2013 was one of the most eventful years in recent memory. From the Supreme Court rulings against Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act, to marriage equality spreading to 16 states and the District of Columbia, 2013 broke down many barriers. We earned such role models and future leaders as Wentworth Miller, Steve Grand, Jason Collins, and Jack Andraka; likewise, we lost pioneers such as Jeanne Manford, José Sarria, and Sean Sasser. Television arguably entered a “post-gay” era, all the while a majority of Americans continued to support marriage equality and a record eight out of ten Americans said they had a gay friend or acquaintance. 2013 was a year that people will keep in their minds for a very long time.
Here’s a rundown of national events that we were talking about this year.
January 1 – Gay and lesbian couples start marrying in Maryland.
January 2 – Illinois Republican Party chairman Pat Brady implores his colleagues to support marriage equality. He would later be forced to resign after backlash results due to his pro-equality stance.
January 8 – Jeanne Manford, founder of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), dies at the age of 92.
January 10 – The dean of the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. announces that gay and lesbian couples are welcome to be married there.
January 13 – Jodie Foster comes out to the public on the live telecast of the Golden Globe Awards. Foster said, “I already did my coming out about a thousand years ago, back in the Stone Age. In those very quaint days when a fragile young girl would open up to trusted friends and family, coworkers, and then gradually, proudly, to everyone who knew her.”
January 20 – President Barack Obama says the word “gay” and mentions the topic of gay rights for the first time ever in a presidential inaugural address.
February 20 – Former First Lady Laura Bush appears in a pro-marriage equality advertisement created by the Respect for Marriage Coalition. One day after it airs, she requests that she be removed from the ad.
February 21 – For the first time, the Associated Press Stylebook allows legally married same-sex couples to be referred to with words such as “husband” and “wife.”
February 27 – Many prominent Republican politicians and pundits backs a legal brief asking the Supreme Court to rule on the side of marriage equality.
February 27 – Phoenix, Arizona, the nation’s sixth-largest city, expands its anti-discrimination ordinance to include LGBT people.
March 15 – Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) becomes the first sitting Republican senator to support marriage equality. He had a change of heart after the coming out of his son, Will.
March 17 – The Green Street United Methodist Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, refuses to marry any straight couples until gay couples can marry in North Carolina.
March 21 – Governor John Hickenlooper signs a civil unions bill into law in Colorado.
March 26-27 – The U.S. Supreme Court debates the issue of gay marriage for the first time ever.
March 30 – Singer Marie Osmond tells ABC’s Diane Sawyer in an interview that her choice to support marriage equality was a direct result of supporting her daughter who is a lesbian. “I think my daughter deserves everything that she desires in life. She’s a good girl. She’s a wonderful child. I don’t think God made one color flower. I think he made many…” Osmond said.
April 2 – New Jersey college student Cason Crane becomes the first gay man to scale Mount Everest, and he brings a rainbow flag.
April 12 – According to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, eight out of ten Americans know or work with someone who is gay or lesbian, the largest number in the poll’s history.
April 25 – John Paulk, an “ex-gay” spokesman who sparked controversy by participating in a 1998 Newsweek cover story on “ex-gays,” comes out as gay and apologizes to those he deceived and hurt.
April 26 – Philip Frank, husband of Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), is the first same-sex spouse to receive a congressional spouse identification card.
May 1 – Gay and lesbian couples are allowed to apply for civil unions in Colorado.
May 2 – Governor Lincoln Chafee signs a marriage equality bill into law in Rhode Island.
May 7 – Governor Jack Markell signs a marriage equality bill into law in Delaware.
May 13 – Minnesota votes to legalize same-sex marriage. Governor Mark Dayton signs the bill into law the next day. St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman renames the Wabasha Street Bridge for one week to the “Freedom to Marry Bridge.”
May 23 – The Boy Scouts of America’s national council votes to allow openly gay youth. The ban on openly gay troop leaders is left uncontested.
May 30 – Puerto Rico passes employment non-discrimination and domestic violence protection laws that include LGBT people.
June 3 – Kristin Beck becomes the first former U.S. Navy SEAL to come out as transgender in her autobiography, “Warrior Princess: A U.S. Navy SEAL’s Journey to Coming out Transgender.”
June 16 – Chandler Massey wins his second Outstanding Young Actor Daytime Emmy for his role as young gay man Will Horton on the soap opera “Days of our Lives.”
June 18 – The American Medical Association takes an official stand against the Food and Drug Administration’s lifetime ban on blood donations from gay men.
June 19 – Exodus International, the largest “ex-gay” Christian ministry, closes its doors and issues an apology to the gay community.
June 21 – Under-Secretary of the U.S. Air Force, Eric Fanning, is temporarily promoted to Secretary of the U.S. Air Force, becoming the first gay person to head a branch of the U.S. armed forces.
June 26 – In a 5 to 4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional. The Court rules that DOMA violated the rights of gays and lesbians and also interferes with states’ rights to define marriage.
June 26 – The U.S. Supreme Court removes the last legal battles that blocked gay couples from marrying in California.
June 28 – Across the country, civilian federal employees are encouraged to enroll their spouses in all benefits extended to straight couples.
June 28 – Same-sex couples start marrying again in California for the first time since 2008.
June 28 – U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services grants the first “green card” to a foreign-born spouse of a binational same-sex couple.
July 1 – Gay and lesbian couples start marrying in Delaware.
July 2 – Singer Steve Grand releases the music video for his song “All-American Boy” on YouTube; it quickly goes viral.
July 3 – Eleven gay couples file a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the same-sex marriage ban in Arkansas.
July 20 – “Modern Family” star Jesse Tyler Ferguson marries his partner, attorney Justin Mikita.
July 23 – A federal judge in Ohio orders the state to recognize Jim Obergefell as John Arthur’s legal husband on his death certificate once Arthur dies from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), despite the fact that Ohio does not recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions. Arthur dies on October 22.
July 24 – Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, issues marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples despite there being a ban in place on same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania.
July 26 – A couple married in Canada files a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the same-sex marriage ban in Kentucky.
July 29 – While promoting his new series “Sean Saves the World,” actor Sean Hayes tells a reporter that he believes television has entered a “post-gay” era.
August 1 – Gay and lesbian couples start marrying in Minnesota and Rhode Island.
August 7 – In “Kevin Keller No. 10,” Archie Comics character Kevin Keller is shown kissing a man (his boyfriend) for the first time.
August 7 – Sean Sasser, HIV/AIDS activist and former boyfriend of The Real World: San Francisco cast member and fellow activist Pedro Zamora, dies of AIDS-related mesothelioma at the age of 44.
August 8 – “Same Love,” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, featuring Mary Lambert, peaks at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100. It is the first Top 40 hit to promote and celebrate marriage equality.
August 12 – California Governor Jerry Brown signs a bill into law allowing students the choice of resources and facilities by the gender they feel they are, not necessarily the sex they are biologically.
August 19 – Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey signs a law banning gay conversion therapy on minors in the state.
August 19 – José Sarria, gay rights pioneer in San Francisco, California and founder of the Imperial Court System, dies at the age of 90.
August 21 – September 4 – Eight counties in New Mexico begin issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.
August 26 – The Alabama Republican Party decides not to oust Stephanie Petelos, the president of the College Republican Federation of Alabama, for voicing her support for marriage equality.
August 28 – Walmart announces it will provide benefits to same-sex partners of full-time employees.
August 31 – U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg becomes the first Justice, sitting or otherwise, to officiate a same-sex wedding. It was held at the Supreme Court’s atrium.
September 24 – Judge Todd M. Hughes of Ohio becomes the first openly gay federal circuit court judge in U.S. history.
October 1 – Three gay couples file a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the same-sex marriage ban in West Virginia.
October 5 – Little Rock, Arkansas, a city with a population of nearly 200,000, holds its first-ever gay pride parade.
October 10 – The United States Postal Service announces the release of a commemorative stamp for Harvey Milk, making it the first time an LGBT person has been featured on a U.S. postage stamp.
October 12 – Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis marries his boyfriend, paralegal Johnny Chaillot.
October 16 – Oregon, which currently does not allow same-sex marriage, begins recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states and countries.
October 18 – Jason Pickel and Darren Black Bear become the first same-sex couple married in Oklahoma (albeit on a reservation under the jurisdiction of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes).
October 21 – The New Jersey Supreme Court denies Governor Chris Christie a delay in implementing marriage equality in the state; couples marry immediately. Governor Christie drops the state’s case against same-sex marriage the next day.
October 22 – Four gay couples file a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the same-sex marriage ban in Tennessee.
October 29 – Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor officiates a same-sex wedding at the Supreme Court’s lawyer’s lounge.
November 2 – The first same-sex couple is married at the United States Military Academy, West Point.
November 6 – Virginia Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe tells the press that his first act as Governor will be to sign an executive order banning workplace discrimination against LGBT state employees.
November 7 – The U.S. Senate votes to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) by a vote of 64-32.
November 13 – Governor Neil Abercrombie signs a marriage equality bill into law in Hawaii.
November 14 – Missouri allows gay and lesbian couples to file jointly on state income tax forms.
November 17 – Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and candidate for the U.S. Senate from Wyoming, publicly restates her opposition to marriage equality, even though her sister Mary is a lesbian and married. A very public fight ensues between the sisters, their parents Dick and Lynne Cheney, and Mary Cheney’s wife Heather Poe.
November 20 – Civil rights leader Bayard Rustin and astronaut Sally Ride are posthumously awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Obama. Rustin and Ride’s partners accept the medals in their honor.
November 20 – Governor Pat Quinn signs a marriage equality bill into law in Illinois.
December 1 – Maria Bello, of “ER” fame, comes out as bisexual and talks about her relationship with a woman in a New York Times op-ed.
December 2 – Gay and lesbian couples start marrying in Hawaii.