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2004 in gay rights

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gay rights

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LGBT activism
same-sex marriage







  • April 1
  • April 20
    • Same-sex marriage in the United States
      • Oregon Circuit Court Judge Frank Bearden ruled that the state must "accept and register" marriages of same-sex couples. He then ordered a tempory stop to issuing new licenses, but gave the Oregon Legislative Assembly 90 days from the start of its next session to write a law that ensures identical rights for same-sex couples, which could happen through civil marriage or civil union. If the legislature fails to act on the issue within the 90 days, licenses to same-sex couples will resume. The order has been appealed by both proponents and opponents of same-sex marriage, in hopes of the issue making a fast track to the Oregon Supreme Court, which may rule the ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. A ruling upheld by the state supreme court in 1999 says government officials must meet an extraordinary burden to treat gays and straights differently — the same high burden required to justify disparate treatment of blacks and whites, or men and women. Opponents hope to change the Oregon constitution to define marriage as restricted to one man and one woman through a vote on the November 2004 ballot.
  • Rio Grande do Sul is the first Brazilian State to legalize Civil unions.


  • May 17
  • May 29 - U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner (in Massachusetts) rules that stating that someone is homosexual does not libel or slander them, saying that "a finding that such a statement is defamatory requires this court to legitimize the prejudice and bigotry that for too long have plagued the homosexual community". The ruling came in a lawsuit of James Albright against the singer Madonna: Albright's name had appeared in a photo caption in a book by Andrew Morton about Madonna. Gertner said previous rulings that stating someone is homosexual is defamatory had relied on laws criminalizing same-sex sexual acts, and had to be reevaluated in light of more recent rulings that such laws are Constitutionally suspect. [46]




  • August 9
    • Appointed by Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Rudy Serra was sworn in as a judge in the state's District 36, serving Detroit, becoming the first openly gay judge in the state.
    • Authorities in Nepal raid bars and clubs to arrest 39 members of the Blue Diamond Society, a gay rights and AIDS education organization and charged them with "spreading perversion."
  • August 12
    • Same-sex marriage in the United States
      • In a 5-2 vote, the California state supreme court voids the almost 4,000 same-sex marriages performed in San Francisco between February 12 and March 11 after another, unanimous decision that the city's officials overstepped their legal rights in ignoring state laws in issuing marriages licences to same-sex couples.
    • Governor James McGreevey of New Jersey becomes the first openly-gay chief executive of a U.S. state when he discloses an extramarital affair with another man and announces his resignation effective November 12.
  • August 13
  • August 16
    • Same-sex marriage in Canada
      • Federal justice minister Irwin Cotler announces that the federal government will no longer resist court proceedings aiming to require provincial governments to issue same-sex marriage licences.
    • Same-sex marriage in the United States:
      • Ohio election officials approve the wording to be placed on the state ballot for the proposed state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and extension of marriage rights to the non-married to read as follows:
"Only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this state and its political subdivisions. This state and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance or effect of marriage."
  • August 17
    • UNAIDS and Human Rights Watch call on the government of Nepal to release the 39 members of the Blue Diamond Society imprisoned August 9.


  • September 16
    • Same-sex marriage in Canada: Manitoba becomes the fifth of Canada's provinces or territories to have legal same-sex marriage. Neither the federal nor provincial governments opposed the lawsuit filed by three couples, one of whom had previously filed suit for same-sex marriage in 1974. See Same-sex marriage in Manitoba.
  • September 23
    • California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signs "SB 1234," a bill that defines the legal term "hate crime" (which includes LGBT-motivated violence) for all state and local agencies, encourages the creation of local law enforcement hate-crime protocols and increased hate crime awareness training for law enforcement officers.
  • September 24
    • Same-sex marriage in Canada: Nova Scotia becomes the sixth of Canada's provinces or territories to have legal same-sex marriage. Neither the federal nor provincial governments opposed the lawsuit filed by three couples, one of whom had already been married in Ontario and sought recognition for their marriage in their home province. See Same-sex marriage in Nova Scotia.
  • September 25
    • California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signs "AB 2900," a bill to unify all state anti-discrimination codes to match the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. In essence it adds "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" anti-discrimination protections to the California government, labor, military and veterans, public utilities, unemployment and insurance, and welfare and institutions codes.
  • September 27
    • California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signs "SB 1193," a bill to provide a $10,000 death benefit to the surviving spouse or designated beneficiary of a member of on of the state military reserves (California National Guard, State Military Reserve, or Naval militia). The bill, retroactive to March 1, 2003 allows LGBT partners of military personnel be listed as "designated beneficiary."
  • September 30




  • December 9
    • New Zealand Parliament passes the Civil Union Bill, establishing the new institution of civil union, available to same-sex and de facto couples. The Civil Union Bill has been described as a copy of the Marriage Act with "marriage" replaced by "civil union". Its companion bill, the Relationships (Statutory References) Bill, was to remove discriminatory provisions from a large number of pieces of legislation, but has run into stumbling blocks in Parliament and has been shelved until 2005.
    • The Supreme Court of Canada rules in its reference on same-sex marriage that altering the legal definition of marriage to include same-sex couples is within the jurisdiction of the Parliament of Canada. Prime Minister Paul Martin indicates that his government will introduce such a bill early in the new year.
  • December 21


External links[edit]

This article is based on a GNU FDL LGBT Wikia article: in gay rights 2004 in gay rights LGBT