Gay marriage movement wins significant victories in 2013


The last year marked a number of milestones for the gay marriage movement, as it adds to its list of legal and legislative victories, earning approval from a majority of Americans along the way.

The two largest victories came from the Supreme Court in June, when justices struck down the Defense of Marriage Act preventing same-sex couples from receiving federal benefits, and invalidated an effort to restore California’s Proposition 8 banning gay marriage.

The DOMA ruling was a close 5-4 decision, and Justice Antonin’s Scalia’s dissent was particularly scathing, but the jubilant crowds gathered outside of the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., cheered their victory nonetheless.


On the legislative front, six states, Rhode Island, Delaware, Minnesota, New Jersey, Hawaii and Illinois, legalized gay marriage in 2013, with marriages taking place in each state save for Illinois, where the law will be effective June 1, 2014.

TIMELINE: Gay marriage through the years

That makes for a total of 16 states where gay marriage is legal. Four states, Oregon, Nevada, Wisconsin and Colorado, also allow civil unions for same-sex couples.

And the gay rights movement as a whole is only becoming more popular nationwide, leading many to speculate that it’s the fastest-moving civil rights movement in U.S. history. A July Gallup poll found that 54% of Americans think same-sex couples should be given the same rights as heterosexual couples. And in that same poll, 52% of Americans said they would vote for a law legalizing same-sex marriages across the country.

But that’s not to say the movement has finished its fight. Twenty-nine states still have constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriages. And ballot challenges for 2014 and 2016 are being readied in Oregon, Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, Nevada and Ohio.