Mark A. Smith is professor of Political Science and an adjunct professor of Comparative Religion and Communication at the University of Washington. His research focuses on economic and religious groups, ideas, and influences in American politics. In his new book, Secular Faith: How Culture Has Trumped Religion in American Politics, Dr. Smith argues that religion is not nearly the unchanging conservative influence in American politics that we have come to think it is and is best understood as responding to changing political and cultural values rather than shaping them.
Tomorrow marks the release of PRRI’s new national survey, A Shifting Landscape: A Decade of Change in American Attitudes about Same-sex Marriage and LGBT Issues. As a precursor to announcing the findings, we bring you a state-by-state timeline that marks significant events in the United States during the past 10 years.
November 2003 – The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rules that barring same-sex marriage violates the state’s constitution and denies “the dignity and equality of all individuals.”
May 2004 - Massachusetts becomes the first state to legalize same-sex marriage.
August 2004 – Voters in Missouri approve a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
September 2004 – Voters in Louisiana approve a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
November 2004 – Voters in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Utah approve constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage.
April 2005 – Voters in Kansas approve a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
October 2005 – Connecticut legalizes civil unions.
November 2005 – Voters in Texas approve a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
June 2006 – Voters in Alabama approve a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and civil unions.
November 2006 – Voters in Colorado, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin approve constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage.
December 2006 – New Jersey legalizes civil unions.
January 2008 – New Hampshire legalizes civil unions.
October 2008 – Connecticut becomes the second state to legalize same-sex marriage after the state Supreme Court rules that the state constitution guarantees gay and lesbian couples the right to marry.
November 2008 – California voters approve Proposition 8, a ban on same-sex marriage. Arizona and Florida approve the passage of measures that ban same-sex marriage.
April 2009 – Same-sex marriage becomes legal in Iowa when the state’s Supreme Court rejects a state law banning same-sex marriage.
- Vermont becomes the first state to legalize gay marriage through the legislature when Governor Jim Douglas’s veto of a bill allowing same-sex marriage is overturned.
May 2009 – The governor of Maine legalizes same-sex marriage but voters shoot down the law at the November polls.
June 2009 – When Governor John Lynch signs legislation allowing same-sex marriage, New Hampshire becomes the fifth state to legalize same-sex marriage.
December 2009 – Same-sex marriage is legalized in the District of Columbia; Congress approves the law in March 2010.
June 2011 – New York state legalizes same-sex marriage after the state legislature enacts a law approving same-sex marriage that is approved by Governor Cuomo.
February 2012 – Washington legalizes same-sex marriage, becoming the seventh state to do so.
March 2012 – Maryland legalizes same-sex marriage.
December 2012 – By popular vote, Maine legalizes same-sex marriage.
May 2013 – In Rhode Island, Governor Lincoln Chaffee legalizes same-sex marriage after legislation passes in both houses of the state’s legislature.
- Delaware legalizes same-sex marriage when Governor Jack Markell signs the Civil Marriage and Religious Freedom Act.
- Minnesota legalizes same-sex marriage.
June 2013 – The Supreme Court of the United States finds that Proposition 8 has no legal standing to appeal the ruling; the Ninth Circuit judgment is vacated and the appeal is dismissed. Same-sex marriage is legal in California again.
- The U.S. Supreme Court rules the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 is unconstitutional and interferes with states’ rights to define marriage.
September 2013 – New Jersey becomes the fourteenth state to legalize same-sex marriage.
November 2013 – Illinois and Hawaii become the fifteenth and sixteenth states respectively to legalize same-sex marriage.
December 2013 – New Mexico legalizes same-sex marriage.