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Civil marriage has undergone significant changes in the United States since the country's inception:

  • 1830 - Right of married woman to own property in her own name (instead of all property being owned exclusively by the husband) in Mississippi.
  • 1848 - Right of married women to own property in her own name in New York.
  • 1854 - The Republican party referred in its platform to polygamy as one of the "twin relics of barbarism" (in addition to slavery). At the time, polygamy was a practice of some Mormons. See Polygamy and the Latter Day Saint movement.
  • 1862 - The United States Congress enacted the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act, signed by Abraham Lincoln, which made bigamy a felony in the territories punishable by $500 or five years in prison.
  • 1873 - Supreme Court rules that a state has the right to exclude a married woman from practicing law.
  • 1874 - Congress passed the Poland Act, which transferred jurisdiction over Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act cases to federal prosecutors and courts in Utah, which were not controlled by Mormons.
  • 1879 - The Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act was upheld by the United States Supreme Court in the case of Reynolds v. United States
  • 1882 - Congress passed the Edmunds Act, which prohibited not just bigamy, which remained a felony, but also bigamous cohabitation, which was prosecuted as a misdemeanor, and did not require proof an actual marriage ceremony had taken place. The law also allowed polygamists to be held indefinitely without a trial.
  • 1887 - Congress passed the Edmunds-Tucker Act, which allowed prosecutors to force polygamist wives to testify against their husbands, and abolished the right of women in Utah to vote.
  • 1890 - Mormons in Utah officially renounce polygamy through the 1890 Manifesto.
  • 1900 - All states now grant married women the right to own property in their own name.
  • 1904 - Mormons in Utah officially renounce polygamy again, excommunicating anyone who participates in future polygamy.
  • 1907 - All women acquired their husband's nationality upon any marriage occurring after that date.
  • 1933 - Married women granted right to citizenship independent of their husbands.
  • 1948 - California Supreme Court overturns interracial marriage ban. [1]
  • 1965 - Supreme Court overturns laws prohibiting married couples from using contraception.
  • 1967 - Supreme Court overturns laws prohibiting interracial couples from marrying (Loving v. Virginia).[2]
  • 1969 - The first no fault divorce law is adopted in California [2]
  • 1971 - Supreme Court upholds an Alabama law that automatically changed a woman's legal surname to that of her husband upon marriage.
  • 1971 - Supreme Court refuses to hear challenge to Minnesota Supreme Court ruling allowing prohibition of same-sex marriages (Baker v. Nelson).
  • 1972 - Supreme Court overturns laws prohibiting unmarried couples from purchasing contraception.
  • 1973 - Maryland became to first state in the US to define marriage as between a man and a woman in statute.
  • 1975 - Married women allowed to have credit in their own name. 3 states outlaw same-sex marriage by statutes.
  • 1976 - Supreme Court overturns laws prohibiting abortions for married women without the consent of the husband.
  • 1993 - All fifty states have revised laws to include marital rape. [2]
  • 1994 - 40 out of the 50 states amend their marriage statutes to outlaw same-sex marriage.
  • 1996 - President Clinton signs the Defense of Marriage Act into law, which outlaws both same-sex marriage and polygamy through a statute under the federal Government.
  • 1998 - 2 states (Alaska and Hawaii) for the first time outlaw same-sex marriage and polygamy by their state Constitutions, because of fear from Courts striking down statutes. South Carolina was the penultimate state in the US to remove the ban on interracial marriage in its state Constitution.
  • 2000 - Nebraska amends its state constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage and polygamy, while Alabama became the last state in the US to remove the ban on interracial marriage in its state Constitution.
  • 2002 - Nevada amends its state constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage and polygamy.
  • 2004 - Massachusetts grants and recognizes same-sex marriages, while 14 states rushed to outlaw same-sex marriage and polygamy through their state Constitutions in response.
  • 2005 - Texas amends its state constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage and polygamy.
  • 2006 - 26 states outlaw same-sex marriage and polygamy through their state Constitutions.
  • 2008 - Since March New York recognizes same-sex marriages performed in other places but do not grant such marriages. Since November Connecticut grants and recognizes same-sex marriages. Briefly from June 2008 California grants same-sex marriage until the passage of Proposition 8 later in the year, but continues recognizing marriages entered into prior to the proposition's passage. 29 states outlaw same-sex marriage and polygamy through their state Constitutions.
  • 2009 - Iowa and Vermont grant and recognize same-sex marriages; Since July the District of Columbia recognizes same-sex marriages performed in other places but does not grant such marriages. Maine rescinds planned legalization of same-sex marriage with 53 percent of a popular vote on November 3, 2009.
  • 2010 - New Hampshire (from 1 January) and the District of Columbia (from 3 March) grants and recognizes same-sex marriages. Maryland (from 24 February) recognizes same-sex marriages.

See also

Other

References

  1. ^ Perez v. Sharp
  2. ^ a b c Solidarity.org, A Selective History of Marriage in the United States







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