October 15: The Supreme Court of the U.S. state of Minnesota upholds the decision of a lower court that denying a marriage license to a same-sex couple did not violate the U.S. Constitution." This was in reference to a marriage application filed by activist Jack Baker and Michael McConnell in 1970, which garnered extensive media attention. An appeal of that decision ended when the U.S. Supreme Court accepted the case as required by a law in effect but then dismissed it "for want of a substantial federal question". (see Baker v. Nelson). Until 1973, there was no restriction on gender in any marriage statute in any state within the U.S.
January 1: Maryland becomes the first state in the U.S. to statutorily ban same-sex marriage. In the following two decades, other states joined Maryland in statutorily banning same-sex marriage, reaching almost the totality of US states by 1994.
May 20: Singer v. Hara, a lawsuit filed by John F. Singer and Paul Barwick after being refused a request for a marriage license at the King County Administration Building in Seattle, Washington on 20 September 1971, ends with a unanimous rejection by the Washington State Court of Appeals.
March 26: Boulder County clerk Clela Rorex issues first U.S. same-sex marriage license. During the following month, she issued five more same-sex marriage licenses. Boulder District Attorney deferred the licenses, which became void. The matter never reached the courts.