Same-sex couple Ariel Owens (R) and his spouse Joseph Barham walk arm in arm after they were married at San Francisco City Hall June 17, 2008 in San Francisco, California.
It started in 1989.
Andrew Sullivan wrote a cover story for The New Republic arguing for gay marriage
. It was at the time a radical proposition – although Sullivan’s argument came from a philosophically conservative place.
This was a key paragraph:
Legalizing gay marriage would offer homosexuals the same deal society now offers heterosexuals: general social approval and specific legal advantages in exchange for a deeper and harder-to-extract-yourself from commitment to another human being. Like straight marriage, it would foster social cohesion, emotional security, and economic prudence. Since there’s no reason gays should not be allowed to adopt or be foster parents, it could also help nurture children. And its introduction would not be some sort of radical break with social custom. As it has become more acceptable for gay people to acknowledge their loves publicly, more and more have committed themselves to one another for life in full view of their families and their friends, A law institutionalizing gay marriage would merely reinforce a healthy social trend.
It would also, in the wake of AIDS, qualify as a genuine public health measure. Those conservatives who deplore promiscuity among some homosexuals should be among the first to support it. Burke could have written a powerful case for it.
There is plenty of history of the gay marriage movement before Sullivan’s essay, but his advocacy helped bring it in to the mainstream.