Timeline | A Brief History of Same-sex Marriage in the Courts

UPDATE: The U.S. Supreme Court, Wednesday, June 26, issued its long-anticipated ruling on same-sex marriage. Here's a look back at some of the major cases that have shaped the legal conversation on same-sex marriage in past decades. 


It started in 1967, when the Supreme Court established marriage as a fundamental right in its ruling on the constitutionality of interracial marriage in Loving v. Virginia. Since then, dozens of parties have taken to the courts seeking similar treatment of same-sex relationships.

Same-sex couples suffered a series of defeats across the country during the 70's and 80's. The losing streak ended when, in 1993, the Supreme Court delivered the milestone Lawrence v. Texas ruling and struck down the nation's remaining state anti-sodomy laws. Same-sex marriage has since been legalized in nine states and Washington D.C., (12 states plus D.C. come August 2013). But the Supreme Court has yet to weigh in.

For a full run-down on what the Supreme Court decision means, read Explainer: What You need to Know About the SCOTUS Ruling on Gay Marriage.