Pictorial History of Same-Sex Marriage
Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum, royal servants of ancient Egypt, are speculated to be the first documented same-sex couple in history (Fifth Dynasty, circa 2400 B.C.)
In Hellenic Greece (323 BC - 146 BC) pederastic relationships between Greek men and male youths were analogous to marriage in several aspects.
The Christian emperors of Rome, Constantius (left) and Constans (right) declared same-sex marriage to be illegal in the year 342.
In parts of pre-modern China, men would marry male youths and remain married for a number of years until the elder partner helped the younger find a wife. In the Guangdong province (mid-1800s) of China, the Golden Orchid Sisterhoods held "marriage" ceremonies between two women who were then able to adopt female children.
In Japan, the tradition of Shudo (age-structured homosexuality) was prevalent in samurai society (medieval period until end of 19th c.)
Bert and Ernie on Sesame Street were allegedly the first 'domestic partnership' on TV. We said, allegedly! (1969)
The first same-sex wedding ceremony in a TV drama was on Northern Exposure in 1994. (Played by Doug Ballard and Don McManus).
In 1996, the Defense of Marriage Act was passed. It declared that no state needed treat a relationship between persons of the same sex as a marriage (even if the relationship was considered a marriage in another state) and that the U.S. government didn't have to federally recognize or legalize same sex marriages.
Vermont was the first U.S. state to legalize civil unions between same sex couples. Carolyn Conrad and Kathleen Peterson the first couple to enter a legal civil union in the U.S. (July 2000).
In June 2003, a court challenge upheld the legality of two same-sex marriages performed in Ontario in January 2001 (registration of the unions were originally denied) . This retroactively made Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell, and Anne and Elaine Vautour the actual first legal same-sex marriages in the world.
In Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health, the Massachusetts Supreme Court gave same-sex couples the right to marry. Julie and Hillary Goodridge (left) were the main plaintiffs (November 2003). Marcia Kadish and Tanya McCloskey (right) were the U.S.'s first legal same sex married couple. (Massachusetts, May 2004)
Grainne Close and Shannon Sickels became the United Kingdom's first gay couple to win legal recognition under a new British civil partnership law. (Belfast, Northern Ireland, December 2005).
South Africa authorized gay marriages in December 2006, making it the first country in the African continent to pass such a ruling. Game rangers Tony Halls and Vernon Gibbs were the first same-sex couple to legally wed in Africa.
Kevin James and Adam Sandler made a mockery of same-sex marriage in I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (2007). It might have been funny if... it hadn't been so unfunny.
A New York appellate court ruled on Martinez v County of Monroe in February 2008 that same-sex marriages performed outside the state must be recognized as valid within the state. (New York State residents Lisa Golden and Patricia Martinez were legally married in Ontario in 2004).
The first same-sex marriage between series regulars on American network TV aired on ABC on May 11, 2008 on Brothers and Sisters. (Played by Luke Mafarlane and Matthew Rhys).
On May 15, 2008, the California Supreme Court ruled that limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples is unconstitutional. The next day Ellen DeGeneres (right) announced her intent to marry partner Portia de Rossi (left) on her daily talk show.
The End (for now)