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.
April 2000: Vermont becomes first state to legalize civil unions.
Nov. 18, 2003: The Massachusetts Supreme Court rules in favor of same-sex marriage.
May 17, 2004: Massachusetts begins performing same-sex marriages.
November 2004: Eleven states pass amendments barring gay marriage.
May 15, 2008: California's Supreme Court rules that the state constitution guarantees same-sex couples the right to marry.
November 4, 2008: Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in California, passes.
August 2010: Federal judges in California rule that the same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional.
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.
February 2011: The Obama administration announces that it will stop defending DOMA in court challenges.
June 24, 2011: New York becomes the sixth U.S. state to allow same-sex marriage.
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 9, 2012: Obama announces support for same-sex marriage.
November 2012: Maine, Maryland, and Washington become the first states where voters approve same-sex marriage, and Minnesota rejects a new proposed ban.
December 7, 2012: The Supreme Court announces it will hear two same-sex marriage cases.
March 26, 2013: The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on a case challenging the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8.
March 27, 2013: U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on a case challenging the constitutionality of DOMA.
May 2013: Rhode Island, Delaware, and Minnesota pass marriage equality laws.
June 26, 2013: The Supreme Court rules that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.
June 26, 2013: The Supreme Court dismisses the Proposition 8 appeal, which means that same-sex marriage is once again legal in California.
Ellie Hall is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC. Her secure PGP fingerprint is 6055 A264 DADD AADC 347E 5986 547C C11C DD7D 176A.
Contact Ellie Hall at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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