the politics

View of Same-sex Marriage Proponents

Proponents of Same-sex Marriage

View of Same-sex Marriage Opponents

Opponents of Same-sex Marriage

the background

Proposition 8

Defense of Marriage Act

Defense of Marriage Act

Proposition 8

Historical Context

Proposition 8

the issues

Standing & Jurisdiction

Standing & Jurisdiction

Equal Protection: Proposition 8

Eqaul Protection - Prop. 8

Equal Protection: DOMA

Eqaul Protection - DOMA



Defense of Marriage Act Enacted

Passed in response to the possibility that the state of Hawaii might allow same-sex marriages, the act defines marriage as the union of one man and one women, for the purposes of Federal law. DOMA passed the House by a vote of 342-67, the Senate 85-14, and was signed by President Bill Clinton.

First Same-sex Marriages in the United States

Massachusetts becomes the first state in the nation to allow same-sex marriages as the result of a state supreme court decision.
May 2008 Courthouse of the Supreme Court of California

Same-sex Marriage in California

The California supreme court rules that refusing to allow same-sex couples equal marriage rights violates the California state constitution.
November 2008

Proposition 8 Passes

California voters enact Proposition 8, effectively reversing the state supreme court decision.
June 2010 Judge Walker

Prop. 8 Trial Court Review

Several same-sex couples filed suit in federal court challenging the constitutional validity of Proposition 8. Judge Vaughn Walker of Northern District of California agrees, concluding that the law violates the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.
February 2012

Ninth Circuit Rules Prop. 8 Unconstitutional

Following an appeal of Judge Walker's ruling, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rules, 2-1, that Prop. 8 violates the Constitution.
June 2012

DOMA Trial Court Review

Edith Windsor, widow of a same-sex spouse whose marriage was legally recognized in New York, filed a lawsuit in New York, challenging the federal government's levy of an estate tax that would not have been applied to an opposite-sex couple. Judge Barbara Jones of the Southern District of New York concludes that DOMA is unconstitutional, violating equal protection guarantees of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.
October 2012

Second Circuit Rules DOMA Unconstitutional

A three judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, reviewing Judge Jones' ruling, unanimously agrees that DOMA's restrictive definition of marriage is unconstitutional.