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The Couples Who Started The Gay Marriage Debate
The current debate over gay marriage in America began in Hawaii in 1990 when three same sex couples, including two lesbian couples, Ninia Baehr and Genora Dancel (pictured), and Tammy Rodrigues and Antoinette Pregil, applied for marriage licenses. When the judge refused to marry them, they sued. In 1993, the state supreme court ruled that denying gay couples the right to marry was a form of gender discrimination. The case went back to the lower courts and arrived again at the state supreme court, but before they could rule on it, Hawaiians voted in favor of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in 1998. Should Judges Decide Who Can Get Married?
In reaction to the fight in Hawaii other states began to consider the legality of gay marriage, leading to the 1996 Defense Of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman and allowed states to not recognize same sex marriages performed in other states. President Obama just declared the law unconstitutional. No matter what happens in the future, the battle over gay marriage has become a defining feature of 21st century America.