Archived coverage: The gay marriage debate

Full coverage of the growing dialogue over same-sex marriages and civil unions.

February 3, 2009

Senator suggests deal on death penalty measure

A new wrinkle in the death penalty debate emerged in the General Assembly yesterday when a state senator said he would vote to move a repeal bill out of the committee where it has been bottled up for several years.

November 6, 2008

Voters approve gay marriage bans in California, Arizona, Florida

Voters put a stop to same-sex marriage in California, dealing a crushing defeat to gay-rights activists in a state they hoped would be a vanguard and putting in doubt as many as 18,000 same-sex marriages conducted since a court ruling made them legal this year.

November 5, 2008

Ballot questions

Voters adopt pot law reform in Mass., Mich.

Voters in Colorado and South Dakota rejected ballot measures yesterday that could have led to sweeping bans of abortion, and Washington became only the second state --after Oregon -- to offer terminally ill people the option of physician-assisted suicide.

January 24, 2006

Judge lands in spotlight

Margaret Brooke Murdock was once president of the Women's Law Center in Towson, an organization that promotes "equal rights for women and children," according to its mission statement.

September 15, 2005

Massachusetts rejects bill creating civil unions

BOSTON - The Massachusetts Legislature rejected yesterday a proposed constitutional amendment that sought to ban gay marriage but legalize civil unions, a year after the state performed the nation's first government-sanctioned same-sex weddings.

September 6, 2005

Vt., Va. courts to hear custody case

MONTPELIER, Vt. - Battles over the custody of children between estranged spouses are nothing new. But this one involves a child born to a lesbian couple in a since-dissolved civil union.

August 30, 2005

Gay rights suit on docket

Maryland will become the focus of the volatile national debate on gay rights today, as a Baltimore Circuit Court judge hears arguments challenging the state's prohibition of same-sex marriages.

June 1, 2005

Activists drop referendum drive targeting vetoed gay rights bills

A Republican delegate and conservative activists have abandoned their drive for a referendum next year on two gay rights bills vetoed by the governor.

March 15, 2005

Judge finds Calif. same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional

SAN FRANCISCO - Gays and lesbians have a right to marry under the California Constitution, a state judge here ruled yesterday, striking down state laws that limit marriage to "a man and a woman."

March 11, 2005

Court hears request regarding gay marriage suit

Lawyers for eight state legislators and a county clerk who oppose same-sex marriage asked the state's highest court yesterday to let their clients become defendants in the hot-button lawsuit filed by couples who want Maryland's ban on gay marriage declared unconstitutional.

March 10, 2005

Md. court to hear case about gay marriage

Maryland's highest court today will take up the thorny question of whether state legislators and other gay-marriage opponents can become part of the highly charged lawsuit filed by couples who want the state to allow same-sex marriage.

Rally supports amendment banning gay marriage in Md.

January 28, 2005

Rally supports amendment banning gay marriage in Md.

About 1,000 people huddled in front of the State House yesterday to call for a constitutional ban on gay marriage in Maryland, cheering a succession of preachers and politicians - including Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele - at what was called the Defend Maryland Marriage rally.

January 23, 2005

Making a case for marriage

It was a minor miracle. Somehow, Kiran, Tiara, Alonzo and their parents awoke in time for the 8 a.m. service. They threw on their Sunday best, jumped into the minivan and drove the 20 minutes from their Upper Marlboro home to Covenant Baptist Church in Southwest Washington, D.C. Breathlessly, but with moments to spare, the family slides into a pew toward the front of the church.

January 20, 2005

Federal judge dismisses same-sex marriage lawsuit in Fla.

TAMPA, Fla. - In what is believed to be the first ruling of its kind, a judge upheld yesterday the federal law letting states ban same-sex marriages, dismissing a lawsuit by two women seeking to have their Massachusetts marriage recognized here.

January 16, 2005

General Assembly

Session to revisit debate on gay unions

The national debate over same-sex unions lands squarely in Maryland this month, as legislators and lobbyists mobilize for a series of noisy battles over how gay couples will be treated in the eyes of state law.

November 3, 2004

Eleven states approve bans on gay marriage

In a resounding, coast-to-coast rejection of gay marriage, voters in 11 states approved constitutional amendments yesterday limiting marriage to one man and one woman.

August 13, 2004

Gay weddings invalid, Calif. top court says

SAN FRANCISCO - The California Supreme Court ruled unanimously yesterday that San Francisco's mayor overstepped his authority by issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

August 13, 2004

Gay couple married in California undaunted by ruling

WASHINGTON - James Packard knew that the marriage license hanging in a frame on his bedroom wall carried little legal weight even before the California Supreme Court ruled the document - and about 4,000 others just like it - invalid.

August 4, 2004

Missouri votes to bar gay unions

ST. LOUIS -- Missouri voters amended their state constitution yesterday to ban same-sex marriage -- the first election on the issue since Massachusetts legalized gay and lesbian weddings.

May 18, 2004

Wedding bells ring legally for gay couples in Mass.

WORCESTER, Mass. - Massachusetts became yesterday the first state to legalize same-sex marriage, ending a centuries-old tradition in the United States that limited matrimony to one man and one woman.

May 7, 2004

Clash over gays fuels offer for church split

PITTSBURGH - A leading Methodist evangelical pastor called yesterday for a split in the denomination over the issue of homosexuality - a sign of a widening fissure in the United States' second-largest Protestant church.

April 28, 2004

Obscure Mass. law prohibits some same-sex marriages

BOSTON - Their plan was to fly here May 17 and take out a marriage license. After the required three-day waiting period, Matt Foreman and Francisco de Leon intended to exchange wedding vows in Cambridge, then head home to New York.

April 16, 2004

Romney moves to block gay marriages

BOSTON - Determined to keep Massachusetts from becoming the first state to legalize same-sex marriage, Gov. Mitt Romney filed emergency legislation yesterday to permit him to hire a special counsel.

April 15, 2004

4,000 gay couples risk losing marriage license

SAN FRANCISCO - The California Supreme Court is considering whether to nullify more than 4,000 marriage licenses that San Francisco granted to gay couples this year.

April 5, 2004

The world of Justin McGuire

The boy sitting patiently in the Hagerstown Community College auditorium, playing his Game Boy and fidgeting with his hair, gets up and goes to the podium with his mom and his baby sister when their names are called. About 100 people watch him, waiting to hear what this 10-year-old has to say about gay marriage.

March 30, 2004

Mass. moves toward ban on same-sex marriages

BOSTON - After seven weeks of heated public debate and frantic backroom maneuvering, the Massachusetts Legislature approved yesterday a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and establishing civil unions for same-sex couples.

March 24, 2004

Senate panel debates a 'threat' to marriage

WASHINGTON - Experts and lawmakers differed sharply in testimony yesterday before the Senate Judiciary Committee over whether the institution of marriage is under judicial assault and can be preserved only through a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

March 23, 2004

Backers of ban on gay marriages alter proposal

WASHINGTON - The congressional sponsors of a constitutional amendment that would prohibit same-sex marriage announced new wording yesterday aimed at building political support for the measure by easing concerns that it would block states from allowing civil unions of gay or lesbian couples.

March 19, 2004

In Ore. city, lesbians getting most marriage licenses

PORTLAND, Ore. - Watching the parade of gay couples lined up in Portland for marriage licenses last week, a single, straight woman leaned over to a friend and made a rueful observation.

March 19, 2004

Tenn. county reverses call to ban homosexuals

DAYTON, Tenn. - In the same tense, humid courtroom where Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan battled over the teaching of evolution 79 years ago, eight county commissioners quickly rescinded yesterday an anti-gay motion that had drawn national attention - and ridicule - to Dayton again.

March 16, 2004

Ministers charged for wedding same-sex couples

ALBANY, N.Y. - Two ministers were charged yesterday with illegally performing 13 gay weddings in the upstate village of New Paltz, ensnaring clergy for the first time in the widening debate over same-sex marriage.

March 12, 2004

Calif. justices halt same-sex weddings

SAN FRANCISCO - The California Supreme Court ordered an immediate halt to same-sex weddings in San Francisco yesterday, while Massachusetts lawmakers gave preliminary approval to a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriages in the only state where they have been ruled legal.

March 9, 2004

Seattle mayor recognizes employee same-sex unions

SEATTLE - Six same-sex couples filed suit against King County yesterday after being denied marriage licenses, and Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels immediately pledged his support for such unions, ordering city departments to recognize the marriages of gay and lesbian municipal workers who wed elsewhere.

March 8, 2004

By Stephen Kiehl

Sun Journal: Backing same-sex marriage

SAN FRANCISCO - Inside City Hall, in the Rotunda where thousands of gay couples have been married in joyous celebrations over the past three weeks, the mayor is referred to with reverence as "St. Gavin." Cards are slipped under his door, and thousands of flowers arrive at his office.

March 7, 2004

Catering to same-sex couples

The Web site for next month's Gay Life & Wedding Expo in Washington had barely gone up last fall, event organizer William Harrison recalls, when the phone started ringing.

March 7, 2004

New York mayor backs civil unions

NEW YORK - The mayor of the nation's largest city says same-sex couples deserve the same rights in civil unions that straight couples enjoy in marriage, but he will continue to enforce New York state's ban on gay marriage.

March 5, 2004

Same-sex couples are denied marriage licenses in N.Y. City

NEW YORK - The issue of gay marriages reached the nation's largest city yesterday, as about three dozen same-sex couples asked for licenses and were turned down. One applicant warned, "This isn't going away."

March 4, 2004

N.Y. official says gay marriages might be illegal

Stepping into the gay marriage fight for the first time since it erupted in New York a week ago, Attorney General Eliot Spitzer warned yesterday that state law does not permit same-sex unions and cautioned that ceremonies already performed there may be illegal.

February 26, 2004

Same-sex marriage issue divides committee

Measures that would reaffirm marriage in Maryland as valid only between a man and a woman sharply divided a House committee yesterday.

February 25, 2004

Bush calls for amendment to bar gay marriage

WASHINGTON - President Bush called yesterday for a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage, pushing an explosive cultural issue to the forefront of the 2004 presidential campaign.

February 25, 2004

Couples disappointed, not surprised

When they watch TV broadcasts of gay marriage ceremonies being performed in San Francisco, Chris Pulido and Craig Martinez look for their friends among the throngs of grooms. And then they wonder, "If we were there, would we be among them?"

February 22, 2004

Marriage for gays little legal value

SAN FRANCISCO - Many of the more than 3,000 same-sex couples who obtained marriage licenses from the city said getting married was among the most joyous events in their lives. But because of legal uncertainty and political controversy, the certificates don't appear to be worth much more than sentimental value at this point.

February 21, 2004

Judge refuses to halt same-sex weddings

SAN FRANCISCO - Gay and lesbian couples won another reprieve yesterday when a judge declined to immediately stop San Francisco from granting them marriage licenses, saying conservative groups failed to prove the weddings would cause irreparable harm.

February 21, 2004

2 gay couples want marriages recognized

Four gay Marylanders wed this week in San Francisco say they want their marriages recognized in this state and have been contacted by the American Civil Liberties Union about becoming test cases in a judicial showdown, though none plan to file a lawsuit yet.

February 20, 2004

Chicago mayor says same-sex marriages OK by him

CHICAGO - Mayor Richard M. Daley has publicly endorsed same-sex unions, saying he has "no problem" with Cook County issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples because they "love one another just as much as anyone else."

February 18, 2004

Judge lets gay weddings in San Francisco go on

SAN FRANCISCO - A judge said yesterday that San Francisco appears to be violating the law by issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples, but he declined to order an immediate halt to the weddings.

February 16, 2004

Same-sex couples overwhelm city officials in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO - Demand for same-sex marriage licenses has been so great that officials turned away hundreds of gay and lesbian couples lined up outside City Hall yesterday, saying they simply didn't have the time or resources to meet all the requests.

February 15, 2004

Hundreds of gays exchange vows in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO - Gay and lesbian couples from across the country answered this city's Valentine's Day invitation to wed in an unprecedented spree of same-sex marriages that has challenged California law and sent conservative groups scrambling for court intervention.

February 14, 2004

Fate of gay unions in Mass. unclear

BOSTON - Was it a gay rights victory? Or just a temporary delay of the inevitable?

February 13, 2004

Mass. gay union compromise stalls

BOSTON - After 10 hours of heated discourse, tempers boiled over and led to a brief walkout last night in the midst of the Massachusetts Legislature's debate of a proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage.

February 12, 2004

Mass. rejects compromise on gay partnership

BOSTON - The Massachusetts Legislature narrowly rejected a compromise proposal yesterday that sought to legalize civil unions but ban same-sex marriages, delivering a setback to lawmakers who wanted to avoid taking the divisive issue head-on.

February 11, 2004

Mass. in media glare on gay-marriage issue

BOSTON - Gay-rights activists, conservative leaders and news media from around the globe converged on the Massachusetts Statehouse yesterday as lawmakers prepared for a historic session in which they will take up a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

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