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Religious Tolerance logo

Same-sex marriages (SSM) & civil unions

Timeline of major developments in the U.S.
and the rest of the English speaking world
from 2005 to 2008.

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See the previous essay for events before 2005

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bullet 2005-FEB-01: Canada: Bill C-38 was introduced in the federal Parliament to allow all loving committed couples to marry.

bullet 2005-FEB-24: Ontario: The Ontario Legislature easily passed Bill 171 by a voice vote. It amended 73 pieces of existing legislation, replacing terms like "husband" and "wife" with gender-neutral terms like "spouse."

bullet 2005-APR-20: Connecticut: Governor Rell (R) signed a bill into law which will made civil unions available to same-sex couples in the state starting on 2005-OCT-01. More details

bullet 2005-JUN-05: Switzerland: Swiss voters approved a referendum on a proposed  Eingetragene Partnerschaft (registered partnership) law introduced by the Swiss government.
bullet 2005-JUN-29: Spain: The Congress of Deputies voted 187 to 147, with four abstentions, to legalize SSM. The bill is took effect by 2005-JUL-15. This is the third country to legalize SSM. More details.

bullet 2005-JUL-20: Canada: Bill C-38 to allow same-sex couples to marry across Canada, was signed into law. Canada became the fourth country to legalize SSM. Prince Edward Island refused to recognize the federal law, but later backed down when a lesbian couple threatened to sue the province.  More details

bullet 2005-DEC-05: UK: A new civil partnership law came into effect on. This gave same-sex couples all of the rights of opposite-sex married couples except the right to call their relationship a marriage. More details.

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bullet 2006-AUG-24, South Africa: The Supreme Court of Appeal had ruled on 2004-NOV-29 that SSM was legal. On 2005-DEC-01, that decision was unanimously confirmed by their Constitutional Court -- the country's highest court. However, the latter court suspended its own ruling for 12 months in order to give the South African government time to modify its marriage legislation. On 2006-AUG-24, the Cabinet released a bill that would legalize SSM in the country.

bullet 2006-OCT: New Jersey: In an unprecedented move, the seven justices of the state supreme court voted unanimously that equal rights must be granted to same-sex couples. By a 7 to 0 vote, the court determined that all citizens had the right to the protections of marriage regardless of gender, and that their children must enjoy equal rights whether their parents are of the same or opposite sexes. They left the decision whether to create same-sex marriage or same-sex unions up to the legislature. 7 On 2006-DEC-14, both chambers of the New Jersey legislature passed a bill to legalize civil unions for same-sex couples. More details.

bullet 2006-NOV-14: South Africa: Legislators overwhelmingly passed a bill to legalize SSM. The vote was 230 to 41 with three abstentions. South Africa became the first country in Africa, and the sixth country or jurisdiction in the world to give same-sex couples the same rights as opposite-sex couples after Belgium, Canada, Holland, Massachusetts, and Spain. More details

bullet 2006-NOV-21: Israel: The Israeli High Court of Justice ruled in a 6 to 1 decision that the government must recognize same-sex marriages made elsewhere. Massive outrage is expected among the country's social and religious conservatives. The case involved a gay couple who traveled to Canada, were married, returned to their home in Israel, and asked the government to recognize their relationship. Israel ibecame the seventh country to recognize SSM. More details.

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bullet 2007-JAN-01: Switzerland: The Swiss  Eingetragene Partnerschaft (registered partnership) law went into effect.
bullet 2007-FEB-22: Rhode Island: Attorney General Patrick Lynch said that same-sex marriages solemnized in Massachusetts are to be recognized in Rhode Island. Same-sex married couples are to receive the full set of state benefits, rights and obligations that opposite-sex couples routinely receive. More details.
bullet 2007-MAY-31: New Hampshire: A civil union bill was signed into law. It took effect on 2008-JAN-01. More details.

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bullet 2008-FEB-01: New York: An appellate court in New York state ruled unanimously that same-sex marriages legally solemnized elsewhere must be recognized as valid marriages in New York state. More details.

bullet 2008-FEB-01: Oregon: A state law allowing same-sex couples to register as domestic partners took effect. More details.

bullet star2008-MAY-14: California: The state Supreme Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. Same-sex couples were able to marry in the state starting in 2008-JUN-17.  California became the second state to make marriage available to its same-sex couples. More details.

bullet 2008-JUN-11: Norway: The legislature legalized same-sex marriage, effective 2009-JAN-01.   More details


2008-OCT-10: Connecticut: The state Supreme Court legalized SSM. The law took effect on OCT-28. Connecticut became the third state to make marriage available to its same-sex couples. More details.

bullet unhappy face 2008-NOV-04: California: Proposition 8 narrowly passed on 2008-NOV-04 by a margin of only 2%. This has terminated all new SSMs in the state. The constitutionality of Prop. 8 was upheld by the California Supreme Court. About 36,000 gays, lesbians and bisexuals had married during 2008 and their marriages will remain recognized. This is the first time in history for a state to authorize SSMs and then discontinue them.
bullet 2008-NOV-06: Sweden: Sweden's Parliament is preparing to consider a new "gender neutral" marriage law that would allow same-sex couples to marry. More information

bullet 2008-DEC-15: Hungary: The parliament had passed legislation in 2007 that would allow unmarried opposite-sex or same-sex couples register their union beginning on 2009-JAN-01. This would have given the registering couples almost the same rights and protections as have been enjoyed by opposite-sex married couples.

The Constitutional Court annulled the law, stating that it "downgraded" the institution of marriage.
bullet 2008-APR-02: Sweden: The Swedish parliament passed a gender-neutral marriage bill that allowed same-sex couples to marry as of 2009-MAY-01. More details.
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This topic continues in the next essay for events from 2009 to 2011

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Related essay:

Current status of SSM in the U.S., Canada, Europe, etc. Includes map of the U.S.

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Copyright © 2005 to 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update and review: 2013-APR-28

Author: B.A. Robinson
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