Uncategorized

Laws Change, And Marriage Evolves

For some, marriage is a holy sacrament, heavily tied to religion and its customs. But for others, and as far as the law of the land is concerned, marriage is a civically recognized union or legal contract between spouses that establishes rights and obligations between them, as well as between them and their children.

As we amp up to present the issue of same-sex marriage before the Supreme Court of the United States next month, we’d like to take a moment and present this to you: A timeline that illustrates the evolution of marriage — traditional, or otherwise — in these United States.

In 1830…

Mississippi becomes the first state to grant married women the right to own property in their own name, where before all property was owned exclusively by the husband.

In 1862…

Passage of the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act makes bigamy in the territories a felony punishable by a $500 fine or five years in prison. (Before, until, and for nearly three decades after this time, polygamy was a common, and accepted practice of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.)

By 1900…

All states have followed suit, and married women can own property.

In 1907…

It becomes law that all women shall take on their husband’s nationality (upon any marriage that occurs after this date.)

In 1933…

Married women are granted national citizenship, independent of their husbands.

In 1948…

California becomes the first state to overturn a ban on interracial marriage.

In 1965…

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) overturns the law that prohibits married couples from using contraception.

Two years later, in 1967…

SCOTUS overturns the law that prohibits interracial marriage.

In 1969…

California becomes the first state to adopt a no-fault divorce law.

In 1971…

The Supreme Court refuses to hear a challenge to the Minnesota Supreme Court ruling that prohibits same-sex marriage.

In 1973…

Maryland becomes the first state to define marriage as existing “between a man and a woman” by statute.

In 1976…

The Supreme Court overturns laws that require married women to obtain consent from their husbands before undergoing an abortion procedure.

It wasn’t until 1993 that…

All 50 states had revised laws to include marital rape.

By 1994…

80 percent of US states have laws in place that ban same-sex marriage.

In 1996…

President Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law.

In 2004…

While other states continue to rush to ban same-sex unions, Massachusetts becomes the first state to grant, and recognize same-sex marriage.

In 2008…

New York starts recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions (i.e., Massachusetts), while Connecticut and California follow Massachusetts’ lead. California’s time on the right side of history was short, as Proposition 8 passed later that same year.

In 2013…

The Supreme Court overturns the Defense of Marriage Act, and posits that there is no legal standing to hear an appeal regarding the overturning of California’s Proposition 8; marriages begin once more in that state.

To date…

Thirty-seven states, plus the District of Columbia recognize, and grant same-sex marriage, but many others (including those in the Sixth Circuit) hold fast to their bans. And it is for this reason that the attorneys of Nessel & Kessel will travel to Washington DC with our clients, April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, in just a few short weeks to stand before our nation’s highest court and argue, the time is now: Legalize same-sex marriage once and for all.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+TumblrStumbleUponRedditLinkedInDeliciousShare

Leave a Reply

*