2013 was an incredible year for the marriage equality movement. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was struck down. Prop 8 was struck down, allowing California to—finally!—be among the handful of states that granted same-sex marriages.
And 2014 appears to be following suit: In the past week, governors, senators, and legal officials in Virginia and Montana made headlines for their continued fight for equality. And on Monday, Oregon struck down its same-sex marriage ban. Followed by Pennsylvania doing the same on Tuesday. Two for two days! Unfortunately, the trend didn't continue with, say, Mississippi on Wednesday, Florida on Thursday, and Texas today. But progress is progress. And look! Love is winning:
On Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Michael McShane struck down the ban on same-sex marriage in Oregon on the basis of discrimination. McShane explained, "We can see in these plaintiffs nothing more or less than our own families."
1. Julie Engbloom and Laurie Brown in Oregon:
2. Richard Glenn and Bert Boehm in Oregon:
On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge John E. Jones III struck down the same ban in Pennsylvania, with the law going into effect immediately. "We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history," he said.
3. Jefferson Rougeau and Steven Creps in Pennsylvania:
4. William Roletter and Paul Rowe in Pennsylvania:
5. Lindsay Vandermay and Ashley Wilson in Pennsylvania:
On the same day, a federal judge in Utah declared the state must recognize the same-sex marriages that were (temporarily) officiated between the end of December of last year and January of this year. There will be a 21-day hold on this ruling.
6. Chris Serrano and Clifton Webb in Utah:
7. Derek Kitchen and Moudi Sbeity in Utah:
8. Cherly Haws and Shelly Eyre in Utah:
It's not always so simple: This news follows Arkansas, where the court declared their same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. In the days following, 400 marriage licenses were issued, while opposition fought the ruling. A week later, the Arkansas Supreme Court granted a hold that would stop same-sex marriages during an appeal.
9. Allan Cox and Steven Thomas in Arkansas:
10. Unknown couple in Arkansas:
A similar thing happened in Idaho last week, where U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Wagahoff Dale said the ban does "not withstand any applicable level of constitutional scrutiny." She denied a stay appeal and request for an emergency hearing, but two days later, the Ninth Circuit Court issued the hold.
But still, victories! Some of the most conservative states in the U.S.—ARKANSAS! UTAH!—are making leaps and bounds in the progress of equality. Hey, if it can happen in Salt Lake City, it can happen anywhere.
For those keeping track, that brings us to a total of 19 states that grant same-sex marriages (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Main, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington). Almost halfway there!