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Milestones On The Road To Marriage Equality In America

1. September 1996: Congress passes the Defense of Marriage Act, which bars federal recognition of same-sex marriage. President Bill Clinton signs it into law on Sept. 20.

September 1996: Congress passes the Defense of Marriage Act, which bars federal recognition of same-sex marriage. President Bill Clinton signs it into law on Sept. 20.

President Clinton in a file photo from 1994.

Image by Jennifer Young / Getty Images

2. April 2000: Vermont becomes first state to legalize civil unions.

April 2000: Vermont becomes first state to legalize civil unions.
Image by Toby Talbot / AP

3. Nov. 18, 2003: The Massachusetts Supreme Court rules in favor of same-sex marriage.

Nov. 18, 2003: The Massachusetts Supreme Court rules in favor of same-sex marriage.
Image by Douglas McFadd / Getty Images

4. May 17, 2004: Massachusetts begins performing same-sex marriages.

May 17, 2004: Massachusetts begins performing same-sex marriages.
Image by Angela Jimenez / Getty Images

5. November 2004: Eleven states pass amendments barring gay marriage.

November 2004: Eleven states pass amendments barring gay marriage.
Image by Craig Mitchelldyer / Getty Images

6. May 15, 2008: California’s Supreme Court rules that the state constitution guarantees same-sex couples the right to marry.

May 15, 2008: California's Supreme Court rules that the state constitution guarantees same-sex couples the right to marry.
Image by Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

7. November 4, 2008: Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in California, passes.

November 4, 2008: Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in California, passes.
Image by Getty Images

8. August 2010: Federal judges in California rule that the same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional.

August 2010: Federal judges in California rule that the same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional.
Image by Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

9. December 2010: Congress votes to repeal the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and President Barack Obama signs it into law. The repeal goes into effect in September 2011.

December 2010: Congress votes to repeal the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy and President Barack Obama signs it into law. The repeal goes into effect in September 2011.
Image by Mark Wilson / Getty Images

10. February 2011: The Obama administration announces that it will stop defending DOMA in court challenges.

February 2011: The Obama administration announces that it will stop defending DOMA in court challenges.
Image by  Alex Wong / Getty Images

11. June 24, 2011: New York becomes the sixth U.S. state to allow same-sex marriage.

June 24, 2011: New York becomes the sixth U.S. state to allow same-sex marriage.
Image by  Jemal Countess / Getty Images

12. May 8, 2012: North Carolina votes in favor of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage as well as civil unions for gay and lesbian couples.

May 8, 2012: North Carolina votes in favor of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage as well as civil unions for gay and lesbian couples.
Image by Ken Blevins / AP

13. May 9, 2012: Obama announces support for same-sex marriage.

May 9, 2012: Obama announces support for same-sex marriage.
Image by Getty Images

14. November 2012: Maine, Maryland, and Washington become the first states where voters approve same-sex marriage, and Minnesota rejects a new proposed ban.

November 2012: Maine, Maryland, and Washington become the first states where voters approve same-sex marriage, and Minnesota rejects a new proposed ban.
Image by David Ryder / Getty Images

15. December 7, 2012: The Supreme Court announces it will hear two same-sex marriage cases.

December 7, 2012: The Supreme Court announces it will hear two same-sex marriage cases.
Image by SAUL LOEB / Getty Images

16. March 26, 2013: The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on a case challenging the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8.

March 26, 2013: The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on a case challenging the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8.

Attorney Theodore Olsen (right), representing the same-sex couples, addresses the Supreme Court in Washington on March 26, 2013. Justices (from left) are Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John Roberts, and Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Samuel Alito, and Elena Kagan.

Image by  Dana Verkouteren / AP

17. March 27, 2013: U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on a case challenging the constitutionality of DOMA.

March 27, 2013: U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on a case challenging the constitutionality of DOMA.
Image by Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

18. May 2013: Rhode Island, Delaware, and Minnesota pass marriage equality laws.

May 2013: Rhode Island, Delaware, and Minnesota pass marriage equality laws.
Image by Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

19. June 26, 2013: The Supreme Court rules that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.

June 26, 2013: The Supreme Court rules that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.

Edith Windsor, 83, acknowledges her supporters as she leaves the Supreme Court March 27, 2013, in Washington, D.C. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case Edith Schlain Windsor, in Her Capacity as Executor of the Estate of Thea Clara Spyer, Petitioner v. United States, which challenges the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Image by  Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

20. June 26, 2013: The Supreme Court dismisses the Proposition 8 appeal, which means that same-sex marriage is once again legal in California.

June 26, 2013: The Supreme Court dismisses the Proposition 8 appeal, which means that same-sex marriage is once again legal in California.
Image by Win McNamee / Getty Images
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