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For decades, LGBT activists have fought hard for the right to marry. Today, they got it.

Exactly two years after the Supreme Court struck down provisions in the Defense of Marriage Act and California's Prop 8, the country finally has marriage equality.

On the morning of June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that marriage equality is the law in all 50 states.

In a 5-4 ruling, it ruled that state bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional.


But let's take a look at how we got here — below is a timeline of the fight for marriage equality from 2003 to 2015. Enjoy!

2003-2007: Marriage in Massachusetts and the era of the civil union.

On Nov. 18, 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that the state must allow same-sex couples to get married unless the legislature amended the state's constitution. While Vermont had legalized civil unions in 2000, this awesome decision made Massachusetts the first state to legally recognize same-sex couples as being married!

Karen O'Brien Ahlers and Michelle Joanne Blair during their wedding in Framingham, Massachusetts, following the ruling by the state Supreme Court. Photo by Douglas McFadd/Getty Images.

In early 2004, the state legislature debated amending its constitution to recognize marriage as being a union between one man and one woman. The amendment was supported by then-Gov. Mitt Romney, but luckily, it failed to become law! Marriage remained legal statewide.


Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaking at a press conference on Feb. 11, 2004, in support of amending the state's constitution to revoke same-sex marriage rights. Photo by Michael Springer/Getty Images.

In 2004, Maine passed a civil partnership bill. In 2006, New Jersey joined them.

During the 2006 mid-term elections, Colorado, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin passed statewide same-sex marriage bans by referendum. — bleh.

In 2007, Washington, Oregon, and New Hampshire signed civil union/domestic partnership bills into law. (Slow and steady wins the race.)

2008: Connecticut and California (kinda — Prop 8).

On May 15, 2008, California's Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality. The following month, couples began to get married! Love! Happiness! Et cetera!

This picture, taken June 17, 2008, shows newlyweds Ariel Owens and Joseph Barham exiting San Francisco City Hall following the state Supreme Court decision granting marriage equality. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

Unfortunately, that victory was short-lived. That November, the state would vote on Proposition 8, a referendum that would effectively undo the court's decision. Prop 8 passed with 52% of people voting in its favor, putting an end to same-sex marriage in California.

On Nov. 5, 2008, on the day after the Proposition 8 vote, LGBT individuals and allies rallied, devastated but determined to fight. Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images.

Maryland passed a domestic partnership bill into law, and in October, marriage equality came to Connecticut as the result of a state Supreme Court ruling. In all, 2008 was up and down.

2009: Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, and D.C. legalize marriage.

In 2009, three states (plus D.C.!) joined Massachusetts and Connecticut in legalizing same-sex marriage.

On April 3, Iowa's Supreme Court ruled the state's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. Four days later,Vermont became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage through its legislature when it overrode a veto by Gov. Jim Douglas! That June, New Hampshire's Gov. John Lynch signed a similar bill into law. The District of Columbia Council voted to recognize same-sex marriage in December.

Marriage was on a roll!

A couple applies for a marriage license on April 27, 2009, at Iowa's Polk County Administration Building. Earlier that month, the state's Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

2010-2012: New York, Washington, and rights by popular vote.

As states like Illinois, Hawaii, Delaware, and Rhode Island passed civil unions bills into law, other states aimed higher. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the state's marriage equality bill into law on June 24, 2011, after narrowly passing through the state Senate.

In early 2012, same-sex marriage came to Washington and Maryland by way of their state legislatures. These victories were short-lived after the laws' opponents collected enough signatures to put the bills up for a public referendum in the November elections.

In November, voters in Maine, Maryland, and Washington voted in favor of marriage equality. For the first time in U.S. history, states voted to enact marriage equality by popular vote. Prior to this, the issue was frequently placed on ballots as a way to increase voter turnout among evangelical Christians. The tide had finally turned.

2013-2014: Down with DOMA, putting an end to Prop 8, and the marriage equality tipping point.

In May 2013, governors in Rhode Island, Delaware, and Minnesota signed marriage equality bills into law.

That June, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned California's Proposition 8 as well as Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act. Section 3 was the portion of the law that prevented the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. These rulings set off a chain reaction in the states. Big things were happening! Big things!

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act and overturned California's Proposition 8. This was a major victory for LGBTQ individuals. Photo by Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images.

In October, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie dropped the state's appeal of a court decision in favor of marriage equality. In November, Hawaii became the 15th state to grant marriage rights to same-sex couples. Illinois joined the club a week later, and New Mexico the month after that.


A man attends the marriage equality signing ceremony in Illinois on Nov. 20, 2013. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

In 2014, same-sex marriage came to Oregon, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Virginia, Indiana, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Wyoming, Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, and Montana by way of court rulings. Florida would join during the first week of 2015.

2015: Showdown at the Supreme Court.

As same-sex marriage bans fell one after another, it became clear that the issue was headed back to the Supreme Court for what many hoped would be a once and for all.

On April 28, the court heard arguments in the Obergefell v. Hodges case. On June 26, 2015, the ruling came back. It's finally here! Marriage equality is here!

Yes! Love! Yes.


Photo by Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images.

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