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Big gay year: 2004 produced more powerful gay images and dramatic developments than ever before. Here's a look back at what will likely be remembered as a watershed year.

JANUARY

1--The Canadian edition of Time magazine picks Michael Stark and Michael Leshner, the first gay couple to be married in Ontario, as the top newsmakers of 2003.

12--New Jersey governor James E. McGreevey signs a bill creating a domestic-partnership registry, making his state the fifth one to extend at least some marriage-like rights to gay and lesbian couples.

20--National theater chain Madstone Theaters pulls Latter Days, a film about a gay man who falls in love with a closeted Mormon missionary, from a planned engagement in Salt Lake City.

26--The nation's first voter-approved domestic-partnership registry opens for business in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

28--The 11th U.S. circuit court of appeals upholds Florida's complete ban on adoption by gays in the case of four gay men seeking to adopt foster children already in their care. The same court later refuses to rehear the case.

30--Despite the defense's argument that the U.S. Supreme Court abolished all sodomy laws in 2003, the Kansas in court of appeals rules in the case of Matthew Limon that the state can punish him more harshly for having sex with a minor because that minor was of the same sex.

FEBRUARY

1--The Super Bowl on CBS features the first public service announcement regarding HIV ever to air during that widely viewed event.

2--Ending a lengthy legal battle, officials in Boyd County, m, Ky., agree to allow a gay-straight alliance club to meet at Boyd County High School.

4--In a stunningly good piece of news for gay Americans, the Massachusetts high court reaffirms that only full, equal marriage for gay couples---rather than civil unions--meets the requirements of its November 2003 ruling. The country's first gay marriages are slated for mid May.

7--Citing Massachusetts's pending same-sex marriages, Ohio governor Bob Taft signs the legislature-approved "super DOMA," giving Ohio one of the country's most far-reaching same-sex marriage bans.

Leaders of Anglican churches in Africa, Asia, and Latin America join to endorse an Episcopalian splinter group opposed to the 2003 ordination of an openly gay man, V. Gene Robinson, as bishop of New Hampshire.

12--In a bold move, San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom makes his city the only government entity in the United States to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples. By day's end 15 gay and lesbian couples have wed.

19--Sandoval County, N.M., clerk Victoria Dunlap says she sees no legal barriers to issuing marriage licenses to gay couples and starts doing so. Dozens of couples are married the next day before New Mexico attorney general Patricia Madrid puts a stop to it.

24--President George W. Bush calls a press conference to announce his support for the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would not only deny marriage to gay couples but could also prevent any state legislature or electorate from ever voting to pass their own state's domestic-partnership, civil union, or marriage laws.

27--Mayor Jason West of New Paltz, N.Y., performs more than two dozen same-sex weddings outside the village hall of the small Hudson Valley college town. Four days later he is charged with 19 violations of the state's domestic relations law.

MARCH

3--Gay and lesbian couples line up for marriage licenses in Portland, Ore., after Multnomah County approves same-sex unions.

"Under threat of arrest, Nyack, N.Y., mayor John Shields abandons plans to join New Paltz's West in marrying gay couples and instead announces his intention to challenge the state in court.

Lesbian couple Donna Harrison and Kathy Ragauckas marry in Asbury Park, N.J., after being issued a license by city officials. A day later New Jersey attorney general Peter C. Harvey halts the practice.

8--The U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear an appeal from the Boy Scouts of America, effectively upholding a ruling from a Connecticut court that established the state's right to exclude the Scouts from state programs because of the Scouts' antigay policy.

11--The California state supreme court orders an immediate halt to same-sex marriages in San Francisco after nearly 4,000 are performed.

16--A South African court sentences two men to nine life terms each for the brutal slayings of nine men at the Sizzlers massage parlor in Cape Town in 2003.

16--Causing a media firestorm that sweeps the nation, Rhea County, Tenn., commissioners unanimously pass a resolution to criminalize homosexuality, while proposing a local law to bar gays from the county. "We need to keep them out of here," says commissioner J.C. Fugate.

20--The Reverend Karen Dammann (with partner Meredith Savage) is acquitted during a church trial for having "allegedly violated the Methodist Church's Hook of Discipline when she announced in 2001 that she was in a lesbian relationship.

21--Ladies Professional Golf Association member and 13-time LPGA tour winner Rosie Jones publicly acknowledges she is a lesbian.

29--The Massachusetts legislature passes a proposed state constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage but legalize civil unions, by a tally of 105-92. The vote must be affirmed again during the next two-year session and by voters in the fall of 2006.

30--The U.S House of Representatives votes 343-81 to deny defense-related funding to universities that don't provide military recruiters access to their campuses because of the armed services' antigay policies.

31--Rhode Island's Democratic house majority leader, Gordon Fox, announces he is gay during a committee hearing on a bill to allow same-sex marriage.

APRIL

1--Three out of five members of the Westminster school district board in Orange County, Calif., put state funding at risk when they reject a state-mandated antidiscrimination policy that "protects transgender students, calling it "immoral." The board later adopts its own policy stating that gender will not be considered in discrimination claims.

5--Doug Wright, author of the play I Am My Own Wife, the in tale of real-life German transvestite Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, wins the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for drama.

20--Oregon judge Frank Bearden orders a halt to same-sex weddings in Multnomah County, which for weeks had been the only place in the nation where gay couples could marry. At the time over 3,000 couples had been wed.

Montreal-based entertainment company Cirque du Soleil agrees to pay a record $600,000 to settle a discrimination lawsuit brought by openly gay gymnast Matthew Cusick, who was fired in 2003 because he has HIV.

22--A transgender woman in a black dress and a teenage boy wearing only shorts cause a sensation when they climb a tree in New York City's Central Park and begin performing oral sex in front of onlookers. The lovers later say they were protesting their families' lack of understanding of their relationship.

28--Gov. John Baldacci of Maine signs a domestic-partnership bill into law, making his state the sixth to extend at least some marriage-like rights to gay and lesbian couples.

MAY

4--In a move widely criticized as threatening to the welfare of children, Oklahoma governor Brad Henry signs a bill outlawing state recognition of adoptions by out-of-state gay and lesbian couples.

6--The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund sets a powerful precedent when it decides to compensate Nancy Walsh for the loss of her partner, Carol Flyzik, who was on board American Airlines Flight 11 when it crashed into the World Trade Center in 2001.

7--Notorious antigay crusader and California state senator William J. "Pete" Knight, 74, author of the state's voter-approved same-sex marriage ban, dies of leukemia. A couple of months before his death, Knight's openly gay son, David, married his longtime partner at San Francisco City Hall.

17--Same-sex couples begin exchanging marriage vows in Massachusetts, marking the first time a state has granted gay and "lesbian couples the fight to marry and making the United States one of four countries in which gay couples can legally wed.

28--In a case brought by a former boyfriend of Madonna's, who claimed he was identified as gay in a book about her life, a federal judge rules that stating someone is gay can no longer be considered libelous.

JUNE

5--Ronald Reagan dies at 93, opening old wounds for many gay and AIDS activists about the former president's lack of action during the early stages of the AIDS epidemic.

15--The U.S. Senate passes a long-awaited hate-crimes bill that includes crimes committed on the basis of sexual orientation.

16--The national gay rights group Human Rights Campaign endorses Massachusetts Democratic senator John Kerry for president.

18--Acclaimed jazz saxophonist Dave Koz, who came out in the April 27 issue of The Advocate, is named one of People magazine's 50 Hottest Bachelors.

20--Court records reveal that Kentucky gay couple Michael Meehan and Thomas Dysarz have spilt up. The pair made national headlines in 2002 when they became the parents of quadruplets.

22--Gasps of dismay are heard inside a Hayward, Calif., courtroom as the trial of three men accused of murdering transgender teen Gwen Araujo ends in a mistrial. Prosecutors vow to retry the case.

27--Organizers of the gay pride parade in Conway, Ark., awake to find the parade route covered in cow manure. Area resident Wesley Bono, who argues he had a free speech right to commit the act, is later convicted of misdemeanor harassment.

JULY

14--As expected, the antigay Federal Marriage Amendment fails on a procedural vote in the U.S. Senate, providing "what is widely considered to be an embarrassing defeat for President Bush and Republican leaders in Congress.

18--Gay Alabama teen Scotty Joe Weaver, 18, is brutally murdered in what police describe as a likely hate crime. Three of Weaver's housemates are later charged with murder.

22--The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives votes to prevent federal courts from ordering states to recognize same-sex marriages sanctioned by other states. The Marriage Protection Act passes 233-194 and strips courts of their jurisdiction to rule on challenges to state bans on gay marriage under the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act.

AUGUST

3--Missouri voters overwhelmingly pass a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

4--King County superior court judge William L. Downing rules that same-sex couples can be married under Washington state law because denying their right to do so is a violation of their state constitutional rights. His decision is stayed until the state supreme court reviews the case.

12--With his wife at his side, New Jersey governor James E. McGreevey comes out during a dramatic press conference in which he coins the now-ubiquitous term "I am a gay American." McGreevey acknowledges he had an extramarital affair with a man and announces he will resign on November 15.

California's state supreme court rules that San Francisco's Newsom overstepped his authority in issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. The court also voids all of the marriages. The ruling, however, does not address whether the couples have a constitutional right to marriage.

23--The U.S. military's highest court refuses to strike down the armed services' ban on private, consensual sodomy, despite the U.S. Supreme Court's 2003 ruling against such laws.

24--Vice President Dick Cheney, whose daughter Mary (with partner Heather Poe) is a lesbian, speaks in support of gay relationships saying, "Freedom means freedom for everyone," at a campaign rally in Davenport, Iowa.

25--Days before the Republican convention is set to begin, the party's platform committee rejects a gay-inclusive "Party Unity" plank proposed by the Log Cabin Republicans. The committee, however, adopts strong language against recognition of same-sex relationships.

30--Amid allegations that he is gay and had posted voice-mail messages on a telephone service seeking men for sex, U.S. representative Edward Schrock of Virginia announces his retirement.

SEPTEMBER

2--Home improvement retail giant Home Depot Inc. announces it will offer health insurance to the domestic partners of its gay and lesbian employees. The same day the University of Pittsburgh ends a longstanding battle with its gay employees by offering to do the same.

7--The Log Cabin Republicans vote to not endorse George W. Bush for president.

8--A superior court judge in California rules against a challenge to the state's sweeping new domestic-partnership law, opening the way for the expanded registry to take effect on January 1.

12--During a televised worship service in Canada, televangelist Jimmy Swaggart says he would kill any gay man who looked at him romantically. Following numerous complaints from around the globe, Swaggart later claims he was only joking.

13--A court in the Canadian province of Ontario approves the world's first same-sex divorce, ruling that the definition of a spouse in the nation's Divorce Act is unconstitutional.

15--Lesbian teens Holly Harvey and Sandy Ketchum of Georgia are indicted for the murder of Harvey's grandparents following a rebuke of the girls' relationship. At the time of their arrest police found an apparent "to do" list tattooed on Harvey's arm: "Kill, keys, money, jewelry."

18--Louisiana voters overwhelmingly pass a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Seven, teen days later district court judge William Morvant throws out the amendment, saying it is invalid because it has two purposes: banning gay marriage and civil unions.

OCTOBER

1--Spain's ruling Socialist Party introduces legislation to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide. The proposed law, which would make Spain the third country in Europe to provide full equality in marriage, is expected to pass early in 2005.

7--In a move anticipated by many gay rights groups, Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives kill the pro-gay hate-crimes provision passed by the Senate in June. It marks the second time in four years that House Republicans have killed such legislation.

8--Lesbian singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge announces she has breast cancer and will undergo surgery.

11--Ending a long-standing battle with gay rights activists and lawmakers around the world, resort company Sandals announces it will scrap its ban on same-sex couples at its many couples-only Caribbean retreats.

OCTOBER

18--A special commission on homosexuality in the Anglican Church issues a formal report chastising the Episcopal Church USA for consecrating openly gay bishop V. Gene Robinson (above) a year earlier. The commission asks for an official apology but dons not call for Robinson's removal.

26--In a television interview President Bush flip-flops by saying that he wouldn't oppose states establishing civil unions for gay couples. He maintains that he supports banning same-sex marriage nationwide, regardless of state laws.

2--Voters in 11 states approve constitutional amendments to ban same-sex marriage. They are Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Ohio, Oregon, and Utah.

All incumbent lawmakers in Massachusetts who voted against the proposed ban on same-sex marriage in March win reelection, providing strong encouragement to marriage equality advocates.

NOVEMBER

3--John Kerry (above, with wife Teresa) concedes the election to incumbent Bush. A CNN poll reveals that the president received about 23% of the gay vote in the election despite his vocal support for the antigay Federal Marriage Amendment.

7--White House political strategist Karl Rove tells Fox News that President Bush will continue his push to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban marriage for gays and lesbians nationwide.

9--Seeking to take advantage of the momentum from an election in which "moral values" proved politically motivating, antigay Christian broadcaster Jerry Falwell announces plans to guide an "evangelical revolution." His new Faith and Values Coalition will be a "21st-century resurrection" of his failed Moral Majority, he claims.

16--Despite Kansas's reputation as an ultraconservative state, its capital city, Topeka, passes an ordinance protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination in city employment.

17--The United Kingdom joins a growing list of European nations that legally recognize gay and lesbian relationships as the House of Lords approves the Civil Partnership Bill. The new law provides registered same-sex partners in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland with nearly all of the rights and protections of marriage.

28--Leroy F. Aarons, 70, a former national correspondent for The Washington Post and founder of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, dies of heart failure in California after a long battle with cancer.

The U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear a challenge to the Massachusetts high court's 2003 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in that state. The rejection lets stand the nation's only law providing full marriage equality.

29--The House-approved law that allows the Defense Department to withhold funding from colleges and universities that deny access to military recruiters because of the armed services' antigay policies is struck down. The third U.S. circuit court of appeals rules that the Solomon Amendment infringes on the free speech rights of schools.

30--Less than one year after she was hired on a three year contract by the nation's most prominent gay rights group, former Massachusetts legislator Cheryl Jacques resigns from her post as executive director of the Human Rights Campaign.

DECEMBER

1--Television networks CBS and NBC create their own media firestorm when they refuse to air a commercial from the United Church of Christ that affirms the church's acceptance of gay couples at a time when others do not. The networks deem the ad too controversial.

2--At the end of a widely covered church trial, lesbian minister Irene Elizabeth Stroud of Philadelphia is convicted of violating the United Methodist Church's ban on openly gay clergy. Stroud, who was charged after admitting last year to living with her female partner, is immediately defrocked.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Time Line 2004
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Calendar
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Jan 18, 2005
Words:2831
Previous Article:Anger and laughter.
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