1974: Minnesota State Senator Allan Spear becomes the first gay male state officeholder to publicly come out of the closet.
1975: The Washington Star begins a series on homosexuality in American Sports. Inspired, Washington Redskins linebacker Dave Kopay agrees to come out to the series’ author, Lynn Rosellini.
1999: In light of the passage of Amendment 2, the Hawaii Supreme Court rules in Baehr v. Miike that it is no longer unconstitutional for the state not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
2004: The Parliament of New Zealand passes the Civil Union Bill, establishing the new institution of civil union, available to same-sex and de facto couples. The Civil Union Bill has been described as a copy of the Marriage Act with “marriage” replaced by “civil union”. Its companion bill, the Relationships (Statutory References) Bill, was to remove discriminatory provisions from a large number of pieces of legislation, but has run into stumbling blocks in Parliament and has been shelved until 2005.
2004: The Supreme Court of Canada rules in its reference on same-sex marriage that altering the legal definition of marriage to include same-sex couples is within the jurisdiction of the Parliament of Canada. Prime Minister Paul Martin indicates that his government will introduce such a bill early in the new year.
2005: The First Department of the Appellate Division overrules an order from Judge Doris Ling-Cohan in February 2005 to allow gay marriages in New York City.