2011 - June 24, New York passes a law to allow same-sex marriage. New York is now the largest state that allows gay and lesbian couples to marry. The vote comes on the eve of the city's annual Gay Pride Parade and gives new momentum to the national gay-rights movement. The marriage bill is approved with a 33 to 29 vote. Cheering supporters greet Gov. Andrew Cuomo as he arrives on the Senate floor to sign the measure at 11:55pm, just moments after the vote. After making same-sex marriage one of his top priorities, Cuomo emerges as a true champion of gay rights.
2012 - February 7, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California rules 2–1 that Proposition 8, the 2008 referendum that banned same-sex marriage in state, is unconstitutional because it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. In the ruling, the court says, the law "operates with no apparent purpose but to impose on gays and lesbians, through the public law, a majority's private disapproval of them and their relationships."
2012 - February 13, Washington becomes the seventh state to legalize gay marriage.
2012 - March 1, Maryland passes legislation to legalize gay marriage, becoming the eighth state to do so.
2012 - May 9, President Barack Obama endorses same-sex marriage. "It is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married," he said. He makes the statement days after Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan both came out in support of gay marriage.
2012 - The Miss Universe Pageant reverses course and opens competition to all women after disqualifying Canadian contestant Jenna Talackova, a transwomen.
2012 - Founder of Trans People of Color Coalition (TPOCC) Kylar Broadus testifies before the U.S. Senate in support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
2012 - Nov. 6, Tammy Baldwin, a seven-term Democratic congresswoman from Wisconsin, prevails over former governor Tommy Thompson in the race for U.S. Senate and becomes the first openly gay politician elected to the Senate. Also on Election Day, gay marriage is approved in a popular vote for the first time. Maine and Maryland vote in favor of allowing same-sex marriage. In addition, voters in Minnesota reject a measure to ban same-sex marriage.
2013 - Feb. 27, in a policy shift for party members, several Republicans back a legal brief asking the Supreme Court to rule that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right. More than 100 Republicans are listed on the brief, including former New Hampshire Congressman Charles Bass and Beth Myers. Myers was a key adviser to Mitt Romney during his 2012 presidential campaign. The brief is filed as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to consider overturning Proposition 8, the California initiative banning same-sex marriage, as well as overturning the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law passed during Bill Clinton's presidency, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman.
2013 - March 26, the Supreme Court begins two days of historical debate over gay marriage. During the debate, the Supreme Court consider overturning Proposition 8, the California initiative banning same-sex marriage, and the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law passed during Bill Clinton's presidency, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman. The Supreme Court's decision will be announced in June 2013.
2013 - April 29, Jason Collins of the NBA's Washington Wizards announces in an essay in Sports Illustrated that he is gay. "I'm a 34-year-old N.B.A. center. I'm black and I'm gay," he writes. "I've reached that enviable state in life in which I can do pretty much what I want. And what I want is to continue to play basketball. I still love the game, and I still have something to offer. My coaches and teammates recognize that. At the same time, I want to be genuine and authentic and truthful." Collins is the first active athlete in the NBA, NFL, NHL, or MLB to make the announcement.
Jason Collins of the NBA's Washington Wizards
2013 - May 2, after same-sex marriage legislation passes in both houses of Rhode Island's legislature, Governor Lincoln Chafee signs it into law. The new law, legalizing same-sex marriage, goes into effect on August 1, 2013.
2013 - May 7, Governor Jack Markell signs the Civil Marriage Equality and Religious Freedom act, legalizing same-sex marriage for the state of Delaware. The new law goes into effect on July 1, 2013.
2013 - May 13, in Minnesota, the State Senate votes 37 to 30 in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage. The vote comes a week after it passes in the House. Governor Mark Dayton, a supporter of same-sex marriage, says he will sign the bill the following afternoon. Gay couples will be able to marry in Minnesota in August 2013.
2013 - June 26, the Supreme Court rules that the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. In a 5 to 4 vote, the court rules that DOMA violates the rights of gays and lesbians. The court also rules that the law interferes with the states' rights to define marriage. It is the first case ever on the issue of gay marriage for the Supreme Court. Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. votes against striking it down as does Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas. However, conservative-leaning Justice Anthony M. Kennedy votes with his liberal colleagues to overturn DOMA.
2013 - July 17, Queen Elizabeth II approves a same-sex marriage bill for England and Wales. Her approval comes a day after it passes in Parliament. While the queen's approval is simply a formality, her quick response clears the way for the first gay marriages to happen as soon as 2014 in England and Wales. The bill allows same-sex couples to marry in both religious and civil ceremonies. It also allows couples currently in a civil partnership to convert it into a marriage. Scotland is currently considering its own new legislation on same-sex marriage.
2013 - Aug. 1, Minnesota and Rhode Island begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples this month.
2013 - Oct. 21, in an unanimous vote, the New Jersey Supreme Court rejects Gov. Chris Christie's request to delay the implementation date of same-sex weddings. Same-sex couples in New Jersey begin to marry. Just hours later, Christie drops his appeal to legalize same-sex marriages. Therefore, New Jersey becomes the 14th state to recognize same-sex marriages. To see a current list of all the states that have legalized same-sex marriage, go here.
2013 - Nov. 5, Illinois becomes the 15th state to recognize same-sex marriages when the House of Representatives approves the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, which passed the state Senate in February 2013. Governor Pat Quinn, a strong supporter of same-sex marriage, will sign it into law. The new law will be implemented on June 1, 2014.
2013 - Nov. 12, Hawaii becomes the 16th state to recognize same-sex marriages when the Senate passes a gay marriage bill, which had already passed in the House. Governor Neil Abercrombie, a vocal supporter of gay marriage, says he will sign the bill. Beginning December 2, gay couples who are residents of Hawaii as well as tourists can marry in the state. Hawaii is already a very popular state for destination weddings. State Senator J. Kalani English says, "This is nothing more than the expansion of aloha in Hawaii." To see a current list of all the states that have legalized same-sex marriage, go here.
2014 - Jan. 6, The United States Supreme Court blocks any further same-sex marriages in Utah while state officials appeal the decision made by Judge Shelby in late December 2013. The block creates legal limbo for the 1,300 same-sex couples who have received marriage licenses since Judge Shelby's ruling.
2014 - Jan. 10, The Obama administration announces that the federal government will recognize the marriages of the 1,300 same-sex couples in Utah even though the state government has currently decided not to do so. In a video announcement on the Justice Department website, Attorney General Eric Holder says, "I am confirming today that, for purposes of federal law, these marriages will be recognized as lawful and considered eligible for all relevant federal benefits on the same terms as other same-sex marriages. These families should not be asked to endure uncertainty regarding their status as the litigation unfolds." With federal approval, same-sex couples will be able to receive spousal benefits, like health insurance for federal employees and filing joint federal income tax returns.
Attorney General Eric Holder says, "I am confirming today that, for purposes of federal law, these marriages will be recognized as lawful and considered eligible for all relevant federal benefits on the same terms as other same-sex marriages. These families should not be asked to endure uncertainty regarding their status as the litigation unfolds."
2014 - May 19, Same-sex marriage becomes legal in Oregon when a U.S. federal district judge rules that the state's 2004 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage violates the Equal Protection clause in the U.S. Constitution.
2014 - May 20, A judge strikes down the same-sex marriage ban in Pennsylvania, making the state the 18th to legalize gay marriage. The judge rules that Pennsylvania's 1996 ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The state is the last in the Northeast to legalize same-sex marriage. Before now, the state did not even recognize domestic partnerships or civil unions.
2014 - EEOC lawsuits on behalf of transgender employees are filed for the first time.
2014 - The United States Supreme court denies review in the five different marriage cases. This allows the lower court rulings to stand and allow same-sex couples to marry in Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Indiana, and Wisconsin.
2014 - Oct. 6, The U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear appeals of rulings in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin that allowed same-sex marriage. The move paves the way for same-sex marriages in the five states. In fact, Virginia announced that unions would begin that day.
2014 - Nov. 12, The U.S. Supreme Court denies a request to block same-sex marriage in Kansas.
2014 - Nov. 19, A federal judge strikes down Montana's ban that same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.
2014 - Nov. 20, The U.S. Supreme Court denies a request to block same-sex marriage in South Carolina. The ruling means South Carolina becomes the 35th U.S. state where same-sex marriage is legal.
2015 - Obergefell et al v. Hodges, Director, Ohio Department of Health established the fundamental right to marriage for same-sex couples.
2015 - Legislative responses to recognition of Same-Sex Marriage address potential religious implications.