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Religious Tolerance logo

Same-sex marriage (SSM)

2004-2008: Early developments in various states

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In this web site, "SSM" refers to same-sex marriage

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"If marriage means everything, it means absolutely nothing." Dr. James C. Dobson, of Focus on the Family.

bullet"A loving man and woman in a committed relationship can marry. Dogs, no matter what their relationship, are not allowed to marry. How should society treat gays and lesbians in committed relationships? As dogs or as humans?" A posting to an Internet mailing list; used by permission of the author.

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bullet2004-AUG: FL: Two lawsuits filed: One is trying to force the state to recognize the validity of a marriage solemnized in Ontario, Canada. The other is trying to force the state to recognize a marriage completed in Massachusetts. Neither succeeded.

bullet 2004-AUG-26: CT: Lawsuit filed: Seven same-sex couples applied for marriage licenses in Madison, in the central part of Connecticut. They were refused. They filed a lawsuit on AUG-25 in New Haven Superior Court, naming town officials and J. Robert Galvin, the Commissioner of the state's Department of Public Health. Mary Bonauto, of Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, (GLAD), is the lead attorney for the plaintiffs. This is the group that successfully challenged marriage laws in Massachusetts. She commented: "In the end, this is a case about real people with real families asking their government to treat them fairly." she expects the case to take three years. 1 Connecticut became one of the earliest states to legalize SSM.

bullet 2006-JUL-07: GA: Referendum upheld: A referendum passed by 76% of the voters in 2004-NOV amended the state constitution to forbid same-sex marriage. A trial court declared it to be invalid in 2006-MAY. The reason given is that the wording violated the single-subject rule. It addressed two topics -- marriage and civil unions -- about which voters may well have different opinions. But the referendum allowed only a single yes/no response. The Georgia Supreme Court unanimously overturned the trial court ruling, and sustained the amendment. Governor Perdue said:

"We don't do a referendum very often. But when we do a referendum such as a Constitutional amendment, I think we need be very respectful of the people's voice and listen to that. I think the Supreme Court has done that and I'm very grateful for their action and their affirmation of the people's voice in overturning the trial court's opinion."

UPI commented:

"Perdue also said that he hopes gay Georgians do not feel marginalized by the decision. He said they are free to work and live their lives here they simply can not marry in the state of Georgia." 2,3

As of 2013, Georgia still prohibits SSMs.

bullet2006-JUL-07: NY: Court says right to marry does not exist: The Court of Appeals in New York state heard arguments favoring marriage equity in 2006-MAY. In July, they handed down their ruling. They found that the state's "one-man, one-woman" definition of marriage did not violate the constitutional rights of same-sex couples. They also stated than any changes would have to be made by the legislature. Jay Weiser is a law professor at Baruch University who helped write a brief in support of gay marriage for the New York City Bar Association. He said that:

"New York's decision is a fairly narrow view of what guarantees the state constitution provides.... So far, the courts are mixed but the majority of cases have passed defense of marriage or constitutional amendments barring same-sex marriages."

Alan Van Capelle, executive director of The Empire State Pride Agenda, a New York state gay-positive civil liberties group, said:

"This community has never been handed anything for free. I know that winning marriage will be a long battle ... and the gay community has the stamina to win gay marriage in New York."

Glen Lavy, of the Alliance Defense Fund, an anti-gay legal group, said:

"I don't have a crystal ball. You don't know what the rule is going to be, but I did not think the court was going to reverse the decision because of how strong the lower court decisions were. We keep hearing from the opponents to redefine marriage that they have a clear legal trend moving their way. But really what we have is a clear trend moving the other way. We only have one clear court that is an outlier - and that's Massachusetts." 3

bullet 2008-MAY-14: CA: Court makes SSM legal: By a 4:3 decision, the California Supreme Court overturned Proposition 22 -- a plebescite that had the force of law and which banned SSM -- and legalized SSM in the state. On election day in 2008-NOV, Proposition 8 was narrowly approved by the voters. It once more made SSMs unavailalbe in the state. A subsequent lawsuit overturned Prop. 8 and is before the U.S. Supreme Court. More details.

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References used:

  1. "Gays Sue Connecticut Over Same Sex Unions," 1010 WINS, 2004-AUG-26, at:
  2. "Georgia upholds gay marriage ban," UPI, 2006-JUL-07, at:
  3. Ron Scherer, "Two states say 'no' to gay marriage," Christian Science Monitor, 2006-JUL-07, at:

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Copyright 2004 to 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2004-AUG-16
Latest update: 2013-MAY-10
Author: B.A. Robinson

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