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Best & Worst of 2004 for Lesbians and Gays

The Highs & The Lows

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Two guys Kissing
Kathy Belge
When we look back, 2004 will be remembered as the year of gay marriage, at least in the United States. And gay marriage issues certainly top both the best and the worst categories for gays and lesbians in 2004. Here's my list of the best and worst events of 2004 for gays and lesbians, bisexuals and queers.

Best of 2004 for Gays and Lesbians

  • Gay Marriage: 2004 was the year of gay marriages in the United States and Canada. First in February San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, pissed off at President Bush's anti-gay marriage amendment, decided to allow gays and lesbians to marry in his city. Thousands of gay and lesbian couples, myself included, rushed to San Francisco to get married. Soon cities like New Paltz, NY, Nyack, NY and Portland, Oregon followed suit. Unfortunately, most of those marriages were invalid after court rulings. Yet, the feeling that marriage was actually possible in our lifetime inspired many gays and lesbians.

    Massachusetts became the first state in the United States to legally marry gay and lesbian couples in May 2004.

    And of course, Canada continued to marry gay and lesbian couples, as province after province ruled that gay marriages should be legal. The Canadian Supreme Court made a ruling in November that clears the way for the whole country to legalize same-sex marriage.

    Also in November, South Africa's Supreme Court ruled that gays and lesbians should be able to marry in that country.

  • Civil Unions

    Although Vermont and California are the only states in the US where gays and lesbians can register their civil unions, many countries around the world added Civil Unions for same-sex couples in 2004. The United Kingdom, Israel, and New Zealand all added Civil Union laws in 2004.

  • Ellen DeGeneres’s comeback. After Ellen’s sit-com was cancelled, her career seemed in jeopardy. But in 2004, Ellen was back in the game, and soon on top of the world as the host of her own talk show. She won several Emmy awards and had all the top stars on her show. Ellen's comeback and staying power has been an inspiration for gays and lesbians everywhere.

  • The L Word. For the first time lesbians had their own television program. And it was well worth the wait! The L Word turned out to be a sexy, intelligent drama that kept us tuning in, week after week. This groundbreaking program starred out lesbian Leisha Hailey and had all-star cast that included Jennifer Beals and Karina Lombard.

  • Out lesbian tennis star Amelie Mauresmo was ranked #1 in the World. She is the first out gay or lesbian professional athlete to reach #1 status in her sport.

  • R Family Vacations. Rosie O’Donnell and her partner Kelli Carpenter started R Family Vacations as a way for gays and lesbians with children to enjoy a vacation in the company of other gay-headed families. Their first vacation was a cruise this summer off the coast of New England and featured Broadway performers.

  • Gay TV Stations. 2004 was the year of new gay and lesbian television networks. From Q Television to Here! TV, gays and lesbians can find programming just for them on a local cable or satellite station.

    What were the Worst Events of 2004 for Gays and Lesbians?

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