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Awaiting the SCOTUS DOMA Ruling, June 2013
Awaiting the SCOTUS DOMA Ruling, June 2013

In this photo from June 2013, citizens await the ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court that would overturn the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The ruling came down just a few hours later from when this photo was taken.

Banner at Unitarian Church Advocating for Same-Sex Marriage Equality
Banner at Unitarian Church Advocating for Same-Sex Marriage Equality

Activists gathered at this Unitarian Church in Summit, New Jersey, in December 2012. Churches and religious groups have been a focal point for debates surrounding same-sex marriage.

Blue Lunden, a lesbian mother, with her daughter Linda, 1955
Blue Lunden, a lesbian mother, with her daughter Linda, 1955

Blue Lunden, a working-class butch lesbian from the French Quarter in New Orleans, and her daughter, Linda, 1955. Custody cases date back decades in the United State and clearly reflected the anti-gay bias in the mainstream definition of the family.

Celebrating the Repeal of DOMA, 2013
Celebrating the Repeal of DOMA, 2013

In this photo from June 2013, citizens and same-sex partners - many with children - celebrate the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Children were a central focus in both pro and anti-DOMA arguments. (Photo by Quinn Dombrowski)

Civil Union Protest, 2008
Civil Union Protest, 2008

Some activists, like this woman outside of a Mormon temple in New York City, protested against proposed "civil unions," insisting on the rights to same-sex marriage. This photo dates to November 2008.

Lesbian Wedding on NBC's Friends
Lesbian Wedding on NBC's Friends

The NBC sitcom Friends produced an episode in 1996 where two lesbians were married. In this episode, the ceremony was officiated by Candace Gingrich, a gay-rights activist and sister to the Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich. The couple also raise a child, who lives with them.

Members of San Francisco Bay Area Gay Fathers in the San Francisco Freedom Day Parade, 1980
Members of San Francisco Bay Area Gay Fathers in the San Francisco Freedom Day Parade, 1980

Across the country, in local courts, judges' rationale for denying custody and even visitation rights to lesbian mothers and gay fathers was remarkably similar, which has arguably helped launch a movement for same-sex marriage equality.

Members of San Francisco Bay Area Gay Fathers in the San Francisco Freedom Day Parade, 1980
Members of San Francisco Bay Area Gay Fathers in the San Francisco Freedom Day Parade, 1980

From 1967 to the mid-1980s, lesbian mothers and gay fathers fought and mostly lost custody cases across the country.

Modern Family television stars
Modern Family television stars

Popular television and other media has challenged anti-LGBT attitudes, especially in recent decades mirroring a shift in public attitudes.

Protest Against Proposition 8 in California
Protest Against Proposition 8 in California

In this photo from 2008, protestors gathered in Sacramento to protest Proposition 8, which had just recently re-banned same-sex marriage in California.

Rally in Support of California’s Proposition 8 to Ban Same-Sex Marriage
Rally in Support of California’s Proposition 8 to Ban Same-Sex Marriage

Proposition 8 was a ballot proposition and state constitutional amendment in California that passed in 2008. The new amendment banned same-sex marriage and was in response to a 2004 court ruling that found bans on same-sex marriage in the state illegal. The above protest against same-sex marriage equality occurred in Fresno in 2008.

Supreme Court Justice Kennedy
Supreme Court Justice Kennedy

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy authored the 5-4 majority opinion which overturned the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in June of 2013.