, 2004, Massachusetts becomes the first state to allow gay marriage.

January 14, 2004, The Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage is scheduled to come up for a vote in the Senate.

It is heartening to see that the Republicans who had hoped to score political points today by holding a Senate vote on adding a ban on same-sex marriage to the Constitution have run into unexpectedly broad resistance across the ideological spectrum. (New York Times Editorial, July 14, 2004)

July 14, 2004, Senate scuttles vote, Washington Post:

The Senate voted today to block a White House-backed constitutional amendment to bar same-sex marriages, dooming its prospects for approval by Congress this year but ensuring it an emotionally-charged role during campaigns this fall.

The move to cut off debate on the bill got the support of only 48 senators -- 12 short of the 60 needed and 19 short of the two-thirds majority that it would take to amend the Constitution. Fifty senators voted against the proposal.

July 16, 2004, Renewed State Efforts Made Against Same-Sex Marriage, New York Times:

The defeat of a federal constitutional amendment to prohibit same-sex marriage is spurring conservative groups to redouble efforts in a dozen states where similar amendments to state constitutions are likely to be on the ballot this year, proponents of the measures say.

July 22, 2004, with strong backing from the Bush administration, the Marriage Protection Act was adopted in the U.S. House of Representatives 233 to 194. The bill, drafted by Rep. John N. Hostettler (R-Ind.), would strip the federal courts of jurisdiction over legal challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a federal law passed in 1996 that defines marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman. From the Washington Post, July 23, 2004:

But the bill's congressional opponents, several constitutional scholars and a wide array of civil liberties groups called it a nearly unprecedented attack on the constitutional separation of powers among the judicial, legislative and executive branches of government.

From the New York Times July 23, 2004:

Democrats said the measure was an unconstitutional outrage that violated the separation of powers and would deny a group of Americans their right to redress in the courts.

"Republicans have decided that if you are gay, you should be able to get along with just two branches of government," said Representative Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts.

August 3, 2004, Missouri voters overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the State Constitution barring gay marriage, "becoming the first state to answer what has become a growing question since same-sex marriage became legal in Massachusetts." New York Times, August 4, 2004:

Louisiana plans a vote on a marriage amendment on Sept. 18. In November, people in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon and Utah are expected to consider similar measures. Ballot initiatives are awaiting approval in Michigan, North Dakota and Ohio. Four states - Alaska, Hawaii, Nebraska and Nevada - already passed constitutional amendments banning gay marriage before the Massachusetts ruling.

August 12, 2004, New York Times: California Supreme Court Voids Gay Marriages in San Francisco

The California Supreme Court ruled today that more than 4,000 same-sex marriage licenses issued in San Francisco are "void and of no legal effect," dealing a heavy blow to gay rights groups.

From the New York Times, August 14, 2004: "Gay Marriage Becomes a Swing Issue With Pull"

August 19, 2004, the Defense of Marriage Act is upheld by a federal judge. From the New York Times:

A federal law that defines marriage as "a legal union between one man and one woman" is constitutional, a federal judge in Tacoma, Wash., ruled Tuesday. It is the first decision of a federal court to address the constitutionality of the law, the Defense of Marriage Act.

August 21, 2004, New York Times:

OKLAHOMA: SAME-SEX MARRIAGE A member of the Cherokee nation challenged the marriage license issued to a lesbian couple who are tribal members. The women, Dawn McKinley and Kathy Reynolds, were married at Tulsa in May. Todd Hembree, who contested the license, argues that same-sex marriages violated tribal law. A judge in tribal court declined to dismiss the complaint and scheduled a hearing for Dec. 17. Steve Barnes (NYT)

October 18, 2004, Ohio's anti-gay marriage amendment would be the most strident in the nation, Salon.

November 3, 2004: Eleven States Approve Ban on Gay Unions. They are Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon and Utah.

January 20, 2005, New York Times: The State Supreme Court has unanimously reinstated a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage that a lower court judge struck down.

February 2, 2005, Bush said in his State of the Union address: "Because marriage is a sacred institution and the foundation of society, it should not be redefined by activist judges. For the good of families, children and society, I support a constitutional amendment to protect the institution of marriage."

February 5, 2005, Judge's Ruling Opens Window for Gay Marriage in New York City, New York Times

March 11, 2005, ALABAMA: Same-Sex Marriage Ban Advances The Legislature approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriages and refuse to recognize those from other states. The Senate voted 30 to 0 to give final approval to the proposed amendment, which the House passed 85 to 7 on Tuesday. The measure still requires approval by Alabama voters at the next election, scheduled for June 2006. (AP)

March 14, 2005, New York Times:

In a tentative ruling, the judge, Richard A. Kramer of San Francisco County Superior Court, said "the denial of marriage to same-sex couples appears impermissibly arbitrary," thus violating the equal protection clause of the state's Constitution.

April 14, 2005, Connecticut House Votes To Allow Gay Unions, Washington Post

April 14, 2005, Oregon's Supreme Court Rules Gay Marriages Null and Void, New York Times

New York Times National Briefing, SOUTHWEST, April 21, 2005:

TEXAS: MEASURE WOULD BAN GAY FOSTER PARENTS Texas would become the only state to ban homosexuals and bisexuals from becoming foster parents under legislation passed by the House. The ban was an amendment tacked on to a bill that would overhaul the state's troubled Child Protective Services agency. "It is our responsibility to make sure that we protect our most vulnerable children and I don't think we are doing that if we allow a foster parent that is homosexual or bisexual," said the author of the amendment added Tuesday, Representative Robert Talton, Republican of Pasadena. (AP)

District Warned On Gay Marriage, Washington Post, April 21, 2005

Microsoft Comes Under Fire for Reversal on Gay Rights Bill, New York Times, April 22, 2005

TEXAS: SETBACK FOR SAME-SEX MARRIAGE A ban on same-sex marriage would be added to the State Constitution under an amendment approved by the Texas House. New York Times National Briefing, April 26, 2005

Alabama Bill Targets Gay Authors, CBS News, April 26, 2005

Navajo Head Vetoes Gay Marriage Measure, New York Times, May 2, 2005

In a Reverse, Microsoft Says It Supports Gay Rights Bill, New York Times, May 7, 2005

Md. Health Program Blocked Over Curriculum, New York Times, May 7, 2005

Gay Groups Assail Sperm Bank Rule, Washington Post, May 7, 2005

Massachusetts Plans to Revisit Amendment on Gay Marriage, New York Times, May 10, 2005

Nebraska's Ban on Gay Marriage Is Struck Down, Los Angeles Times, May 13, 2005

Just How Gay Is the Right? New York Times, May 15, 2005

Increase in Minimum Wage Among 24 Measures Rejected, Washington Post, May 21, 2005

Top Psychiatric Group Urges Making Gay Marriage Legal, Washington Post, May 23, 2005

Official Says Law Doesn't Cover Gays, Washington Post, May 24, 2005

Gay Rights Battlefields Spread to Public Schools, New York Times, June 9, 2005

Christian Coalition: Gay Warning Labels, Newscenter Staff, June 13, 2005

What's Their Real Problem With Gay Marriage? (It's the Gay Part), New York Times, June 19, 2005

Same-Sex Marriage Advances In Canada; House of Commons Approves Measure, Washigton Post, June 29, 2005

Spain Legalizes Same-Sex Marriages, New York Times, June 30, 2005

United Church of Christ Backs Same-Sex Marriage, New York Times, July 5, 2005

Lavender Revenge? from Concerned Women for America, a leading organization of the Christian Right, July 6, 2005

What the Bible really says about gays, Los Angeles Times, July 18, 2005

Battle Over Gay Marriage Plays Out in Indian Country, Washington Post, August 1, 2005

Lutherans Affirm Ban on Gay Clergy, Washington Post, August 13, 2005

Gays 'Responsible' For New Orleans Devastation Group Claims, 365, August 31, 2005

Calif. Senate Passes Gay Marriage Bill, Washington Post, September 2, 2005

California Legislature Approves Gay Marriage, Washington Post, September 7, 2005

California Governor to Veto Bill Authorizing Same-Sex Marriage, Washington Post, September 8, 2005

Massachusetts Lawmakers Reject Bid to Stop Same-Sex Marriages, Washington Post, September 15, 2005

 Schwarzenegger Vetoes Gay Marriage Bill, Associated Press, September 29, 2005

Connecticut's First Same-Sex Unions Proceed Civilly, Washington Post, October 2, 2005

Bias Ruled in Law On Same-Sex Rape, Washington Post, October 22, 2005

The Alaska Supreme Court ruled it was unconstitutional to bar benefits to the same-sex partners of public employees. Associated Press, October 29, 2005

The Family Values Sideshow, TomPaine, November 4, 2005

Kansas judge orders GAY young adult to ATTEND CHURCH, dailykos, November 4, 2005

Commentary: Gays and the Church, WUBR Radio, November 7, 2005

The World Vision homophobic blog on Brokeback Mountain, plus comments

The AFA's anti-gay conspiracy theories, Talk To Action, December 14, 2005

The Coming Storm in Massachusetts, Talk To Action, December 14, 2005

A Victory Against Bigotry,, December 15, 2005

Common sense trumps theocracy, for now, Talk To Action, December 16, 2005

Virginia House Passes Marriage Amendment, Dailykos, January 13, 2006

Drive-Away Lesson: Persistence, Talk To Action, January 14, 2006 - more on the threat to boycott Ford

Washington House Passes Gay Civil Rights Bill, The Associated Press, January 20, 2006

Black Churches' Attitudes Toward Gay Parishioners Is Discussed at Conference, New York Times, January 21, 2006

Judge Strikes Down Maryland Ban on Gay Marriage, Canton Rep, January 21, 2006

A Sad, Sad Day in Virginia History, Dailykos, January 25, 2006

5 States Consider Bans On Protests at Funerals, Proposals Aimed at Anti-Gay Demonstrations, Washington Post, January 30, 2006

Religious Right gets ABC to pull show, Talk To Action, January 31, 2006

Evangelical Filmmakers Criticized for Hiring Gay Actor, New York Times, February 2, 2006

The Advantage of Promoting Rigid Orthodoxy, Talk To Action, February 3, 2006

Under New Guidelines, Lesbians and Gays May Be Denied Government Jobs , Feminist Majority, March 21, 2006

Focus on The Hate, Talk To Action, March 23, 2006 -- this is about a stunningly twisted political ad that Focus on the Family has put out in Iowa.

Christians Sue for Right Not to Tolerate Policies, Los Angeles Times, April 10, 2006 -- this article discusses a

... a growing campaign to force public schools, state colleges and private workplaces to eliminate policies protecting gays and lesbians from harassment. The religious right aims to overturn a broad range of common tolerance programs: diversity training that promotes acceptance of gays and lesbians, speech codes that ban harsh words against homosexuality, anti-discrimination policies that require college clubs to open their membership to all.

The Right to Intolerance, Talk To Action, April 21, 2006 -- about a campaign targeting gay and lesbian youth

9th Circuit: High school can bar anti-gay T-shirt - for now, The Associated Press, April 21, 2006

Bush Calls for an Amendment Banning Same-Sex Nuptials, New York Times, June 4, 2006

Supporters Lose in Gay Marriage Ban Vote, The Associated Press, June 7, 2006

Stay Tuned, as 2 Churches Struggle With Gay Clergy, New York Times, June 24, 2006

Anti-Gay Marriage Initiatives across the U.S. --an interactive map at NPR

Court Overturns Arkansas Ban on Same-Sex Foster Parents, New York Times, June 30, 2006:

Arkansas cannot bar gay men and lesbians from becoming foster parents because there is no link between their sexual orientation and a child's well-being, the State Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

On a vote of 7 to 0, the justices agreed with a lower court judge that the state's Child Welfare Agency Review Board, which adopted the ban in 1999, had improperly tried to regulate public morality and had violated the separation of powers between the executive branch and the General Assembly , Arkansas's legislature.

NY Court Upholds Gay Marriage Ban, The Associated Press, July 6, 2006

Proposal to Ban Same-Sex Marriage Renews Old Battles, New York Times, July 11, 2006 -- Massachusettes is the only state in which same-sex marriage is legal:

At a constitutional convention on Wednesday, more than two years after the first gay and lesbian couples took their wedding vows, legislators will consider a proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage as solely between a man and a woman. If a quarter of the legislators approve it this year and once more before 2008, the amendment will be presented to voters in November 2008.

In Nebraska and Tennessee, More Setbacks to Gay Rights, New York Times, July 15, 2006

Gay Rights Group: Dobson Manipulated Data, New York Times, July 17, 2006

Federal Marriage Amendment Defeated, Americans United, July 18, 2006

For Springs, domestic partnership an issue in dog days of summer, Rocky Mountain News, July 19, 2006

Washington State Upholds Ban on Same-Sex Marriage, Washington Post, July 27, 2006

Vt. Court Asserts Jurisdiction In Dispute, Washington Post, August 5, 2006

No ADD Here, Truthout, August 23, 2006 -- about a letter that James Dobson has sent out seeking help to defeat twi California initiatives designed to stop discrmination against gays in that state

A Bad Amendment Even if you oppose gay marriage, Virginia's ban would go too far. Washington Post, September 17, 2006

New Jersey Court Backs Full Rights for Gay Couples, New York Times, October 26, 2006

Religious Conservatives Cheer Ruling on Gays as Wake-Up Call, Washington Post, October 27, 3006

Bishops Draft Rules on Ministering to Gays, New York Times, October 29, 2006

3 Christian Groups Move To Condemn Gay Sex, Washington Post, November 15, 2006

At Axis of Episcopal Split, an Anti-Gay Nigerian, New York Times, December 25, 2006

It's A Sin To Tell A Lie: Defusing Religious Right Fibs, New Jersey AG Says Clergy Need Not Do Same-Sex Unions, Wall of Separation, January 12, 2007

Gay Minister's Church Trial Begins
Lutheran Congregation in Atlanta Strongly Supports Its Embattled Pastor, Washington Post, January 20, 2007

Gary DeMar's "Sexual Up-Side-Downism" Talk To Action, February 6, 2007

Ousted Pastor 'Completely Heterosexual' New York Times, February 7, 2007



Last updated: February-2007