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National Gay and Lesbian Task Force collection of Media Reports on Same-sex Marriage, 2004 General Election

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: Coll2008-055

Scope and Content of Collection

This collection consists of newspaper clippings and printouts of articles posted to newspaper and other media websites ("WebClips") documenting GLBT-related issues in the last quarter of 2004, in particular the political battle over constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage put before voters in 11 states (Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon and Utah) in the general election of November 2 (Louisiana and Missouri voted on, and passed, similar amendments earlier in the year). The newspaper clippings relate almost exclusively to the issue of same-sex marriage and the role the NGLTF played in the political battle. The webclips, taken from a wide variety of websites (including newspapers, television and radio stations, and organizations), cover a broader range of other GLBT issues, many of them local, in which the also NGLTF played a role.

Dates

  • September-November 2004

Creator

Access

The collection is open to researchers. There are no access restrictions.

Publication Rights

Researchers wishing to publish materials must obtain permission in writing from ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives as the physical owner. Researchers must also obtain clearance from the holder(s) of any copyrights in the materials. Note that ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives can grant copyright clearance only for those materials for which we hold the copyright. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain copyright clearance for all other materials directly from the copyright holder(s).

History

The GLBT community has challenged the legal restriction of marriage to opposite-sex partners since at least 1970, when the Reverend Troy Perry, founder of the predominantly GLBT Metropolitan Community Church, presided over a ceremony between two women, issuing a church marriage certificate that would have exempted the couple from obtaining a marriage license had they been a man and a woman. Other efforts to circumvent the legal restriction were subsequently undertaken in Minnesota (1971), Kentucky (1973), Boulder, Colorado (1975), Washington, DC (1990), and Ithaca, New York (1995).

GLBT efforts to obtain legal recognition of same-sex marriage increased in the decade between 1995 and 2004. In 1996, the Supreme Court of Hawaii's consideration of a measure that would have legalized same-sex marriage in that state created considerable controversy. In response, anti-gay sentiment in the US Congress led to the passage of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which gives states the right to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages enacted in other states and denies federal benefits to same-sex marital partners. The measure passed even though same-sex marriage had not yet been made legal anywhere in the US, and despite the fact that it appeared to pose a conflict with the Constitution's provision for full faith and credit.

Despite the passage of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, the GLBT community's efforts continued, meeting with increasing success:

  • In 2000, following a class-action suit begun in 1997, the state of Vermont instituted a form of "civil union", whereby same-sex couples registered as domestic partners gain access to some 300 state benefits and privileges in the areas of inheritance, property transfers, medical decisions, workers' compensation, insurance, and state taxes previously available only to heterosexual married couples.
  • On June 26, 2003, the US Supreme Court's decision in Lawrence v. Texas struck down consensual sodomy laws across the nation. Legal scholars interpreted this decision as providing a foundation for the legalization of same-sex marriage, since without sodomy laws a primary justification for the denial of other civil entitlements (including marriage) could no longer be invoked.
  • On September 19, 2003, governor Gray Davis signed into law the California Domestic Partners Rights and Responsibilities Act of 2003 (effective January 1, 2005), extending to domestic partnerships virtually all the legal rights and responsibilities of marriage in California.
  • On November 13, 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health that the state's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional; town clerks began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on May 17, 2004.
  • Between February 14 and March 11, 2004 (when forced to cease by court order), the County of San Francisco issued marriage licenses to over 4,000 same-sex couples.
  • Between March 3 and April 20, 2004 (when forced to cease by court order), Multnomah County, Oregon, issued marriage licenses to 3,022 same-sex couples.
  • Extent

    2 Linear Feet

    Language of Materials

    English

    Abstract

    Newspaper clippings and printouts of articles on posted to newspaper and other media websites ("WebClips") documenting the political battle over constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage put before voters in 11 states (Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon and Utah) in the general election of November 2, 2004.

    Arrangement

    The materials are arranged by format (newspaper clippings and webclips), then chronologically by the date of publication.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of the Sheri Lunn, former Communications Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, September 2008.

    Processing Information

    Collection processed by Lilly Insalata, October 18, 2008.

    Processing this collection has been funded by a generous grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

    Title
    Finding aid of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Collection of Media Reports on Same-sex Marriage, 2004 General Election Coll2008.055
    Status
    Completed
    Author
    Lilly Insalata
    Date
    © 2008
    Description rules
    Describing Archives: A Content Standard
    Language of description
    English
    Script of description
    Latin
    Language of description note
    Finding aid written in: English

    Repository Details

    Part of the ONE Archives at the USC Libraries, University of Southern California Repository

    Contact:
    909 West Adams Boulevard
    Los Angeles California 90007 United States
    (213) 821-2771