MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – While Thursday marked a day of celebration for many same-sex couples, the journey toward legal marriage equality in Minnesota hasn’t been an easy one. For many, it’s been a lifetime struggle.
Here is a timeline of the major events leading up to this week’s landmark events:
1971: Jack Baker and Michael McConnell are believed to become the first gay couple in the U.S. to be married. It was declared illegal. The couple fought it all the way to the Minnesota Supreme Court and lost.
1977: The state legislature amends the marriage statute, defining the institution as “a civil contract” between a man and a woman.
1993: Minnesota expands the Human Rights Act, outlawing discrimination based on sexual identity.
1997: Minnesota adopts the Defense of Marriage Act, prohibiting “a marriage between persons of the same sex.” The state won’t recognize same-sex marriages performed out of state.
2004-2008: Minnesota lawmakers try, and fail, to pass constitutional amendments prohibiting legal recognition of same sex marriage.
2011: The Minnesota Legislature approves a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. It is placed on the November election ballot.
2012: Minnesota voters reject a constitutional amendment that would have strengthened the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.
2013: Both the Minnesota House and Senate votes to legalize same-sex marriage. Gov. Mark Dayton signs the measure into law. Same-sex marriage goes into effect on Aug. 1.