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News of the Nation, 2009

Major U.S. news stories from the recession to same-sex marriage


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Same-Sex Marriage on Ballots, Minds of Americans

Same-sex marriage proved to be a controversial and widely discussed issue again in 2009. In April, Iowa's Supreme Court overturned a law banning same-sex marriage, making the state the third—after Massachusetts and Connecticut—to legalize the practice. Vermont followed suit just days later when its legislature voted to override the governor's veto of a bill allowing same-sex couples to marry. In 2000, Vermont became the first state in the nation to allow civil unions. In June, the governor of New Hampshire signed a bill allowing same-sex marriage, which is scheduled to go into effect in January 2010.

While voters in California overturned the state's Supreme Court decision to allow same-sex marriages in November 2008, the backlash of the Proposition 8 ballot measure continued to reverberate this year. In May, the California Supreme Court upheld the ban but allowed those married while the law was in effect to remain married. After this decision was made, Ted Olson and David Boies, two lawyers made famous for their opposing sides in 2000's Supreme Court case Bush vs. Gore, filed a federal lawsuit over the constitutional right of gays and lesbians to marry. And while the governor of Maine legalized same-sex marriage in that state in May, citizens voted to overturn that law when they went to the polls in November, and Maine became the 31st state to ban same-sex marriage.

For more information on same-sex marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships:

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The worst fire in American history took place in Peshtigo, Wisconsin, in 1871.

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