In the 2000s, the battle for marriage equality took center stage.
Activists had been engaged in legal battles at the state level for years now, and couples rejoiced when on May 17, 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage through Goodridge v. Department of Public Health.
The above photo depicts Hillary and Julie Goodridge, lead plaintiffs in the case, celebrating their marriage after the decision was announced.
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In 2008, however, California voters approved the infamous Proposition 8, which limited marriage to opposite-sex couples in the state. Prop 8 set off a wave of protests and two years later, the Supreme Court deemed it unconstitutional and overturned it.
The above photo shows a group of California protestors a few days after Prop 8 passed.
While national marriage equality was not won in this decade, there were other crucial and historic victories.
In 2003, the Supreme Court decriminalized homosexual sex acts in Lawrence v. Texas.
And in 2009, President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which made it a federal crime to assault someone due to their gender identity or sexual orientation.