Same-sex marriages (SSM) & civil unions
Timeline of major developments in the U.S. &
of the world,
from 2001 to 2004.
Major developments: Years 2001 to 2004
2001-APR: Netherlands: Resident same-sex couples can marry and adopt with the full privileges enjoyed by heterosexual married
couples. They became the first country to legalize SSMs, at least in recent history. More details.
2001-AUG-2: Germany: Gay and lesbian couples may register
their partnerships, obtain the same inheritance rights as
married couples, and may share the same last name. Many rights are still
withheld. More details.
2002-JUL: Ontario, Canada: Three Superior Court judges
ruled unanimously that the laws of Ontario and of Canada which prohibited
gay couples from marrying was unconstitutional. The court gave the
governments two years to change the wording of their laws related to
marriage. More details.
2002-SEP: Switzerland: Same-sex couples became able to register
with the government and obtain all of the legal rights as opposite-sex
2002-SEP: Quebec, Canada: A court declared that the laws denying gays and lesbians
access to marriage was unconstitutional.
2003-MAR-4: Massachusetts: The Supreme Judicial Court
arguments in the case Goodridge et al
v. Department of Public Health. It sought the expansion of marriage
to include same-sex couples. They ruled in favor of the plaintiffs during 2003-NOV.
2003-MAY-1: British Columbia, Canada: A court
agreed with earlier decisions by senior courts in Ontario and Quebec. They gave the government until
2004-JUL-12 to rewrite the laws to allow same-sex marriage.
2003-JUN-10 : Ontario, Canada: The Ontario Court of
Appeal found that denying same-sex couples the right to marry is
unconstitutional. They ordered the Ontario Government to start issuing marriage
licenses to same-sex couples immediately. At 14:52 hrs ET on the same day, a gay couple, Michel Leshner,
55, and Michael Stark, 45, were married by an Ontario Superior
Court judge in Toronto ON. This is the first time in the
Western Hemisphere that a same-sex couple has been able to obtain a marriage
license and be legally married. They are the
first same-sex couple in the world to be married in this way as the result of a court ruling, rather than
a legislative change.
2003-JUN-17: Canada: The Federal Government decided
to not appeal the JUN-10 decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal. They
started to draft legislation to be submitted to Parliament which will legalize
same-sex marriage across the entire country. This would make Canada the third country in the
world to legalize same-sex marriage, the first two being the
Netherlands and Belgium.
More details about Canada.
2003-JUN-29: Britain: The government has issued a report
recommending that a system of civil unions be created. They had the
agreement of all three major parties.
2003-JUL-8: Canada: The British Columbia Court of Appeal
issued a supplementary ruling authorizing same-sex marriages in the
province immediately. A gay couple, Tom Graff and Anthony Porcino,
immediately obtained a marriage license and were married that day by a United
Church of Canada minister. More details.
2003-NOV-19: Massachusetts: The Supreme Judicial Court -- the state's
-- issued a ruling in the case of Goodridge et al
v. Department of Public Health. The court declared
same-sex marriages legal, and ordered the state to start issuing licenses
starting on 2004-MAR-17. This made Massachusetts the first
state in the U.S. to legalize same-sex marriage. The Massachusetts Legislature
started a long and ultimately unsuccessful process of amending the state constitution to
prohibit same-sex couples from marrying.
2004-MAR-19: Quebec, Canada: The Quebec Court of Appeal
authorized SSM in the province. Over 80% of Canadian same-sex couples
became able to marry without leaving their province of residence.
2004-DEC-31: Canada: By this time, seven of ten provinces and one of
three territories had authorized same-sex marriage. About 87% of the population
of Canada live in one of these jurisdictions.
Copyright © 2003 to 2014 by Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update and review: 2014-MAR-05
Author: B.A. Robinson