1970 May 18

First Same-Sex Marriage Test Case Begins


Two University of Minnesota students, Richard Baker and James Michael McConnell, applied for a marriage license in Minneapolis on this day, setting in motion the first same-sex marriage case to reach the Supreme Court. The two were denied a marriage license, and in October 1971, the Minnesota Supreme Court upheld the denial. They carried an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, but on October 10, 1972, in Baker v. Nelson, the Supreme Court dismissed the case for lack of a “substantial federal question.”

Forty-three years later, in the landmark case of Windsor v. United States, on June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional parts of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which forbid federal recognition of same-sex marriages.

On June 26, 2015, in Obergefell v. Hudson, the Supreme Court declared that same-sex marriage was constitutional in the entire United States under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Learn more at Freedom to Marry: http://www.freedomtomarry.org/

Read about the history of the GLBT revolution: Lillian Faderman, The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle (2015)

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