Same-sex marriage in the United States

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Same-sex marriage is legally recognized in some jurisdictions within the United States and by the federal government. Nineteen states,[a] the District of Columbia, and ten Native American tribal jurisdictions[b] issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Several hundreds to thousands of marriage licenses were issued to same-sex couples in Utah, Michigan, Arkansas, Wisconsin and Indiana between the time their bans were struck down by federal or state judges and when those rulings were stayed.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the law barring federal recognition of same-sex marriage in United States v. Windsor on June 26, 2013, U.S. district courts in thirteen states[c] and trial-level courts in four states[d] have found that same-sex marriage bans violate the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit and the Fourth Circuit have affirmed the unconstitutionality of such bans.[19][20][21] Additionally, a U.S. district court in Ohio[22] has struck down a ban on state recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages. A Tennessee recognition decision affected only the plaintiff couples.[23] An order by the Seventh Circuit pertaining to an Indiana case forces that state to recognize one marriage, where one plaintiff is terminally ill, on an emergency basis.[24] All rulings except those affecting Oregon and Pennsylvania, and the emergency order in Indiana have been stayed pending appeal.

While many jurisdictions have legalized same-sex marriage through court rulings, legislative action, and popular vote, three states prohibit same-sex marriage by statute and 28 prohibit it in their constitutions.[25] Section 2 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), enacted in 1996, allows states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed under the laws of other states.

The movement to obtain civil marriage rights and benefits for same-sex couples in the United States began in the 1970s,[26] but became more prominent in American politics in 1993 when the Hawaii Supreme Court declared the state's prohibition to be unconstitutional in Baehr v. Lewin.[27] On May 17, 2004, Massachusetts became the first U.S. state and the sixth jurisdiction in the world to legalize same-sex marriage following the Supreme Judicial Court's decision in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health six months earlier.[28] During the 21st century, public support for same-sex marriage has grown considerably,[29][30] and national polls conducted since 2011 show that a majority of Americans support legalizing it. On May 9, 2012, Barack Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to publicly declare support for the legalization of same-sex marriage.[31] On November 6, 2012, Maine, Maryland, and Washington became the first states to legalize same-sex marriage through popular vote.

Legal issues[edit]

Civil same-sex marriage ceremony being performed in San Francisco City Hall in June 2008.

Constitutional law: Marriage as a fundamental right[edit]

The United States Supreme Court has in at least 14 cases since 1888 ruled that marriage is a fundamental right. These cases are:[32]

  1. Maynard v. Hill, 125 U.S. 190 (1888) Marriage is "the most important relation in life" and "the foundation of the family and society, without which there would be neither civilization nor progress."
  2. Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390 (1923) The right "to marry, establish a home and bring up children" is a central part of liberty protected by the Due Process Clause.
  3. Skinner v. Oklahoma ex rel. Williamson, 316 U.S. 535 (1942) Marriage is "one of the basic civil rights of man" and "fundamental to the very existence and survival of the race."
  4. Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965) "We deal with a right of privacy older than the Bill of Rights—older than our political parties, older than our school system. Marriage is a coming together for better or for worse, hopefully enduring, and intimate to the degree of being sacred. It is an association that promotes a way of life, not causes; a harmony in living, not political faiths; a bilateral loyalty, not commercial or social projects. Yet it is an association for as noble a purpose as any involved in our prior decisions."
  5. Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967) "The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men."
  6. Boddie v. Connecticut, 401 U.S. 371 (1971) "[M]arriage involves interests of basic importance to our society" and is "a fundamental human relationship."
  7. Cleveland Board of Education v. LaFleur, 414 U.S. 632 (1974) "This Court has long recognized that freedom of personal choice in matters of marriage and family life is one of the liberties protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment."
  8. Moore v. City of East Cleveland, 431 U.S. 494 (1977) "[W]hen the government intrudes on choices concerning family living arrangements, this Court must examine carefully the importance of the governmental interests advanced and the extent to which they are served by the challenged regulation."
  9. Carey v. Population Services International, 431 U.S. 678 (1977) "[I]t is clear that among the decisions that an individual may make without unjustified government interference are personal decisions relating to marriage, procreation, contraception, family relationships, and child rearing and education."
  10. Zablocki v. Redhail, 434 U.S. 374 (1978) "[T]he right to marry is of fundamental importance for all individuals."
  11. Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78 (1987) "[T]he decision to marry is a fundamental right" and an "expression[ ] of emotional support and public commitment."
  12. Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992) "These matters, involving the most intimate and personal choices a person may make in a lifetime, choices central to personal dignity and autonomy, are central to the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life."
  13. M.L.B. v. S.L.J., 519 U.S. 102 (1996) "Choices about marriage, family life, and the upbringing of children are among associational rights this Court has ranked as 'of basic importance in our society,' rights sheltered by the Fourteenth Amendment against the State's unwarranted usurpation, disregard, or disrespect."
  14. Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003) "[O]ur laws and tradition afford constitutional protection to personal decisions relating to marriage, procreation, contraception, family relationships, and education. ... Persons in a homosexual relationship may seek autonomy for these purposes, just as heterosexual persons do."

Federal law[edit]

The legal issues surrounding same-sex marriage in the United States are determined by the nation's federal system of government, in which the status of a person (including marriage) in general is determined by the individual states. Prior to 1996, the federal government did not define marriage; any marriage recognized by a state was recognized by the federal government, even if that marriage was not recognized by one or more other states (as was the case with interracial marriage before 1967 due to anti-miscegenation laws). With the passage of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996, a marriage was explicitly defined in federal law as a union of one man and one woman.[33]

DOMA was challenged in the federal court system. On July 8, 2010, Judge Joseph Tauro of the District Court of Massachusetts held that the denial of federal rights and benefits to lawfully married Massachusetts same-sex couples is unconstitutional under the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.[34][35] Beginning in 2010, eight federal courts found DOMA to be unconstitutional on issues including bankruptcy, public employee benefits, estate taxes, and immigration.[36][37][38] On October 18, 2012, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals became the first court[39] to hold sexual orientation to be a quasi-suspect classification and applied intermediate scrutiny to strike down Section 3 of DOMA as unconstitutional in Windsor v. United States.[40] Windsor and four other federal cases were considered for review by the U.S. Supreme Court,[41][42] which, on June 26, 2013, held Section 3 to violate the Fifth Amendment.[43]

As a result of the Windsor decision, married same-sex couples—regardless of domicile—have tax benefits (which include the previously unavailable ability to file joint tax returns with the IRS), military benefits, federal employment benefits for employees of the U.S Government and immigration benefits.[44][45][46][47] In February 2014, the Justice Department expanded recognition of same-sex marriages in federal legal matters, including bankruptcies, prison visits, survivor benefits and the legal right to refuse to testify to incriminate a spouse.[48][49] Likewise in June 2014, family medical leave benefits under the Family Medical Leave Act 1975 were extended to married same-sex couples in all of the U.S.[50][51] With respect to social security and veterans benefits, same-sex married couples who live in states where same-sex marriage is recognised are eligible for full benefits from the Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Social Security Administration (SSA). The VA and SSA can provide only limited benefits to married same-sex couples living in states where same-sex marriage isn't legal, with Congress required to amend federal law to rectify that inequity.[51][52][53]

According to the federal government's Government Accountability Office (GAO) in 2004, more than 1,138 rights and protections are conferred to U.S. citizens upon marriage by the federal government; areas affected include Social Security benefits, veterans' benefits, health insurance, Medicaid, hospital visitation, estate taxes, retirement savings, pensions, family leave, and immigration law.[54]

Many aspects of marriage law are determined by the states, rather than by the federal government. In 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed Baker v. Nelson, a same-sex marriage case filed in Minnesota, "for want of a substantial federal question."[55] In doing so, the court upheld Minnesota's right to restrict marriage to different-sex couples.[56] Although the Supreme Court has not explicitly overruled Baker, several federal courts have held that it is no longer good law. For example, on November 15, 2013, a U.S. district court in Pennsylvania denied a motion to dismiss in a same-sex marriage case, put forth by defendants who argued that Baker v. Nelson was binding precedent. The court wrote that "[t]he jurisprudence of equal protection and substantive due process has undergone what can only be characterized as a sea change since 1972", allowing the case to proceed to trial in 2014.[57]

Marriage laws in states that do not permit or recognize same-sex marriage have led to court challenges, including Hollingsworth v. Perry, which challenged the validity of California's Proposition 8 under the United States Constitution;[58] Sevcik v. Sandoval, which challenges Nevada's system of marriage for different-sex couples and domestic partnerships for same-sex couples under the equal protection clause;[59] and others.

Opponents of same-sex marriage have worked to prevent individual states from recognizing same-sex unions by attempting to amend the United States Constitution to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. In 2006, the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would prohibit states from recognizing same-sex marriages, was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on a party-line vote and was debated by the full Senate, but was ultimately defeated in both houses of Congress.[60]

On April 2, 2014, the Alabama state house adopted a resolution calling for a constitutional convention to propose an amendment to ban same-sex marriage nationwide.[61]

On May 26, 2014, the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness (CRE) filed a formal challenge to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) directive issued on September 27, 2013, that allows states, in their administration of Medicare programs, to deny recognition to same-sex marriages.[62][63] CRE argued that the policy allowed a state to deny the financial "spousal impoverishment" protections that are designed to protect the financial resources of someone whose jointly held assets are exhausted when a spouse moves into a nursing home. It also said that the policy conflicted with federal regulations that prohibit discrimination in federally assisted housing on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.[64] CMS replied on May 30, 2014, returning the CRE challenge because it "seem[s] to contain information of a personal nature". CRE's has continued to press its point without success.[65][66]

State laws[edit]

State laws regarding same-sex marriage in the United States1
  Same-sex marriage legal2
  Domestic partnerships or civil unions granting some or all state privileges of marriage3
  No prohibition or recognition of same-sex marriage in territory law
  Judicial rulings against ban on same-sex marriage indefinitely stayed pending appeal4
  Judicial rulings against ban on recognizing out-of-state same-sex marriages indefinitely stayed pending appeal
  Same-sex marriage banned4

1 The federal government recognizes all legally performed same-sex marriages, regardless of the current state of residence. Ten Native American tribal jurisdictions allow same-sex marriage independent of state law.
2 Some states in this category also allow other same-sex unions.
3 Not recognized by the federal government.
4 Many states in these categories either ban unions similar to marriage or have judicial rulings against bans on unions similar to marriage.

Prior to 2004, same-sex marriage was not performed in any U.S. jurisdiction. It has since been legalized in different jurisdictions through legislation, court rulings,[67] tribal council rulings,[68] and popular vote in statewide referenda.[69][70]

As of July 29, 2014, 19 states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington) and the District of Columbia routinely issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The U.S. Courts of Appeals are actively involved in hearing same-sex marriage cases: the Tenth Circuit affirmed rulings in favor of allowing such licenses in cases stemming from Utah and Oklahoma, but stayed its decisions; that circuit will now review the Colorado ruling from U.S. district court. The Fourth Circuit affirmed that the Virginia same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional. Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee have received favorable rulings on same-sex marriage in lower courts; the Sixth Circuit heard arguments in these cases on August 6, 2014, and will now decide whether or not to affirm these holdings. Indiana and Wisconsin, too, received a ruling favorable to same-sex marriage in lower court, and the Seventh Circuit will hear arguments in these cases on August 26, 2014. Idaho received a ruling favorable to same-sex marriage in lower court; however Nevada did not, and the Ninth Circuit will hear these appeals on September 8, 2014. A lower court ruling finding for same-sex marriage in Texas has been appealed to the Fifth Circuit; this case is still pending.

A state appellate court in Florida and the state supreme courts of Arkansas and Colorado are expected to review lower court rulings in favor of allowing same-sex marriage licenses in all or portions of those states.

All jurisdictions in the Northeast Corridor have legalized same-sex marriage, as have all Pacific States except Alaska.

At the same time, Colorado, Nevada, and Wisconsin have created legal unions for same-sex couples that offer varying subsets of the rights and responsibilities of marriage under the laws of those jurisdictions.

History[edit]

Early history[edit]

On May 18, 1970, two University of Minnesota gay student activists, Richard Baker and James Michael McConnell, applied for a marriage license in Minneapolis. The clerk of the Hennepin County District Court, Gerald Nelson, denied the request on the sole ground that the two were of the same sex.

The case was appealed to the Minnesota Supreme Court which, in 1971, ruled that Minnesota's laws prohibited marriages between same-sex partners and did not violate the federal constitution. Then, on October 10, 1972, the United States Supreme Court, declining to hear the case on appeal, issued a one-sentence order that said: "The appeal is dismissed for want of a substantial federal question."

In 1998, in response to the Hawaii Supreme Court's ruling in Baehr v. Miike, Hawaii voters approved a state constitutional amendment ("Amendment 2") allowing their legislature to ban same-sex marriage.[71] In 2003, the US Supreme Court struck down Texas' "Homosexual Conduct" law[72] in Lawrence v. Texas.[73] The ruling effectively nullified similar same-sex sodomy laws in Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri along with broader sodomy laws in nine other states.[74]

Same-sex marriage was first recognized by a United States jurisdiction on November 18, 2003, pursuant to the ruling of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health.[75] This resulted in the first same-sex marriages occurring within the Bay State on May 17, 2004,[76] making Massachusetts the first U.S. state to permit same-sex marriage within its borders.

On February 20, 2004, Sandoval County become the first county in New Mexico to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. A restraining order was later issued to prohibit the county clerk from issuing licenses to same-sex couples for the rest of her term, which ended on January 1, 2005.

On May 15, 2008, the Supreme Court of California issued a decision in which it effectively legalized same-sex marriage in California, holding that California's existing opposite-sex definition of marriage violated the constitutional rights of same-sex couples.[77][78] Same-sex marriage opponents in California placed a state constitutional amendment known as Proposition 8 on the November 2008 ballot for the purpose of restoring an opposite-sex definition of marriage.[79] (Proposition 8 was somewhat unusual compared to other initiatives connected to same-sex marriage, since California had ratified same-sex marriages and Proposition 8 was a response intended to subsequently re-remove the right of marriage.) Proposition 8 was passed on Election Day 2008, as were proposed marriage-limiting amendments in Florida and Arizona.[80]

On August 4, 2010, a decision by the U.S. District Court in Perry v. Schwarzenegger ruled that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional.[81] The decision in that case was upheld at appeal and – as the State of California decided not to appeal or defend Proposition 8 – the voters who initially instigated the initiative appealed to the Supreme Court, which asked to be briefed for arguments concerning the appellants' standing, and heard oral arguments on March 26, 2013.[82] In accordance with numerous precedent cases rejecting the concept of proponents' standing to defend a challenged law in Federal court, the Supreme Court dismissed the case for lack of standing in a decision issued June 26, 2013,[83] after which same-sex marriage once again became legal in California.[84] Proposition 8 supporters have expressed the intent to fight on (for example by asserting the ruling only applies to the persons or counties involved), but this was rejected by California's Attorney General Kamala Harris, who noted that "state officials are obligated to govern marriage equally in all counties and that Walker's ruling specifically covers those officials".[85] Same-sex marriages resumed on June 28, 2013.[86]

On October 10, 2008, the Connecticut Supreme Court overturned the state's civil unions statute as unconstitutionally discriminatory against same-sex couples, and required the state to recognize same-sex marriages.[87] The following year, the state general assembly passed gender-neutral marriage legislation, which the state's Republican governor signed into law.[88]

In 2007, the Polk County District Court ruled in favor of six same-sex couples in Varnum v. Brien for the right to marry. On April 3, 2009, a unanimous Iowa Supreme Court upheld the lower court's ruling.[89] This decision was initially scheduled to take effect on April 24, but for administrative reasons the date was changed to April 27, when the licenses became available.[90]

On December 18, 2009, a same-sex marriage became legal when mayor Adrian Fenty signed a bill passed by the Council of the District of Columbia;[91] same-sex marriage licenses became available in Washington, D.C., on March 3, 2010.[92] The first same-sex marriages took place on March 9.

By 2009, New England became the center of an organized push to legalize same-sex marriage,[93] which was achieved in all six states in that region by 2013 when Rhode Island legalized such marriages. On April 7, 2009, Vermont legalized same-sex marriage through legislation. The Governor of Vermont had previously vetoed the measure, but the veto was overridden by the Legislature. Vermont became the first state in the United States to legalize same-sex marriage through legislative means rather than litigation. On May 6, 2009, Maine Governor John Baldacci signed a law legalizing same-sex marriage, becoming the first state governor to do so.[94] Nonetheless, the legislation was stayed pending a vote and never went into effect. It was repealed by referendum in November 2009.[67] On June 3, 2009, New Hampshire became the sixth state nationally to legalize same-sex marriage.[95]

2010s[edit]

As of January 2010, 29 states had constitutional provisions restricting marriage to one man and one woman, while 12 others had statutes that did so.[96] Nineteen states banned any legal recognition of same-sex unions that would be equivalent to civil marriage.[97] In 28 out of 30 states where constitutional amendments or initiatives that define marriage as the union of a man and a woman were put on the ballot in a referendum, voters approved such amendments.[e] Arizonans voted down one such amendment in 2006,[98] but approved a different amendment to that effect in 2008.[99] In 2012, Minnesota became the second state to reject an amendment to its state constitution banning same-sex marriage, though Democrats increased their numbers in the legislature in the same election, leading to the May 2013 enactment of same-sex marriage legislation there.[100] A bill that would have legalized same-sex marriage in New Jersey was vetoed by Governor Chris Christie on February 17, 2012[101] before a New Jersey Superior Court ruling led to its legalization in October 2013.

Prior to the November 2012 election, Maryland recognized same-sex marriages formed in other jurisdictions, but did not allow forming such marriages within its borders.[102] New York had been in a similar situation as its courts had held that same-sex marriages conducted in states where they are legal must be recognized by those states, but that the state statutes did not allow the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses,[103] a situation which changed when its legislature legalized granting licenses to same-sex couples in 2011.

On May 8, 2012, North Carolina voters approved a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage as well as all other types of same-sex unions. The North Carolina vote was held on the same day as the Republican Presidential primary,[104] therefore disproportionally drawing more Republicans to this special election. The amendment was approved 61.04% to 38.96%, with a voter turnout of 34.66%.[105] North Carolina already prohibited same-sex marriages by statute.

In the regular November 2012 elections, however, state voters for the first time approved same-sex marriage by popular vote, in Maine, Maryland, and Washington. Maine's law took effect on December 29, 2012.[106] By law, Maryland started allowing same-sex marriages on January 1, 2013,[107] The Washington legislature had enacted legislation in February 2012 that would institute same-sex marriage in the state, but the enactment was stayed pending a voter referendum, which passed. The referendum was certified on December 5, 2012, and the first licenses were distributed on December 6, with the first marriages on December 9 following the mandatory three day waiting period.[108][109] In the same election, Minnesota became the second state to reject a statewide constitutional ban against same-sex marriage by a popular vote.[110][111]

Several governments enacted same-sex marriage in 2013. The Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians of Michigan voted in March 2013 to legalize same-sex marriages under their tribal jurisdiction, although the state maintained that it would not recognize the marriages.[68] The Rhode Island legislature passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage on May 2, which took effect August 1;[112] Delaware enacted legislation on May 7, which took effect July 1;[113] and Minnesota enacted legislation on May 14, which took effect August 1.[114] In July 2013, a court clerk in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, with the rationale that the state marriage statutes are unconstitutional,[115] but his action was overruled by a state intermediate appellate court in September and he was ordered to cease issuing the licenses.[116]

New Jersey began issuing same-sex marriage licenses on October 21, 2013, following a September 27 state superior court decision which found an equal protection guarantee for same-sex couples. Governor Chris Christie originally filed an appeal to the New Jersey Supreme Court, but withdrew it after the court declined to issue a stay on the lower court's ruling.[117][118][119][120]

In October and November 2013, both houses of the Hawaii legislature enacted legislation legalizing same-sex marriage, which Governor Neil Abercrombie signed on November 13. The law took effect on December 2, 2013.[121] The Illinois General Assembly passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage on November 5, 2013. The House of Representatives narrowly passed an amended version of an earlier Senate bill 61–54–2 with the Senate approving the House version 32–21 only about an hour later. Governor Pat Quinn signed the legislation on November 20.[122] On February 21, 2014 U.S District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman ruled that same-sex couples in Cook County, which includes Illinois' largest city Chicago, can obtain marriage licenses immediately and need not wait until the law's June 1 effective date.[123] On February 26, 2014, a Champaign County clerk began issuing same-sex marriage licenses after consulting the State's Attorney and concluding that the Cook County order is applicable.[124]

In 2013, certain New Mexico counties, either on the basis of a court decision or their clerks' own volition, began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. In August 2013, Doña Ana County[125] and Santa Fe County began issuing same-sex marriage licenses, the latter through a court order.[126][127][128][129][130] Although opponents filed for an injunction,[131] same-sex marriage expanded to a total of eight New Mexico counties.[132] On December 19, 2013, the state Supreme Court ruled unanimously that, effective immediately, same-sex marriage would be permitted throughout the state.[133]

On December 20, 2013, Judge Robert J. Shelby of the U.S. District Court for Utah struck down Utah's same-sex marriage ban as unconstitutional in Kitchen v. Herbert.[134] Salt Lake County began issuing marriage licenses immediately, followed by other counties.[135] After failing to get the District Court or the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals to stay the decision pending appeal, Utah state officials asked for a stay from the United States Supreme Court, which granted the request on January 6, 2014.[2][136] The stay allowed Utah to reinstate its ban on same-sex marriage and deny state services to married same-sex couples.[137] On January 10, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the federal government would recognize the marriages of same-sex couples who married in Utah between December 20, 2013, and January 6, 2014.[138] The Tenth Circuit ordered the appeals process to be heard on an expedited basis[139] and set a briefing schedule to be completed by February 25.[140]

On January 14, 2014, U.S. District Court Judge Terence C. Kern ruled in Bishop v. Oklahoma that Oklahoma's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. He stayed his ruling pending appeal.[3] On January 23, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced that the state would reverse its position and support a federal lawsuit challenging the Virginia state constitution's ban on same-sex marriage.[141] On January 21, a 3-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, considering issues unrelated to marriage in SmithKline Beecham Corporation v. Abbott Laboratories, ruled that distinctions based on sexual orientation are subject to the "heightened scrutiny" standard of review.[142] In response to that decision, on February 10, Nevada State Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto withdrew the state's brief in Sevcik v. Sandoval, ending its defense of the state's ban on same-sex marriage.[143] Because the decision in SmithKline was not appealed, heightened scrutiny remains the standard of review in the Ninth Circuit for laws and government actions that draw distinctions based on sexual orientation.[144]

On February 12, U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn declared Kentucky's refusal to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions unconstitutional.[145][146] On February 27, Judge Heyburn issued an order requiring the state to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions,[147] but the next day he stayed that order until March 20.[148] On March 19, the stay was extended pending action by the Sixth Circuit, noting the stay granted by the U.S. Supreme Court in Kitchen v. Herbert.[149] Additionally, on July 1, a judge ruled in Love v. Beshear that the ban on performing same-sex marriage within Kentucky was unconstitutional, and also stayed the ruling.[150]

On February 13, Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruled that the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. She stayed enforcement of her ruling in Bostic v. Rainey pending appeal.[151]

On February 26, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia ruled in De Leon v. Perry that Texas's ban on same-sex marriage is a "state-imposed inequality," striking them down.[152] He immediately stayed the effect of his ruling, pending an appeal. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said that he will appeal the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.[153]

On March 4, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan issued an opinion that a recent court decision ordering Cook County to issue marriage licenses immediately did not apply to all county clerks, but advised clerks that they should find the decision "persuasive as you evaluate whether to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples." Governor Pat Quinn then announced that the Illinois Department of Public Health would record marriages issued by any county clerk.[154] Several of the state's 102 county clerks began, or announced plans to begin, issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in March.[155]

On March 21, U.S. District Court Judge Bernard A. Friedman issued a decision that found Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. He did not stay enforcement of his decision. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette filed an emergency request with the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals for a stay pending appeal.[156] Hundreds of same-sex couples obtained marriage licenses and some married in Michigan on the morning of March 22 before the appeals court temporarily stayed enforcement of the ruling until March 26.[157] On March 25, the stay pending appeal was granted by the appellate court.

On May 9, 2014, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza struck down Arkansas' constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.[158] On May 14, The Arkansas Supreme Court has rejected Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's request to stay the judge's ruling; however, the preliminary ruling addressed the existence of a state statutory ban not specifically overturned by the ruling.[159] When the statutory ban was struck down, on May 15, the Arkansas Supreme Court issued a stay.

On May 13, U.S. District Magistrate Judge Candy Dale in Latta v. Otter has issued a ruling striking down Idaho's ban on marriage for same-sex couples and ordering the state to allow same-sex couples to marry in Idaho and to recognize the marriages of couples who married in other states.[160][161] But on May 15, a three-judge panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary stay while it considers whether a longer stay is needed. Gov. Butch Otter and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden both asked that Dale’s ruling be placed on hold while they appeal.[162]

On May 19, U.S. District judge Michael J. McShane ruled in Geiger v. Kitzhaber that Oregon's same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional, striking it down.[163] Judge McShane ordered marriages to begin immediately.[164] The National Organization for Marriage filed a petition to intervene as defendants in the case, two days before oral arguments; the petition was denied. Both the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of the United States denied NOM's emergency request for a stay on Judge McShane's ruling, thereby permanently legalizing same-sex marriage in the state.[164][165][166]

On May 20, 2014, Judge John E. Jones III of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania struck down Pennsylvania's same-sex marriage ban in his ruling in hitewood v. Wolf.[167] Governor Tom Corbett said he will not appeal the court decision, effectively legalizing same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania.[168] One county clerk has decided to intervene in, appeal, and stay the decision. The trial court denied intervention and the stay of judgment, and the Third Circuit affirmed. On July 7, 2014, the clerk applied to the U.S. Supreme Court for a stay. U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito, Circuit Justice for the Third Circuit, denied the clerk's application for a stay on July 8, 2014, and the Third Circuit denied the clerk's petition to rehear her case for intervention on August 4, 2014.[169][170]

On June 6, 2014, Judge Barbara Bandriff Crabb of the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin struck down Wisconsin's same-sex marriage ban in Wolf v. Walker.[171] No immediate injunction to stop enforcement of the ban was ordered,[172] and county clerks in at least 60 counties have begun to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.[173] After Judge Barbara Crabb refused to stay her ruling, Wisconsin's attorney general J. B. Van Hollen requested a stay from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. On June 13, the judge put the ruling on hold, pending appeal.[174]

On June 25, 2014, the Tenth Circuit Court affirmed Judge Robert Shelby's ruling striking Utah's same-sex marriage ban.[175] It is the first time a federal appeals court has recognized that same-sex couples have the same fundamental right to marry as all Americans.[175] "We hold that the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right to marry, establish a family, raise children, and enjoy the full protection of a state’s marital laws. A state may not deny the issuance of a marriage license to two persons, or refuse to recognize their marriage, based solely upon the sex of the persons in the marriage union," the appellate court said.[175] The judgment was stayed pending review from the Supreme Court.[176][177] Boulder County began issuing licenses despite the stay. The Tenth Circuit ruling created a circuit split on the issue of same-sex marriage by being directly opposed to Citizens for Equal Protection v. Bruning (2006) from the Eighth Circuit. A circuit split gives the US Supreme Court a reason to rule on an issue, but the Eighth Circuit might reverse its ruling before then.[178] The same day, Judge Richard L. Young from United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana ruled Indiana's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Young did not issue a stay on his ruling and instructed all state agencies to provide marital benefits to same-sex couples.[179] Two days later, the order was stayed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit pending appeal.[180]

On July 9, 2014, Judge C. Scott Crabtree of the Colorado 17th Judicial District Court struck down Colorado's same-sex marriage ban in Brinkman v. Long, holding that the state's "marriage bans violate plaintiffs’ due process and equal protection guarantees under the Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution."[181] Judge Crabtree immediately stayed the decision pending appeal. The next day, another state judge declined to stop the Boulder County clerk that had been issuing licenses, and Denver County began issuing licenses. On July 11, Pueblo County began issuing licenses as well.[182] On July 23, in Burns v. Hickenlooper, U.S. District Judge Raymond P. Moore also ruled that the Colorado's ban against same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. On July 29, the Colorado Supreme Court ordered Boulder County to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, halting the practice a month after a handful of county clerks had defied a ban in the State Constitution. Clerks in Pueblo County and Denver County have also stopped issuing marriage license to same-sex couples as well.[183] On August 21, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit stayed the effect of Burns pending disposition of petitions for certiorari in that case by the U.S. Supreme Court.

On July 17, 2014, a Florida state circuit judge, Luis M. Garcia, overturned the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. This ruling applies only to Monroe County, Florida, and includes the Florida Keys. The ruling has been stayed pending appeal.[184] A similar ruling on July 25 overturned the ban in Miami-Dade County but was also stayed.[185] The ban was also overturned and stayed in Broward County on August 4, 2014 and Palm Beach County on August 5. On August 21, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle ruled that Florida's ban on same-sex marriage violates the constitutional guarantee of equal protection and due process under the law, striking it down. The judge immediately stayed his ruling, pending further appeals.[186]

On July 28, 2014, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed the unconstitutionality of Virgina's ban on same-sex marriage in Bostic v. Schaefer.[187][188] The U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay on August 20, 2014, one day before the Fourth Circuit's mandate was to go into effect.

States that license same-sex marriage (table)[edit]

Note: This table shows only states that license same-sex marriages or have legalized it. It does not include states that recognize same-sex marriages but do not license them.

States (and D.C.) with same-sex marriage
State or federal district Population[189] Legalization date Effective date Legalization method Details
1.  Massachusetts 6,692,824 Nov 18, 2003 May 17, 2004 State court decision Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health.
2.  California 38,332,521 May 15, 2008 June 16, 2008 State court decision → Constitutional ban → Federal court decision → legislative statute California Supreme Court ruling in In re Marriage Cases. Ceased via state constitutional amendment after Proposition 8 passed on November 5, 2008. Went into effect the next day. U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruling in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, finding Proposition 8 unconstitutional on August 4, 2010. Stayed during appeal, affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit as Perry v. Brown. Certiorari granted and appealed as Hollingsworth v. Perry to the U.S. Supreme Court; the high court dismissed Hollingsworth for lack of standing and vacated the Ninth Circuit decision below, resulting with the original decision in Perry left intact.,[86] also passed by the California State Legislature as SB 1306.
Aug 4, 2010 June 28, 2013
3.  Connecticut 3,596,080 Oct 10, 2008 Nov 12, 2008 State court decision → legislative statute Connecticut Supreme Court ruling in Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health, also passed by the Connecticut General Assembly as Public Act 09-13.
4.  Iowa 3,090,416 April 3, 2009 April 27, 2009 State court decision Iowa Supreme Court ruling in Varnum v. Brien.
5.  Vermont 626,630 April 7, 2009 Sept 1, 2009 Legislative statute Passed by the Vermont General Assembly, overriding Governor Jim Douglas' veto.
6.  New Hampshire 1,323,459 June 3, 2009 Jan 1, 2010 Legislative statute Passed by New Hampshire General Court.
-  District of Columbia 646,449 Dec 18, 2009 March 9, 2010 Legislative statute Passed by the Council of the District of Columbia.
7.  New York 19,651,127 June 24, 2011 July 24, 2011 Legislative statute Marriage Equality Act passed by New York State Legislature.
8. Washington (state) Washington 6,971,406 Nov 6, 2012 Dec 6, 2012 Legislative statute → referendum Passed by the Washington State Legislature; suspended by petition and referred to Referendum 74, approved.
9.  Maine 1,328,302 Dec 29, 2012 Initiative statute Proposed by initiative as referendum Question 1, approved.
10.  Maryland 5,928,814 Jan 1, 2013 Legislative statute → referendum Civil Marriage Protection Act passed by the Maryland General Assembly; referred to referendum Question 6, upheld.
11.  Rhode Island 1,051,511 May 2, 2013 Aug 1, 2013 Legislative statute Passed by the Rhode Island General Assembly.
12.  Delaware 925,749 May 7, 2013 July 1, 2013 Legislative statute Passed by the Delaware General Assembly.
13.  Minnesota 5,420,380 May 14, 2013 Aug 1, 2013 Legislative statute Passed by the Minnesota Legislature
14.  New Jersey 8,899,339 Sept 27, 2013 Oct 21, 2013 State court decision New Jersey Superior Court ruling in Garden State Equality v. Dow, stay denied by the New Jersey Supreme Court; appeal abandoned by the governor.
15.  Hawaii 1,404,054 Nov 13, 2013 Dec 2, 2013 Legislative statute Hawaii Marriage Equality Act passed by Hawaii State Legislature
16.  Illinois 12,882,135 Nov 20, 2013 June 1, 2014 Legislative statute Passed by the Illinois General Assembly
17.  New Mexico 2,085,287 Dec 19, 2013 Dec 19, 2013 State court decision New Mexico Supreme Court ruling in Griego v. Oliver.
18.  Oregon 3,930,065 May 19, 2014 May 19, 2014 Federal court decision U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon ruling in Geiger v. Kitzhaber. Appeal not pursued by defendants.
19.  Pennsylvania 12,773,801 May 20, 2014 May 20, 2014 Federal court decision U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania ruling in Whitewood v. Wolf. Appeal not pursued by defendants.
Total 137,560,349 (43.5% of the U.S. population)

States with stayed rulings for same-sex marriage[edit]

Note: This table only lists states where a court has ruled the state's prohibition on performing same-sex marriage unconstitutional while staying enforcement of its ruling pending appeal.

States with stayed rulings for same-sex marriage
State Pop.[189] Ruled Stayed from Jurisdiction Court decision(s) Notes
1.  Utah 2,900,872 Dec 20, 2013 Jan 6, 2014 U.S. District of Utah Kitchen v. Herbert About 1,360 same-sex marriages were performed in Utah in the 17 days before the U.S. Supreme Court ordered a stay sub nom. Herbert v. Kitchen, 134 S. Ct. 893 (January 6, 2014).[190][191] The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court ruling in Kitchen on June 25, 2014; there is a stay pending further action.[192] A preliminary injunction ordered in Evans v. Utah, 2014 WL 2048343 (D. Utah May 19, 2014) requires the state to recognize the marriages performed between the Kitchen ruling and its stay. The Tenth Circuit affirmed Evans, No. 13-4178, on June 5, 2014; though the U.S. Supreme Court stayed recognition of these marriages in Herbert v. Evans, No. 14A65, 2014 WL 3557112 (July 18, 2014).
2.  Oklahoma 3,814,820 Jan 14, 2014 Jan 14, 2014 U.S. Northern District of Oklahoma Bishop v. Oklahoma Enforcement stayed in initial ruling, referencing the Supreme Court's stay in Kitchen.[193] The Tenth Circuit affirmed the case as Bishop v. Smith on July 18, 2014.[194]
3.  Texas 26,448,193 Feb 26, 2014 Feb 26, 2014 U.S. Western District of Texas De Leon v. Perry Enforcement stayed in initial ruling, referencing the Supreme Court's stay in Kitchen.[195] The case is before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
4.  Michigan 9,895,622 March 21, 2014 March 22, 2014 U.S. Eastern District of Michigan DeBoer v. Snyder Enforcement stayed until March 26, 2014 in initial ruling, citing the time needed to consider a full stay.[196] On March 25, the stay was extended indefinitely.[197] Same-sex marriages were performed in Michigan on March 22 before the stay was issued that same day. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in DeBoer on August 6, 2014.[198]
5.  Arkansas 2,959,373 May 9, 2014 May 14, 2014 Arkansas Circuit Court, Pulaski County Wright v. Arkansas Enforcement temporarily stopped on May 14, 2014, after the Arkansas Supreme Court stated that Judge Piazza's order was silent about the state statutory same-sex marriage ban.[199][200]
May 15, 2014 May 16, 2014 Trial judge issued a clarified order on May 15, 2014, preventing enforcement of any ban on same-sex marriage in the state.[201] Same-sex marriages began being issued again that day.[202] The state appealed to the Arkansas Supreme Court, which entered an expedited stay on May 16, 2014, without comment, Smith v. Wright, No. CV-14-427.[203] Same-sex marriages were performed before the stay.
6.  Idaho 1,612,136 May 13, 2014 May 15, 2014 U.S. District of Idaho Latta v. Otter Enforcement stayed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals pending appeal, before the district court ruling would have taken effect.[204][205] The Ninth Circuit is scheduled to hear oral arguments on September 8, 2014.
7.  Wisconsin 5,742,713 June 6, 2014 June 13, 2014 U.S. Western District of Wisconsin Wolf v. Walker Same-sex marriages were briefly performed before the ruling was stayed on June 13, 2014.[206] The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit is scheduled to hear oral arguments in Wolf on August 26, 2014.
8.  Indiana 6,570,902 June 25, 2014 June 27, 2014 U.S. Southern District of Indiana Baskin v. Bogan Enforcement stayed on June 27, 2014, by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals pending appeal.[180] Same-sex marriages were performed before the ruling was stayed. The Seventh Circuit is scheduled to hear oral arguments on August 26, 2014.
9.  Kentucky 4,395,295 July 1, 2014 July 1, 2014 U.S. Western District of Kentucky Love v. Beshear Enforcement stayed in the initial ruling. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on August 6, 2014.[198]
10.  Virginia 8,260,405 Jul 28, 2014 Aug 20, 2014 U.S. Fourth Circuit Bostic v. Schaefer Enforcement stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court after a mandate of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals was set to give effect to the judgment in Bostic v. Schaefer.[187] The judgment affirmed the U.S. district court ruling in Bostic v. Rainey below, and did not initially issue a stay.[188] The Supreme Court stayed the issuance of the mandate on August 20, 2014, "pending the timely filing and disposition of a petition for a writ of certiorari," McQuigg v. Bostic, No. 14A196.
11.  Florida 19,552,860 August 21, 2014 August 21, 2014 U.S. Northern District of Florida Brenner v. Scott Enforcement stayed in the initial ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert Lewis Hinkle.[207][208]
12.  Colorado 5,268,367 July 23, 2014 August 21, 2014 U.S. District of Colorado Burns v. Hickenlooper Enforcement stayed by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, noting similar stays issued in Kitchen and Bishop, and the U.S. Supreme Court stay issued in Bostic the day before.[209]
Total 97,421,558 (30.8% of the U.S. population)

Tribal laws[edit]

In the United States, federally recognized Native American tribes have the legal right to form their own marriage laws.[210] There are ten tribal jurisdictions that legally recognize same-sex marriage: the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes,[211] the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation,[212] the Coquille Tribe,[213] the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians,[214] the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe,[215] the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians,[216] the Puyallup tribe,[217] the Santa Ysabel Tribe,[218] the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe,[219] and the Suquamish tribe.[220] The legality of same-sex marriage is currently on hold in the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians due to Michigan's same-sex marriage ban being challenged.

Debate[edit]

Support[edit]

Rally for same-sex marriage (May 2009, San Francisco, California)

Same-sex marriage supporters make several arguments in support of their position. Gail Mathabane likens prohibitions on same-sex marriage to past U.S. prohibitions on interracial marriage.[221] Fernando Espuelas argues that same-sex marriage should be allowed because same-sex marriage extends a civil right to a minority group.[222] According to an American history scholar, Nancy Cott, "there really is no comparison, because there is nothing that is like marriage except marriage."[223]

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is one of the leading advocacy groups in support of same-sex marriage. According to the HRC's website, "Many same-sex couples want the right to legally marry because they are in love—many, in fact, have spent the last 10, 20 or 50 years with that person—and they want to honor their relationship in the greatest way our society has to offer, by making a public commitment to stand together in good times and bad, through all the joys and challenges family life brings."[224]

The leading associations of psychological, psychiatric, medical, and social work professionals in the United States such as American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, American Sociological Association, American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Nursing and National Association of Social Workers have said that claims that the legal recognition of marriage for same–sex couples undermines the institution of marriage and harms children is inconsistent with the scientific evidence which supports the conclusions: that homosexuality is a normal expression of human sexuality that is not chosen; that gay and lesbian people form stable, committed relationships essentially equivalent to heterosexual relationships; that same-sex parents are no less capable than opposite-sex parents to raise children; and that the children of same-sex parents are no less psychologically healthy and well-adjusted than children of opposite-sex parents.[225][226][227][228][229][230][231] The body of research strongly supports the conclusion that discrimination by the federal government between married same-sex couples and married opposite-sex couples in granting benefits unfairly stigmatizes same-sex couples. The research also contradicts the stereotype-based rationales advanced to support passage of DOMA that the Equal Protection Clause was designed to prohibit.[232]

Garden State Equality states that the wording "same-sex marriage" implies a separate, and therefore unequal, category of marriage.[233] The 2012 Democratic Party Platform used the term "marriage equality" in its support.[234]

Role of social media[edit]

Supporters of the legalization of same-sex marriage have successfully used social media websites such as Facebook to help achieve that goal.[235][236][237] Some have argued that the successful use of social media websites by LGBT groups has played a key role in the defeat of religion-based opposition.[238]

One of the largest scale uses of social media to mobilize support for same-sex marriage preceded and coincided with the arrival at the US Supreme Court of high-profile legal cases for Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act in March 2013. The 'red equals sign' project started by the Human Rights Campaign was an electronic campaign primarily based on Facebook which encouraged users to change their profile images to a red equal sign to express support for same-sex marriage.[239] At the time of the court hearings it was estimated that approximately 2.5 million Facebook users changed their profile images to a red equals sign.[240]

Opposition[edit]

Rally for Prop 8 in Fresno, California (October 2008)

Opponents of same-sex marriage in the United States ground their arguments on parenting concerns, religious concerns, concerns that changes to the definition of marriage would lead to the inclusion of polygamy or incest, and in natural law-based reasoning.[241] The Southern Baptist Convention adopted a statement in June 2003 that legalizing same-sex relationships would "convey a societal approval of a homosexual lifestyle, which the Bible calls sinful and dangerous both to the individuals involved and to society at large".[242] The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Southern Baptist Convention, and National Organization for Marriage claim that children do best when raised by a mother and father, and that legalizing same-sex marriage is, therefore, contrary to the best interests of children.[243][244][245][246] Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage has raised concerns about the impact of same-sex marriage upon religious liberty and upon faith-based charities in the United States.[247] Opponents of same-sex marriage have claimed that redefining marriage to include same-sex relationships would have harmful effects on biological family, children's rights, and social welfare.[248][249] Stanley Kurtz of the Weekly Standard has written that same-sex marriage would eventually lead to the legalization of polygamy and polyamory, or group marriage, in the United States.[250]

The funding of the amendment referendum campaigns has been an issue of great dispute. Both judges[251][252] and the IRS[253] have ruled that it is either questionable or illegal for campaign contributions to be shielded by anonymity. In February 2012, the National Organization for Marriage vowed to spend $250,000 in Washington legislative races to defeat the Republican state senators who voted for same-sex marriage.[254]

Obama administration[edit]

President Barack Obama explains his change of view on same-sex marriage with Robin Roberts of ABC's Good Morning America, in the Cabinet Room of the White House, May 9, 2012.

In the first half of 2009, it was reported that Barack Obama opposed a federal mandate for same-sex marriage, and also opposed the Defense of Marriage Act,[255] stating that individual states should decide the issue.[256][257] Obama opposed Proposition 8—California's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage—in 2008.[258] In December 2010, the White House website stated that the president supported full civil unions and federal rights for LGBT couples and opposed a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.[259] He also stated that his position on same-sex marriage was "evolving" and that he recognized that civil unions from the perspective of same-sex couples was "not enough", before subsequently declaring his full support for the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2012.[260]

On May 9, 2012, President Obama announced in an interview with ABC News that after wrestling with the subject for many years, he had come to believe same-sex couples should be allowed to marry. In the same interview, he stated his belief that individual states should have the final say as to whether same-sex marriage is recognized. The announcement made Obama the first United States president to publicly declare his support of same-sex marriage while in office, and marked a departure from his previous stance on the issue.[31][261][262][263] During the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama had stated, "I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. For me as a Christian, it is a sacred union. You know, God is in the mix."[264] although he remained supportive of the rights of individuals who identified as gay or lesbian.[259] Obama had previously made comments in support of same-sex marriage as early as the 1990s during his campaign for the Illinois Senate.[265] In a 1996 newspaper interview, Obama stated "I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages."[266]

In the run-up to the 2012 presidential election, the campaign of the Democratic presidential ticket (Obama-Biden) continually emphasized the administration's support for marriage equality, making it a key part of the campaign. President Obama was reelected and mentioned LGBT rights and marriage equality both explicitly and implicitly in both his victory speech on November 7, 2012, and in his inauguration speech on January 21, 2013.

Politicians and media figures[edit]

Former presidents Bill Clinton[267] and Jimmy Carter,[268] former vice presidents Dick Cheney[269] and Al Gore,[270] Walter Mondale[271] and current Vice President Joe Biden have voiced their support for legal recognition, as have former first ladies Laura Bush[272] and Hillary Clinton.[273] Former president George H. W. Bush and his wife Barbara have served as witnesses to a same-sex wedding, but neither has publicly stated whether this means they support same-sex marriage in general.[274] In May 2012, Barack Obama became the first sitting President to support same-sex marriage.[31] In March 2013, Rob Portman became the first sitting Republican senator to endorse same-sex marriage.[275] After the Supreme Court heard arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v. Windsor the same month, support for same-sex marriage in the Senate increased. 15 Senators announced their support in the following weeks,[276] including another Republican, Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois. A majority of the Senate now supports same-sex marriage.[277] In June 2013, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska became the third Republican senator to endorse same-sex marriage.[278] In June 2014, Susan Collins of Maine became the fourth Republican senator endorse same-sex marriage.[279]

During the 2008 presidential election campaign, then-Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin stated: "I have voted along with the vast majority of Alaskans who had the opportunity to vote to amend our Constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman. I wish on a federal level that that's where we would go because I don't support gay marriage."[280]

Congressman Barney Frank voiced his concern in September 2009 with regard to the ability to obtain sufficient votes to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act: "If we had a chance to pass that, it would be a different story, but I don't think it's a good idea to rekindle that debate when there's no chance of passage in the near term."[281] In 2009, Pelosi described the difficulty in repealing the Defense of Marriage Act: "I would like to get rid of all of it. But the fact is we have to make decisions on what we can pass at a given time. It doesn't mean the other issues are not important. It is a matter of getting the votes and the legislative floor time to do it."[282]

Commenting on the decision by U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker regarding Proposition 8 in California, former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich issued a statement in opposition to same-sex marriage, which read, in part, as follows: "Judge Walker's ruling overturning Prop 8 is an outrageous disrespect for our Constitution and for the majority of people of the United States who believe marriage is the union of husband and wife... Congress now has the responsibility to act immediately to reaffirm marriage as a union of one man and one woman as our national policy."[283] Gingrich, whose sister is openly gay,[284] later commented that he could accept civil—but not religious—same-sex marriages, and encouraged the Republican Party to accept the "reality" of same-sex marriage becoming legal.[285]

Then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi expressed her support for Judge Walker's decision: "I am extremely encouraged by the ruling today, which found that Proposition 8 violated both the due process and equal protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution. Proposition 8 has taken away individual rights and freedoms, and is a stain upon the California Constitution. We must continue to fight against discriminatory marriage amendments and work toward the day when all American families are treated equally."[286]

In an O'Reilly Factor interview in August 2010, when Glenn Beck was asked if he "believe(s) that gay marriage is a threat to [this] country in any way", he stated, "No I don't...I believe that Thomas Jefferson said: 'If it neither breaks my leg nor picks my pocket what difference is it to me?'"[287][288]

On his radio show in August 2010, Rush Limbaugh made the following comments: "Marriage? There's a definition of it, for it. It means something. Marriage is a union of a man and woman. It's always been that. If you want to get married and you're a man, marry a woman. Nobody's stopping you. This is about tearing apart an institution."[289]

Public opinion[edit]

Public opinion of same-sex marriage in the United States of America
  A poll reports a significant finding that a majority of that state's population supports same-sex marriage.
(95% significant: Result is > 0.653 of the 95% sampling error (> 1.28σ) above 50%.)
  A poll shows at least a plurality, and possibly a majority, of that state's population supports same-sex marriage.
  A poll shows a statistical tie between support of and opposition to same-sex marriage.
(Statistical tie: Not distinguishable at 95% confidence. Difference between support and opposition is < 0.842 of the 95% sampling error (< 1.65σ).)
  A poll shows at least a plurality, and possibly a majority, of that state's population opposes same-sex marriage.
  A poll reports a significant finding that a majority of that state's population opposes same-sex marriage.
(95% significant: Result is > 0.653 of the 95% sampling error (> 1.28σ) above 50%.
  No polling data within the past two years.

When a state is striped with light gray and another color, the color it's striped with indicates the result of the last poll for that state, in the absence of data within the past two years.
A state that is split into two colors indicates recent polls with conflicting results.

As of 2013, public support for same-sex marriage in the United States has solidified above 50%.[290][291][292] Public support for same-sex marriage has grown at an increasing pace since the 1990s.[29] In 1996, just 25% of Americans supported legalization of same-sex marriage. Polls have shown that support is identical among whites and Hispanics, while support for same-sex marriage trails among blacks.[293] Polling trends in 2010 and 2011 showed support for same-sex marriage gaining a majority, although the difference is within the error limit of the analysis.[294] On May 20, 2011, Gallup reported majority support for same-sex marriage for the first time in the country.[295] In June 2011, two prominent polling organizations released an analysis of the changing trend in public opinion about same-sex marriage in the United States, concluding that "public support for the freedom to marry has increased, at an accelerating rate, with most polls showing that a majority of Americans now support full marriage rights for all Americans."[296]

A Washington Post/ABC News poll from February–March 2014 found a record high of 59% of Americans approve of same-sex marriage, with only 34% opposed and 7% with no opinion.[297] In May 2013, a Gallup poll showed that 53% of Americans would vote for a law legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states. Three previous readings over the course of a year consistently showed support at 50% or above. Gallup noted: "Just three years ago, support for gay marriage was 44%. The current 53% level of support is essentially double the 27% in Gallup's initial measurement on gay marriage, in 1996."[298] Some commentators, however, have noted instances where polling data has understated voter opposition to referendums banning same-sex marriage.[299] One 2010 study concluded that "polls on gay marriage ballot initiatives generally under-estimate the opposition to gay marriage by about seven percentage points".[300]

Effects of same-sex marriage[edit]

Economic impact on same-sex couples[edit]

In June 2013, the Supreme Court's ruling in United States v. Windsor struck down section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act and required the federal government to treat legally married same-sex couples on an equal basis with heterosexual married couples. Before that ruling, however, same-sex married couples faced a number of severe disadvantages. While some states extended full marriage rights to same-sex couples within their borders, until section 3 of DOMA was struck down none of those legally married couples were recognized by the federal government for any purpose, financial or otherwise.

According to a 1997 General Accounting Office study requested by Rep. Henry Hyde (R), at least 1,049 U.S. federal laws and regulations include reference to marital status.[301] A later 2004 study by the Congressional Budget Office found 1,138 statutory provisions "in which marital status is a factor in determining or receiving 'benefits, rights, and privileges.'"[302] Many of these laws govern property rights, benefits, and taxation. Same-sex couples whose marriages are not recognized by the federal government were ineligible for spousal and survivor Social Security benefits.[302] Badgett's research found that the resulting difference in Social Security income for same-sex couples compared to opposite-sex married couples was US$5,588 per year.

The federal ban on same-sex marriage and benefits through the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) also extended to federal government employee benefits.[302] According to Badgett's work, same-sex couples faced the following other financial disadvantages against which legal marriage at least partially shielded opposite-sex couples:[303]

  • Legal costs associated with obtaining domestic partner documents to gain legal abilities granted automatically by legal marriage, including power of attorney, health care decision-making, and inheritance[303]
  • A legal spouse could inherit an unlimited amount from the deceased without incurring an estate tax but a same-sex partner would have to pay the estate tax on the inheritance from her/his partner[302]
  • Same-sex couples were not eligible to file jointly as a married couple and thus could not take the advantages of lower tax rates when the individual income of the partners differs significantly[302] (however, in early 2013 the IRS did recognize the community property and income of same-sex partners in community property states[304])
  • Only 18% of companies offered domestic partner health care benefits[303]
  • Employer-provided health insurance coverage for a same-sex partner incurred federal income tax, unlike like coverage provided to a heterosexual couple[302]
  • Higher health costs associated with lack of insurance and preventative care: 20% of same-sex couples had a member who was uninsured compared to 10% of married opposite-sex couples[303]
  • Inability to protect jointly owned home from loss due to costs of potential medical catastrophe[303]
  • Inability of a U.S. citizen to sponsor a same-sex spouse for citizenship, as married heterosexuals automatically could[303]

Some 7,400 companies were offering spousal benefits to same-sex couples as of 2008. In states that recognize same-sex marriages, same-sex couples can continue to receive those same benefits only if they marry.[305]

Potential economic disadvantages[edit]

While the legal benefits of marriage are numerous, same-sex couples could face the same financial constraints of legal marriage as opposite-sex married couples. Such potential effects include the marriage penalty in taxation.[302] Similarly, while social service providers usually do not count one partner's assets toward the income means test for welfare and disability assistance for the other partner, a legally married couple's joint assets are normally used in calculating whether a married individual qualifies for assistance.[302]

Economic impact on the federal government[edit]

The 2004 Congressional Budget Office study, working from an assumption "that about 0.6 percent of adults would enter into same-sex marriages if they had the opportunity" (an assumption in which they admitted "significant uncertainty") estimated that legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States "would improve the budget's bottom line to a small extent: by less than $1 billion in each of the next 10 years". This result reflects an increase in net government revenues (increased income taxes due to marriage penalties more than offsetting decreased tax revenues arising from postponed estate taxes). Marriage recognition would increase the government expenses for Social Security and Federal Employee Health Benefits but that increase would be more than made up for by decreased expenses for Medicaid, Medicare, and Supplemental Security Income.[302]

Mental health[edit]

Based in part on research that has been conducted on the adverse effects of stigmatization of gays and lesbians, numerous prominent social science organizations have issued position statements supporting same-sex marriage and opposing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation; these organizations include the American Psychoanalytic Association and the American Psychological Association.[232]

Several psychological studies[306][307][308] have shown that an increase in exposure to negative conversations and media messages about same-sex marriage creates a harmful environment for the LGBT population that may affect their health and well-being.

One study surveyed more than 1,500 lesbian, gay and bisexual adults across the nation and found that respondents from the 25 states that have outlawed same-sex marriage had the highest reports of "minority stress"—the chronic social stress that results from minority-group stigmatization—as well as general psychological distress. According to the study, the negative campaigning that comes with a ban is directly responsible for the increased stress. Past research has shown that minority stress is linked to health risks such as risky sexual behavior and substance abuse.[309]

Two other studies examined personal reports from LGBT adults and their families living in Memphis, Tennessee, immediately after a successful 2006 ballot campaign banned same-sex marriage. Most respondents reported feeling alienated from their communities. The studies also found that families experienced a kind of secondary minority stress, says Jennifer Arm, a counseling graduate student at the University of Memphis.[310]

At the Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial, expert witness Ilan Meyer testified that the mental health outcomes for gays and lesbians would improve if laws such as Proposition 8 did not exist because "when people are exposed to more stress...they are more likely to get sick..." and that particular situation is consistent with laws that say to gay people "you are not welcome here, your relationships are not valued." Such laws have "significant power", he said.[311]

Physical health[edit]

In 2009, a pair of economists at Emory University tied the passage of state bans on same-sex marriage in the US to an increase in the rates of HIV infection.[312][313] The study linked the passage of same-sex marriage ban in a state to an increase in the annual HIV rate within that state of roughly 4 cases per 100,000 population.

A study by the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health found that gay men in Massachusetts visited health clinics significantly less often following the legalization of same-sex marriage in that state.[314]

Case law[edit]

United States case law regarding same-sex marriage:

1970s[edit]

  • Baker v. Nelson, 191 N.W.2d 185 (Minn. 1971) (upholding a Minnesota law defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman)
  • Jones v. Hallahan, 501 S.W.2d 588 (Ky. 1973) upholding the denial of a marriage license to two women in Kentucky based on dictionary definitions of marriage, despite the fact that state statutes do not restrict marriage to a male-female couple, because "in substance, the relationship proposed ... is not a marriage."[315][316]
  • Singer v. Hara, 522 P.2d 1187 (Wash. Ct. App. 1974) (ban on same-sex marriage was constitutional on the basis of gender discrimination; because the historical definition of marriage is between one man and one woman, same-sex couples are inherently ineligible to marry)

1980s[edit]

  • Adams v. Howerton, 673 F.2d 1036 (9th Cir. 1982), cert. denied, 458 U.S. 1111 (affirming that same-sex marriage does not make one a "spouse" under the Immigration and Nationality Act)
  • De Santo v. Barnsley, 476 A.2d 952 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1984) (same-sex couples cannot undergo divorce proceedings because they cannot enter a common law marriage)[317]

1990s[edit]

  • In re Estate of Cooper, 564 N.Y.S.2d 684 (Fam. Ct. 1990) (the state has a compelling interest in fostering the traditional institution of marriage and prohibiting same-sex marriage)
  • Baehr v. Lewin, 852 P.2d 44 (Haw. 1993) (holding that statute limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples violates the Hawaii constitution's equal-protection clause unless the state can show that the statute is (1) justified by compelling state interests and (2) narrowly tailored, prompting a state constitutional amendment and the federal Defense of Marriage Act)
  • Dean v. District of Columbia, 653 A.2d 307 (D.C. 1995)
  • Storrs v. Holcomb, 645 N.Y.S.2d 286 (App. Div. 1996) (New York does not recognize or authorize same-sex marriage); overturned in part by Martinez v. County of Monroe (2008) (out-of-state same-sex marriages must be recognized equal to out-of-state opposite-sex marriages because they do not violate public policy)
  • In re Estate of Hall, 707 N.E.2d 201, 206 (Ill. App. Ct. 1998) (no same-sex marriage will be recognized; petitioner claiming existing same-sex marriage was not in a marriage recognized by law)
  • Baker v. Vermont, 170 Vt. 194; 744 A.2d 864 (Vt. 1999) (Common Benefits Clause of the state constitution requires that same-sex couples be granted the same legal rights as married persons)

2000s[edit]

  • Rosengarten v. Downes, 806 A.2d 1066 (Conn. Ct. App. 2002) (Vermont civil union cannot be dissolved in Connecticut)
  • Burns v. Burns, 560 S.E.2d 47 (Ga. Ct. App. 2002) (recognizing marriage as between one man and one woman)
  • Frandsen v. County of Brevard, 828 So. 2d 386 (Fla. 2002) (State constitution will not be construed to recognize same-sex marriage; sex classifications not subject to strict scrutiny under Florida constitution)
  • In re Estate of Gardiner, 42 P.3d 120 (Kan. 2002) (a post-op male-to-female transgendered person may not marry a male, because this person is still a male in the eyes of the law, and marriage in Kansas is recognized only between a man and a woman)
  • Standhardt v. Superior Court ex rel. County of Maricopa, 77 P.3d 451 (Ariz. Ct. App. 2003) (no state constitution right to same-sex marriage)
  • Morrison v. Sadler, 2003 WL 23119998 (Ind. Super. Ct. 2003) (Indiana's Defense of Marriage Act is found valid)
  • Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health, 798 N.E.2d 941 (Mass. 2003) (denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples violated provisions of the state constitution guaranteeing individual liberty and equality, and was not rationally related to a legitimate state interest)
  • Citizens for Equal Protection v. Bruning, 455 F.3d 859 (8th Cir. 2006) (reversing 368 F. Supp. 2d 980 (D. Neb. 2005)) (Nebraska's Initiative Measure 416 does not violate Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause, was not a bill of attainder, and does not violate the First Amendment; "laws limiting the state-recognized institution of marriage to heterosexual couples ... do not violate the Constitution of the United States")[318]
  • Lewis v. Harris, 908 A.2d 196 (N.J. 2006) (New Jersey is required to extend all rights and responsibilities of marriage to same-sex couples, but prohibiting same-sex marriage does not violate the state constitution; legislature given 180 days from October 25, 2006 to amend the marriage laws or create a "parallel structure")
  • Andersen v. King County, 138 P.3d 963 (Wash. 2006) (Washington's Defense of Marriage Act does not violate the state constitution)
  • Hernandez v. Robles, 855 N.E.2d 1 (N.Y. 2006) (New York State Constitution does not require that marriage be extended to same-sex couples)
  • Langan v. St. Vincent's Hospital, 802 N.Y.S.2d 476 (App. Div. 2005), review denied, 850 N.E.2d 672 (N.Y. 2006) (denying survivor partner in Vermont officiated Civil Union standing as a "spouse" for purposes of New York's wrongful death statute)
  • Conaway v. Deane, 932 A.2d 571 (Md. 2007) (upholding state law defining marriage as between a man and a woman)
  • Martinez v. County of Monroe, 850 N.Y.S.2d 740 (App. Div. 2008). (The court ruled unanimously that because New York legally recognizes out-of-state marriages of opposite-sex couples, it must do the same for same-sex couples. The county was refused leave to appeal on a technicality.[319])
  • In re Marriage Cases, 183 P.3d 384 (Cal. 2008). (The court ruled that limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples is invalid under the equal protection clause of the California Constitution, and that full marriage rights, not merely domestic partnership, must be offered to same-sex couples.);[320]
  • Strauss v. Horton, 207 P.3d 48 (Cal. 2009). (holding that Proposition 8 was validly adopted, but that marriages contracted before its adoption remain valid)[321]
  • Varnum v. Brien, 763 N.W.2d 862 (Iowa 2009). (Barring same-sex couples from marriage, the court unanimously ruled, violates the equal protection provisions of the Iowa Constitution. Equal protection requires full marriage, rather than civil unions or some other substitute, for same-sex couples)

2010s[edit]

  • Gill v. Office of Personnel Management (2009–2013), Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act is found unconstitutional in U.S. district court. This ruling is affirmed by the First Circuit Court of Appeals. Implementation stayed pending Windsor (see below) which ultimately resolves this case by finding Section 3 unconstitutional; hence Gill is dismissed.
  • Massachusetts v. United States Department of Health and Human Services (2009–2013), Decided alongside Gill (above). Same outcome.
  • Port v. Cowan (2010–2012), Maryland must recognize valid out-of-state same-sex marriages under doctrine of comity.[322]
  • Hollingsworth v. Perry (2009–2013), California's proposition banning same-sex marriage is found unconstitutional in U.S. district court, Perry v. Schwarzenegger. Proposition backers appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, where they are found to have standing, but the district court's finding of unconstitutionality is narrowly upheld, Perry v. Brown. U.S. Supreme Court finds proposition backers lack standing, dismisses appeal, instructs the Ninth Circuit to vacate the appeal below, leaving the district court ruling intact.[323]
  • Windsor v. United States (2010–2013) Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act is found unconstitutional in U.S. district court. This ruling is affirmed by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and after granting the petition of certiorari, affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court. The U.S. government began implementing the decision the same week.[324][325]
  • Golinski v. Office of Personnel Management (2010–2013), Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act is found unconstitutional in U.S. district court, and that homosexuality is a quasi-suspect classification, meaning that discrimination in legislation such as the Act must substantially relate to an important government interest ("intermediate scrutiny"). On appeal case is held in abeyance pending the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Windsor. Since Windsor finds the same Section 3 unconstitutional, the appeal is ultimately ordered dismissed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Garden State Equality v. Dow (2011–2013), New Jersey's civil unions violate due process guarantees; denying same-sex marriage ruled unconstitutional in state superior court. The N.J. Supreme Court refuses to stay the ruling; and ultimately the state defendants drop their appeal.
  • Griego v. Oliver, 316 P.3d 865 (N.M. 2013), New Mexico's constitutional protections require marriage to be extended to same-sex couples in this N.M. Supreme Court ruling.
  • State v. Schmidt, Opinion No. 6898 (Alaska, April 25, 2014), The Supreme Court of Alaska finds that same-sex couples, defined as "two people of the same biological sex who are in a long-term, committed, intimate domestic partnership, and who", but if for Alaska law, "would marry if they could" are entitled to the full benefit of the state's tax exemption programs.[326]
  • Halopka-Ivery v. Walker (2014) Same-sex marriage recognition case where a couple married out-of-state is seeking original jurisdiction in the Wisconsin Supreme Court, as a matter of publici juris. The petition/case has been filed on April 16, 2014, and docketed as number 2014AP000839-OA. On May 27, 2014, the state supreme court, on a 5–2 vote, declined to hear the case.[327][328]
  • Nichols v. Nichols (2009–2014) Same-sex divorce case filed in 2009; dismissed for lack of jurisdiction in August 2013. A petition for the case to be heard directly in the Nebraska Supreme Court was granted in March 2014. Oral arguments in the case, number S-13-0841, were heard before the state's highest court in Lincoln on May 28, 2014.[329][330] On June 13, 2014 the Nebraska's Supreme Court dismissed the appeal saying it didn’t have jurisdiction, as the district court never issued a final, appealable order dismissing the complaint below. Nevertheless, the plaintiff pursued an appeal; therefore, this procedural error by the plaintiff prevented the state supreme court from addressing the constitutional arguments raised about same-sex marriage and divorce in Nebraska, Nichols, 288 Neb. 339.
The trial judge and plaintiff are discussing the possibility of entering a proper final order, which would then be appealable; this could revive the case.[331]

In litigation[edit]

Litigation against Same-sex marriage bans in the United States
  SSM legal
  Judicial ruling against a SSM ban stayed pending appeal
  Litigation in U.S. court of appeals
  Litigation in U.S. district court
  Litigation in state court
* State attorney-general not defending ban.
Only the case before the highest court is coded per state.

Lawsuits have been filed in various state and federal courts to challenge same-sex marriage bans in every state that currently prohibits the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples or recognition of same-sex marriages performed elsewhere,[332] with the exception of Nebraska (see map at right).

US Supreme Court[edit]

Kitchen v. Herbert
The state ban on same-sex marriage ruled unconstitutional in U.S. district court, 961 F. Supp. 2d 1181 (2013). Ruling stayed by U.S. Supreme Court until resolution of appeals, Herbert v. Kitchen, 134 S.Ct. 893 (January 6, 2014). Appealed in the Tenth Circuit, case number 13-4178, with oral arguments held on April 10, 2014.[333] District court ruling upheld, June 25, 2014; stayed pending further appeal.[192] On August 5, a petition for certiorari was filed with the Supreme Court by the office of the state's Attorney General[334] and the plaintiffs' attorneys said they would support the state's request.[335]
Bishop v. Smith
The state ban on same-sex marriage ruled unconstitutional in U.S. district court, Bishop v. Oklahoma ex rel. Holder, 962 F. Supp. 2d 1252 (2014). Ruling stayed pending resolution of Kitchen v. Herbert (see below). Appeal was heard by the same panel of judges as Kitchen in the Tenth Circuit, but with separate briefing and oral argument on April 17, 2014, case number 14-5003 and 14-5006.[336][337] District court ruling upheld, July 18, 2014; stayed pending further appeal.[338]

Courts of Appeals[edit]

Federal courts of appeal (numbered) and federal district courts (dashed lines and state boundaries)

Third Circuit[edit]

  • Appeal from Pennsylvania, Middle District:
Whitewood v. Wolf
This same-sex marriage case was effectively resolved on May 20, 2014, when Judge John E. Jones III ruled that Pennsylvania's same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional, Whitewood v. Wolf, No. 1-13-cv-01861 (M.D. Pa.) With the state's governor declining to appeal, the decision went into effect immediately, effectively legalizing same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania.[167]
Despite this, the Schuylkill County clerk who handles marriage licensing in her official capacity tried to intervene in the case after the ruling was handed down. The counsel of record in the Pennsylvania county clerk's litigation is Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian nonprofit organization. The county clerk sought to stop the same-sex marriages being held in the state, as well as to appeal the Whitewood ruling.[339] On June 18, 2014, Judge Jones denied the county clerk's motion for intervention and a stay, and on July 3, 2014, a three-judge panel of the Third Circuit summarily affirmed the denial. The Schuylkill clerk again applied for a stay of judgment, this time to U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito, Circuit Justice for the Third Circuit. Justice Alito denied the clerk's application for a stay on July 8, 2014, and the Third Circuit denied the clerk's petition to rehear her case for intervention on August 4, 2014.[169][170]

Fourth Circuit[edit]

  • Appeal from Virginia, Eastern District:
Bostic v. Schaefer
Initially filed as Bostic v. McDonnell on July 18, 2013. The U.S. district court found the state's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional on February 13, 2014 under both due process and equal protection challenges, Bostic v. Rainey, 970 F. Supp. 2d 456. Ruling stayed pending conclusion of appeal. Restyled as Bostic v. Schaefer in the Fourth Circuit, case number 14-1167, with oral arguments held on May 12, 2014. The panel hearing the case consisted of U.S. Circuit Judges Roger L. Gregory, Paul Niemeyer, and Henry F. Floyd; the judges were described as "sharply divided" during arguments.[340][341]
On July 28, 2014, in a 2–1 decision, the Fourth Circuit affirmed Bostic. The majority noted that "inertia and apprehension are not legitimate bases for denying same-sex couples due process and equal protection of the laws."[342] After the ruling, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper indicated he would no longer defend the ban in his state.[343]

Fifth Circuit[edit]

  • Appeal from Texas, Western District:
De Leon v. Perry
Same-sex marriage case filed on October 28, 2013; preliminary injunction granted in U.S. district court, 975 F. Supp. 2d 632, on February 26, 2014. The court reasoned that: "Plaintiffs have shown a likelihood of success on the merits, i.e. that [Texas'] ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional; have established that continued enforcement ... would cause them irreparable harm." The district judge issued a stay during the state's interlocutory appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, appellate case number 14-50196. On April 14, 2014, the plaintiffs-appellees same-sex couples filed a motion for an expedited hearing of the appeal, with the state appellants in opposition but forgoing a reply. This motion to expedite was denied without comment on May 21, 2014 by Circuit Judge James E. Graves, Jr.[344][345][346]

Sixth Circuit[edit]

All four states under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit have a same-sex marriage case currently under appeal in that court. Oral arguments for all the below Sixth Circuit cases (DeBoer,[347] Obergefell and Henry,[348] Bourke and Love,[349] and Tanco,[350]) were heard on August 6, 2014 at 1:00pm in Cincinnati. The panel hearing the cases consisted of U.S. Circuit Judges Martha Daughtrey, Jeffrey Sutton, and Deborah L. Cook:[351]

  • Appeal from Michigan, Eastern District:
DeBoer v. Snyder
Initially filed on January 23, 2012; here, the U.S. district court finds that the state ban violates the Equal Protection Clause, 973 F. Supp. 2d 757 (E.D. Mich.). Permanent injunction against enforcement of same-sex marriage bans and implementing statutes ordered March 21, 2014. Appeal filed in the Sixth Circuit, case number 14-1341. Order stayed indefinitely, i.e., until appeals have been concluded, and expedited appeal ordered on a 2–1 appeal panel vote. On April 8, 2014, the Sixth Circuit directed counsel for the same-sex couples to respond to the state's petition for an initial en banc hearing—only to deny the state's petition twenty days later, with not one judge in the circuit voting to bypass the normal procedure: a hearing by a three-judge panel.[352][353][354]
  • Appeals from Ohio, Southern District:
Obergefell marriage case
Initially filed on July 19, 2013; here, the U.S. district court finds that the state ban on same-sex marriage violates the Due Process Clause, for the limited purpose of issuing death certificates, Obergefell v. Wymyslo, 962 F. Supp. 2d 968. Under appeal in the Sixth Circuit, Obergefell v. Himes, case number 14-3057.
Henry v. Himes
This case originates in the same U.S. district court and before the same judge as Obergefell (see above). Here, a case to seek the names of same-sex parents legally married out-of-state on birth certificates, filed on February 10, 2014 as Henry v. Wymyslo, was amended to overturn the state ban on same-sex marriage. On April 14, 2014, the U.S. district judge in the case declared: "The record before the Court, which includes the judicially noticed record in Obergefell, is staggeringly devoid of any legitimate justification for the State's ongoing arbitrary discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and, therefore, Ohio's marriage recognition bans are facially unconstitutional and unenforceable under any circumstances" (emphasis omitted). The judge noted that while the Due Process Clause requires that the state recognize out-of-state same-sex unions under his rulings, Ohio need not perform same-sex marriage. Except for the initial birth certificate amendment issue, the district judge stayed the remainder of the order pending appeal. After the state attorney general filed the necessary paperwork on May 9, 2014, Henry is currently on appeal in the Sixth Circuit, case number 14-3464.[22]
On May 29, 2014, the Sixth Circuit issued a sua sponte order consolidating both Obergefell and Henry.[355]
  • Appeal from Kentucky, Western District:
Bourke v. Beshear
Initially filed on July 26, 2013; here, the U.S. district court found the state's refusal to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions unconstitutional as violating the Equal Protection Clause; other theories (i.e. Due Process violations) were therefore not analyzed. Order stayed during interlocutory appeal, appellate number 14-5291.
Love v. Beshear
The addition of intervening plaintiffs to this lawsuit dealing with the related issue of denial of marriage licenses to in-state same-sex couples, required the court to bifurcate the case and restyle it. Love continued in district court as to the state marriage license issue, while the out-of-state recognition issue was appealed. Briefing by the intervening in-state couples concluded on May 28, 2014.[356]
On July 1, 2014, U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II found in favor of the intervening same-sex couple plaintiffs and ruled that Kentucky's ban on allowing same-sex marriage in-state violates the Equal Protection Clause. In doing so, Judge Heyburn departs from the opinions issued by most of the other U.S. district courts that examined the issue; he "does not determine whether Kentucky’s laws interfere with a fundamental right." Looking at the trio of marriage cases of Loving v. Virginia, Zablocki v. Redhail, and Turner v. Safley; Judge Heyburn states that "the question before the Court can be distilled to: is same-sex marriage part of or included in the fundamental right to marry, or is it something else altogether?" He is hesitant to answer in the affirmative, reasoning that "holding that the fundamental right to marry encompasses same-sex marriage would be a dramatic step that the Supreme Court has not yet indicated a willingness to take."
Judge Heyburn then notes that he can bypass answering this question. "Given the current posture of relevant constitutional jurisprudence, this Court finds caution here a more appropriate approach to avoid overreaching in its own constitutional analysis." Instead, the judge finds that homosexual persons constitute a suspect class. Although Sixth Circuit precedent suggests that sexual orientation classifications do not receive heightened scrutiny, Heyburn prods the Sixth Circuit "to reconsider its view" as this precedent relied on Bowers v. Hardwick, a Supreme Court case subsequently overturned as "not correct when it was decided, and it is not correct today." (citing Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 at 575) He does the analysis required and finds the heightened scrutiny of a "quasi-suspect" class applies to the case; but even under the lower "rational basis" review, the state does not bear it's burden in justifying exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage. Heyburn concludes that the defendants' arguments for exclusion, i.e. encouraging relationships that procreate and stabilize the birthrate, "are not those of serious people," finding no relation between same-sex marriage and heterosexual procreation.[357]
Judge Heyburn stayed his ruling pending appeal, appellate number 14-5818.
Consolidation of Bourke and Love appeals
Upon motion of appellee same-sex couples, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals consolidated Love v. Beshear with Bourke v. Beshear, as the cases had been previously split due to the in-state versus out-of-state issue. A July 16, 2014, order by the Sixth Circuit set an expedited briefing schedule in the consolidated appeal due to conclude July 31; oral arguments remain the same as in the previously-scheduled Bourke – August 6, 2014.[358] The Sixth Circuit will also hear same-sex marriage cases stemming from Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee on that date as well.
  • Appeal from Tennessee, Middle District:
Tanco v. Haslam
Initially filed on October 21, 2013; here, the U.S. district court granted a preliminary injunction on March 14, 2014, with the court finding the equal protection analysis in Bourke (see above) persuasive. The injunction forces Tennessee to recognize the three plaintiff same-sex couples' out-of-state marriages until the court disposes of the case; it also indicates that the couples are likely to succeed on the merits of their case. The district judge denied Tennessee's motion to stay the injunction, reasoning that unlike Kitchen v. Herbert (where the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay) this injunction covers only three couples and not the entire state. The Sixth Circuit finally granted a stay at the request of the state defendants, at the same time, sua sponte, ordering expedited assignment to a panel of judges for consideration on the merits. Appellate case number 14-5297.[359]

Seventh Circuit[edit]

The four same-sex marriage cases pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (Baskin, Fujii, Lee, and Walker v. Wolf) have been consolidated for an expedited oral argument per a July 14, 2014 court order. Oral arguments have been scheduled rescheduled from August 13 to August 26, 2014 in Chicago.[360]

  • Appeal from Indiana, Southern District:
Baskin v. Bogan
Fujii v. Commissioner of the Ind. State Dept. of Revenue
Lee v. Abbott
Five separate same-sex marriage lawsuits were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana: Love v. Pence, docket number 4:14-CV-0015, filed on March 7, 2014; Baskin v. Bogan, docket number 1:14-CV-0355, filed on March 13, 2014; and Fujii v. Pence, Bowling v. Pence and Lee v. Pence, dockets 1:14-CV-0404, -0405, and -0406 respectively, all filed on March 14.[361]
Baskin v. Bogan took precedence, because one partner of one of the plaintiff couples is terminally ill. As to this one couple, the district court granted immediate relief: on April 10, 2014, an emergency order—then after oral arguments on May 8, 2014 on a motion for summary judgment, a preliminary injunction—directing Indiana to recognize the couple's out-of-state same-sex marriage. In doing so, the court temporarily withdrew the motion for as to the rest of the plaintiffs, reasoning it makes a stronger case for the terminally ill couple while also allowing the rest a resolution on the merits without causing undue confusion in case of an appeal. The state did file an appeal of this limited injunction on May 9, 2014; this portion of the case, to briefed in the U.S. Seventh Circuit under the name of Baskin v. Zoeller, appellate docket 14-2037, was dismissed by the latter court as moot on July 14, 2014. Both parties jointly agreed to a dismissal of this interlocutory appeal, as the Baskin plaintiffs have since received a favorable final ruling in district court, and the Seventh Circuit will be reviewing that ruling.[362][363][364]
On June 25, 2014, the U.S. district court ruled as to the case of the remaining plaintiffs in Baskin, as well as the cases of Fujii and Lee. District Judge Richard L. Young found in favor of the plaintiff couples, granting them summary judgment and striking down Indiana's ban on same-sex marriage, while removing the state's governor from the lawsuit. In doing so, the judge found that the ban violated the Fourteenth Amendment under both due process and equal protection theories; the state had no rational basis for instituting such ban:

Defendants point to the one extremely limited difference between opposite-sex and same-sex couples, the ability of the couple to naturally and unintentionally procreate, as justification to deny same-sex couples a vast array of rights. The connection between these rights and responsibilities and the ability to conceive unintentionally is too attenuated to support such a broad prohibition.

The district court did not immediately issue a stay in Baskin v. Bogan and two companion cases.[365] Judge Young also dismissed Love v. Pence for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction because, in that case, the only named defendant was Indiana Governor Mike Pence, and "...the injuries of which the Plaintiffs complain are not fairly traceable to him, and cannot be redressed by him"; the governor cannot "issue executive decrees telling other elected officials how to do their jobs when it comes to laws affecting marriage."[366]
The state defendants appealed the U.S. District Court's decisions in Baskin v. Bogan, Fujii, and Lee; and on June 27, 2014, the cases were ordered, sua sponte, consolidated for purposes of briefing and disposition by the Seventh Circuit, and docketed under appellate case numbers 14-2386, 14-2387, and 14-2388 respectively. On the same day, a three-judge panel (Richard Posner, Ann Claire Williams, and David F. Hamilton) of the Seventh Circuit granted an emergency stay of the prevailing same-sex marriage cases for the duration of their appeal; a separate order exempted one marriage, because one partner is terminally ill, from that stay on recognition. The briefing schedule was set as to end on September 19, 2014; however, after Wolf v. Walker (see below) was decided and appealed to the same circuit, the cases were ordered combined for oral argument.[367][368]
  • Appeal from Wisconsin, Western District:
Wolf v. Walker
Same-sex marriage case with U.S. district judge Barbara Crabb granting plaintiff same-sex couples' motion for summary judgement on June 6, 2014. Judge Crabb found that Wisconsin's constitutional and legislative ban on same-sex marriage interferes with the fundamental right to marriage, violating the plaintiffs' due process and equal protection rights:

"In light of Windsor and the many decisions that have invalidated restrictions on same-sex marriage since Windsor, it appears that courts are moving toward a consensus that it is time to embrace full legal equality for gay and lesbian citizens. Perhaps it is no coincidence that these decisions are coming at a time when public opinion is moving quickly in the direction of support for same-sex marriage."

The judge held that heightened scrutiny applied to Wolf, No. 14-cv-64. While a hearing on specific injunctive relief was to follow (and did), clerks in at least 60 counties had begun marrying same-sex couples based on the judge's declaratory judgement alone. The state attorney general immediately requested a stay from both the district judge and from the Court of Appeals.[369]
In a June 9, 2014 order, Judge Crabb denied a motion for an emergency stay by the state defendants. The judge reasoned as she had not yet issued an injunction, only a declaration, that: "defendants [are] unable to cite any authority for the proposition that a court may 'stay' a declaration." As to the fact that clerks were already issuing marriage licenses, she responded: "...that is an issue outside the scope of this case." The organization representing the plaintiffs has submitted proposed language for the injunction. The state attorney general, while requesting that the court "expedite its ruling and enter final judgment without further hearing or oral argument," has filed an objection to it. On one hand, the attorney general states the proposed injunction "is not sufficiently specific" and "hopelessly vague," and on the other hand, objects to it as "expansive in scope" and describes it as "judicial legislation."[370][371]
Judge Crabb held a hearing on June 13, 2014, where she adopted the injunction proposed by the plaintiffs, for the most part, rewording it somewhat to address the concerns of vagueness by the state defendants. She stayed "all relief in this case," meaning the injunction and declaration (despite her previous finding that defendants could not cite authority to stay a declaration); this effectively ended same-sex marriage even under county clerks' own volition in Wisconsin, pending appeal. The judge expressed that she was bound by Supreme Court precedent to enter the stay:

After seeing the expressions of joy on the faces of so many newly wedded couples featured in media reports, I find it difficult to impose a stay on the event that is responsible for eliciting that emotion, even if the stay is only temporary. Same-sex couples have waited many years to receive equal treatment under the law, so it is understandable that they do not want to wait any longer.[372]

The state defendants filed a notice of appeal on July 10, 2014 and the case is now pending before the Seventh Circuit, sub nom. Walker v. Wolf, appellate case number 14-2526. The Seventh Circuit has consolidated Wolf v. Walker with the Baskin marriage cases (see above) for oral arguments and scheduled them for August 26, 2014.

Ninth Circuit[edit]

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has scheduled oral arguments in Jackson v. Fuddy, Sevcik v. Sandoval, and Latta v. Otter to be held on September 8, 2014 in San Francisco.

  • Appeal from Hawaii, District:
Jackson v. Fuddy
U.S. district court upholds the state's denial of marriage to same sex couples, Jackson v. Abercrombie, 884 F. Supp. 2d 1065 (D. Haw. 2012). As this was a pre-Windsor case, the court found Baker as controlling, and rejected plaintiffs' due process and equal protection claims. On appeal to the Ninth Circuit, case number 12-16995. Briefing, including on the mootness issue, to be concluded on June 10, 2014. Per letter dated May 6, 2014, the state attorney general is choosing not to file any brief or defend the case any longer, stating that the law has changed since the case's filing—i.e. Hawaii has enacted same-sex marriage legislatively and the Ninth Circuit now applies heightened scrutiny to cases of discrimination based on a person's sexual orientation.[373][374][375][376] On July 3, 2014, the Ninth Circuit scheduled oral arguments in Jackson; the issues presented are whether the appeal is moot, and if so, whether the opinion below (upholding Hawaii's ban) is subject to vacatur.[377]
  • Appeal from Nevada, District:
Sevcik v. Sandoval
U.S. district court upholds the state's denial of marriage to same sex couples, 911 F. Supp. 2d 996 (D. Nev. 2012). Ruling appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, case number 12-17668. The district judge found that any challenges are precluded by Baker, and if not, the discrimination described merits only rational basis review, and that "the protection of the traditional institution of marriage ... is a legitimate state interest." As this case was decided before Windsor, and since the lower rational basis review in sexual orientation discrimination cases is no longer valid law in the Ninth Circuit, Nevada has decided to no longer defend this case.[378][379] On July 3, 2014, the Ninth Circuit scheduled oral arguments in Sevcik. If the district court ruling upholding Nevada's same-sex marriage ban is reversed, the Circuit Court could simply vacate the ruling below, or could rule more broadly, allowing same-sex marriage statewide, or possibly circuit-wide.[380]
  • Appeal from Idaho, District:
Latta v. Otter
U.S. district court strikes down the state ban against same-sex marriage, No. 1:13-CV-00492-CWD (D. Ida. May 13, 2014). Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale ruled that Idaho's marriage laws' exclusion of same-sex couples were unconstitutional, stating:

Idaho's Marriage Laws withhold from them a profound and personal choice, one that most can take for granted. By doing so, Idaho's Marriage Laws deny same-sex couples the economic, practical, emotional, and spiritual benefits of marriage, relegating each couple to a stigmatized, second-class status. Plaintiffs suffer these injuries not because they are unqualified to marry, start a family, or grow old together, but because of who they are and whom they love.

The ruling was appealed to the Ninth Circuit; on May 15, 2014, a three-judge panel issued a temporary stay. A May 20, 2014 order determined that a stay pending appeal is necessary, with one circuit judge concurring with the stay, "...solely because I believe that the Supreme Court, in Herbert v. Kitchen ... has virtually instructed courts of appeals to grant stays in the circumstances before us today. If we were writing on a cleaner state, I would conclude that application of the familiar factors ... counsels against the stay requested by the Idaho appellants." The Ninth Circuit calendared the cases, numbers 14-35420 and 14-35421, for the week of September 8, 2014.[162][381][382]
On May 30, 2014, state defendants filed a petition before the Ninth Circuit to hear the case initially en banc, which in that circuit means a hearing by an 11-judge panel instead of a 3-judge panel. Idaho maintains that any ruling "will carry profound legal and broader social consequences" and a ruling signed off by more judges will hold greater weight. The state also argues that there is a circuit split in the U.S. Courts of Appeals in the level of scrutiny used when deciding cases of discrimination based on sexual orientation—plaintiffs will argue heightened scrutiny, which stems from the Ninth Circuit decision in SmithKline Beecham Corp. v. Abbott Labs., 740 F.3d 471 (2014); the other circuits apply less scrutiny, called rational basis review.[383] On August 19, 2014, the state's petition for an initial en banc hearing was formally denied by the Ninth Circuit.[384]
On July 3, 2014, the Ninth Circuit scheduled oral arguments in Latta. Jackson v. Fuddy and Sevcik v. Sandoval—two other cases pending before the same circuit, see above—are also scheduled for argument at the same time. Such scheduling indicates a broad ruling on same-sex marriage by the Ninth Circuit is possible.[385]
  • Appeal from Oregon, District:
Geiger v. Kitzhaber and
Rummell v. Kitzhaber
Two state same-sex marriage cases, consolidated in U.S. district court. The court heard oral argument on motions for summary judgment in both on April 23, 2014. Three weeks later, an organization that opposes same-sex marriage argued for, and was denied, status to intervene in the case. On May 19, 2014, the U.S. district judge declared Oregon's same-sex marriage ban unenforceable, No. 6:13-cv-01834-MC (D. Or.) He immediately ordered a permanent injunction preventing state defendants from enforcing or applying any law to prevent same-sex couples from marrying, or from having their out-of-state marriage recognized. The same-sex opposition group immediately applied for a stay, and was denied, by the Ninth Circuit. This group is appealing the ruling as well, with the plaintiffs and state defendants moving on May 20, 2014, to dismiss the appeal as moot, appellate number 14-35427 (U.S. 9th Cir.) On May 27, 2014, this same-sex opposition group filed an application for a stay with the U.S. Supreme Court, National Organization of Marriage, Inc. v. Geiger, No. 13A1173 (U.S. Sup. Ct.) The next day, Justice Anthony Kennedy, responsible for applications coming from the Ninth Circuit, asked the Geiger plaintiffs to submit a reply to this application by June 2, 2014.[386][387][388][389][390][391]
On June 4, 2014, in an order without comment, the U.S. Supreme Court denied to stay the U.S. district judge's decision, removing the last obstacle in the Geiger and Rummell cases; a motion to dismiss the opposition group's appeal as untimely and without foundation, awaiting a decision the Ninth Circuit, will finalize the decision if granted.[392]

Tenth Circuit[edit]

  • Appeal from Colorado, District:
Burns v. Hickenlooper
This is an appeal of a same-sex marriage case filed on July 1, 2014 in U.S. district court. The complaint, which references the Tenth Circuit decision in Kitchen v. Herbert, (see above), sues for a civil rights claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and alleges that the defendants violate the Fourteenth Amendment by denying plaintiffs the fundamental right of marriage.[393] The main defendants, the state governor and attorney general, agree with the plaintiffs insofar as having the court issue an injunction declaring the same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional, but they want a stay and swift resolution by the U.S. Supreme Court in order to avoid costly litigation.[394]
On July 15, 2014, a expedited status conference was held in the case before U.S. District Judge Raymond P. Moore. As the defendants stipulate that the Colorado same-sex marriage ban cannot stand, the only issue before the court is the state's request for a stay of the injunction to be issued against the ban. Per courtroom minutes, the judge scheduled a hearing on the state's motion for July 22, 2014.[395][396][397]
Judge Moore granted a preliminary injunction on July 23, 2014; this prevents Colorado officials from enforcing the state's same-sex marriage ban as the judge found it unconstitutional under the plaintiffs' theory. Moore issued a stay in the case as to proceedings (i.e. the injunction is preliminary); this expires upon the issuance of a mandate in Kitchen v. Herbert. Refusing to "divine" Supreme Court logic in staying other same-sex marriage cases, Judge Moore declined to stay the injunction, though he issued a temporary stay until August 25, 2014 to allow an appeal.[398]
The state defendants immediately filed a notice of appeal; the case is now before the Tenth Circuit, where defendants are expected to seek a permanent stay of the decision.[399]

Federal district courts[edit]

This same-sex marriage recognition case was filed on May 7, 2014. Plaintiffs seek recognition of their out-of-state marriage and step-parent adoption for their minor daughter. In mid-June, attorneys for the same-sex couple have filed a motion for summary judgement; the state defendants have filed a motion to dismiss.[400]
This same-sex marriage recognition case was filed on February 13, 2014.[401] Here, the plaintiff is asking to be listed on his deceased partner's death certificate as surviving spouse, a claim similar to the one in Obergefell (see above).
This same-sex marriage recognition case was filed on June 10, 2014. Here, the plaintiff couple, married out-of-state, seek recognition of this marriage and the state benefits associated with such.[402]
This same-sex marriage case was filed in Anchorage on May 12, 2014.[403] A scheduling conference in the case was held on July 11, 2014; with Hamby to proposed to proceed as follows: expert reports due on or before October 1, 2014; pretrial motions to be filed by October 1, 2014; and discovery to be completed by January 5, 2015. Parties indicated that a trial is not necessary for disposition of Hamby—the case will be resolved by a motion for summary judgment.[404]
In Connolly, plaintiff same-sex couples filed their motion for summary judgment on April 29, 2014; per court order briefing by parties on this motion will conclude on June 23.[405] The motion to consolidate Majors v. Humble (formerly known as Majors v. Horne) with Connolly was denied on April 15, 2014, but "because [the cases] turn on the same ultimate issue," both cases were assigned to the same judge, the visiting Senior U.S. District Judge John W. Sedwick.[406]
On July 7, 2014, plaintiffs and defendants filed a joint status report to Judge Sedwick indicating that it would be best to resolve Majors via summary judgment, a method not requiring trial, as well, as both parties stipulate there is no issue as to any material facts. The proposed schedule is as follows: plaintiffs will file a motion for summary judgment and a supporting brief by August 1, 2014 and the defendants will respond by September 5. Majors will then move forward pending the outcome of the Ninth Circuit decision in the same-sex marriage cases of Latta, Sevcik, and Jackson;[407] the Ninth Circuit has scheduled these latter cases (which could become circuit precedent) for oral argument on September 8, 2014. On July 15, 2014, Judge Sedwick agreed with the parties' joint recommendation for summary judgment and briefing schedule, and adopted such via court order.[408]
Same-sex marriage case filed in Little Rock on July 15, 2013. A hearing on the state defendants' January 21, 2014, motion to dismiss has yet to be scheduled. On July 16, 2014 attorneys for the plaintiffs asked for a summary judgement of the case.[409][410]
Same-sex marriage cases Brenner v. Scott and Grimsley v. Scott consolidated on April 21, 2014 for case-management purposes. The state's constitutional and statutory bans on same-sex marriage was found to violate the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment on August 21, 2014. U.S. District Judge Robert Lewis Hinkle granted the same-sex couple plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction that prevents Florida from enforcing its bans; however, the judge issued a stay as to the injunction.[411][412][413][414]
Same-sex marriage class-action lawsuit filed on April 22, 2014 in Atlanta.[415]
First filed as an out-of-state same-sex marriage recognition case on February 12, 2014, Forum for Equality Louisiana was joined with an earlier case, Robicheaux v. George. Robicheaux was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, as it named the incorrect defendant. All briefs on a motion for summary judgment were due May 12, 2014. Oral arguments were held on June 25, 2014 before U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman sitting in New Orleans. Judge Feldman indicated that he prefers a ruling on more aspects of same-sex marriage: he scheduled further briefing, due before July 16, 2014, on related issues—including whether Louisiana's refusal to allow in-state same-sex marriage—violates the plaintiffs' rights to due process and equal protection.[416]
Same-sex marriage case with the plaintiff couple seeking Michigan recognition of their out-of-state marriage, as well as second-parent adoption for two of their children–one adopted, the other conceived via in vitro fertilization. The couple's complaint was filed on June 5, 2014; they have previously filed a motion to intervene in another Michigan same-sex marriage case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, DeBoer v. Snyder, on April 21, 2014.[417]
Lawson is a same-sex marriage case filed, by the ACLU, first in the state circuit court, the Sixteenth Judicial District in and for Kansas City, on June 24, 2014. Here, the docket number is 1416-CV15024. Lawson alleges Missouri's statutory same-sex marriage ban violates the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.[418] The case was later moved to federal court after attorney general Chris Koster intervened. The lawsuit is now assigned to US district judge Ortrie Smith.[419]
Same-sex marriage case filed in Great Falls on May 21, 2014.[420]
Originally a case dealing with second-parent adoption filed in 2012; proceedings were initially stayed because of the expected decision in Windsor before the U.S. Supreme Court. Following a favorable outcome in Windsor, this case was amended to allow consideration of same-sex marriage. On June 2, 2014, a U.S. magistrate judge overseeing the case recommended another stay of proceedings, this time per the expected U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Bostic v. Shaefer, with the judge noting: "the decision...will provide the controlling legal principles for this Court to apply in evaluating the motions to dismiss and in determining whether Plaintiffs have demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits in support of their request for preliminary injunctive relief. Any decision by this Court in this case prior to Bostic would need to be reconsidered in light of the decision ultimately issued in Bostic, which would result in significant inefficiency and uncertainty with regard to the effect of any decision rendered in the interim."[421] Similar orders have been entered in other Fourth Circuit cases, including McGee v. Cole, Bradacs v. Haley, and Harris v. Rainey. On July 28, 2014 following the ruling by the 4th Circuit of Appeals that the same-sex marriage ban in Virginia is unconstitutional, North Carolina attorney general Roy Cooper announced he would stop defending the same-sex marriage ban in North Carolina.[422][423]
On June 6, 2014, private counsel filed a federal lawsuit in North Dakota on behalf of seven same-sex couples challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Fargo and argues that the 2004 voter-approved constitutional amendment—which limits marriage to heterosexuals—violates the equal-protection and due-process guarantees of the U.S. Constitution.[424]
Same-sex marriage case filed in Philadelphia on August 28, 2013. The judge is currently ruling on pretrial motions, with oral arguments scheduled on May 28, 2014. This case may be moot, however, since Whitewood v. Wolf, another Pennsylvania marriage case, may have decided the issue.
Same-sex marriage lawsuit filed in San Juan in late March 2014.[425]
On April 22, 2014, proceedings in this same-sex marriage case were ordered stayed in abeyance until the expected ruling in Bostic v. Shaefer, a possibly precedent-setting case above in the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Proceedings have been stayed for similar reasons in other Fourth Circuit cases: Harris v. Rainey, McGee v. Cole, and Fisher-Borne v. Smith.
Same-sex marriage lawsuit filed on May 22, 2014 in Sioux Falls. Five plaintiff couples have valid out-of state marriages, and a sixth was denied a license in-state. On July 3, an attorney for the plaintiffs filed a motion for summary judgment, such a motion allows the court to rule on the case without a trial, where there is no issue as to the material facts. The attorney also filed a motion to allow the National Council for Lesbian Rights, a nonprofit LGBT advocacy organization, intervenor status in the case.[426][427]
A second Virginia case dealing with same-sex marriage; this was certified as a class-action lawsuit on January 31, 2014. Two months later, proceedings were ordered stayed in Harris because Bostic v. Shaefer, the other Virginia case awaiting a decision in the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, could set precedent for that circuit. The plaintiff same-sex couples in this case have been granted leave to intervene in Bostic as well. Similar orders have been entered at least in three other cases bound by the Fourth Circuit: McGee v. Cole, Bradacs v. Haley, and Fisher-Borne v. Smith.[428][429]
This same-sex marriage case, initially filed on October 1, 2013, survived a motion to dismiss in U.S. district court on January 29, 2014, with the court finding: "Doctrinal developments since Baker, however, do justify a finding that Baker is nonbinding."[430]
On June 10, 2014, the district court ordered a stay of proceedings until there is a ruling in Bostic v. Shaefer. Bostic is a same-sex marriage case above in the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals; the district judge reasoned that "because of the overlap in the issues present" the Bostic case should be decided first.[431] Similar orders exist in three other cases in states where U.S. district courts are bound by Fourth Circuit precedent: Harris v. Rainey (Virginia), Bradacs v. Haley, (South Carolina) and Fisher-Borne v. Smith (North Carolina).

State courts[edit]

Note: In the United States, the name of the court where a civil complaint or a petition is initially filed, and the trial is held, varies by state. The following terms may be used: county court, circuit court, district court, and superior court.

Same-sex marriage case on appeal from state circuit court. Following oral arguments on a motion for summary judgment, held on April 17, 2014, the circuit judge issued a ruling on May 9, 2014, striking down the state's same-sex marriage ban. He stated: "The exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage for no rational basis violates the fundamental right to privacy and equal protection ... The difference between opposite-sex and same-sex families is within the privacy of their homes." Wright, No. 60CV-13-2662 (Ark. Cir. Ct., Pulaski Co.)[432][433]
The next day the state filed notice of appeal with the circuit court. The state attorney general and, separately, the clerks of four counties, filed a petition for an emergency stay, and an expedited motion for a stay (respectively) with the state supreme court, as the trial judge did not act on such below. The plaintiffs-appellees filed their response on May 13, 2014, and later that day, moved to dismiss the state's appeal as premature, stating first, that there is no final ruling from the circuit court on injunctive relief, only a declaratory judgment, and second, that the ruling struck down the state constitutional ban without mentioning the statutory ban. The supreme court agreed with the plaintiffs, and sent the case back to circuit court for a final order, Wright v. Smith, No. CV-14-414 (Ark. Sup. Ct.)[434]
On May 15, 2014 the circuit judge clarified his order, striking down the statutory ban as well. This had the brief effect of allowing same-sex marriage to resume. However, the next day the Arkansas Supreme Court acted on the state's and county clerks' renewed motions for a stay, granting them, Smith v. Wright, No. CV-14-427 (Ark. Sup. Ct.) The case is currently on appeal.[435][436]
Here, the same-sex marriage cases of Brinkman and McDaniel-Miccio were combined for argument in the state's Seventeenth Judicial District via a granted motion to consolidate. After written motions for summary judgment were submitted and a court hearing was held, District Judge Scott Crabtree issued a ruling striking down Colorado's same-sex marriage ban. He held that the ban violates plaintiffs' guarantees of equal protection and due process under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.[437]
Meanwhile, the Boulder County clerk had been issuing licenses based on her own interpretation of the Tenth Circuit ruling in Kitchen. The state attorney general filed a motion before the Twentieth Judicial District in an attempt to stay the clerk's actions. However, on July 10, 2014 (a day after the Brinkman ruling) District Judge Andrew Hartman found that while the Boulder clerk violated the law, he refused to impose a restraining order or injunction upon her, as the state did not meet its high burden for a stay.[438][439]
After Judge Hartman's decision was handed down, Denver County and Pueblo County began issuing licenses to couples regardless of gender as well. The state's attorney general appealed Judge Crabtree's ruling to the Colorado Supreme Court. In a separate filing, and seeking a reversal of Judge Hartman's ruling, the attorney general also asked the high court for an emergency injunction to stop clerks from issuing licenses.[440][441] In a July 18, 2014 unanimous order issued en banc, the high court rejected the attorney general's request for an emergency injunction—one which would have statewide effect. However, the state supreme court ordered clerks in Adams and Denver counties stop issuing licenses as they were subject to a previous stay.[442] The state defendants appealed Judge Hartman's ruling allowing the Boulder County clerk to issue marriage licenses despite the ban, and also asked Judge Hartman to reconsider his ruling and stay it.[443] On July 23, 2014, Hartman denied the request, and the next day the Colorado Court of Appeals affirmed.[444]
Meanwhile, the Colorado Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments regarding the merits of the state's same-sex marriage ban on September 30, 2014[397]
On July 29, 2014 Colorado Supreme Court ordered Boulder County to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples while it considers the state's appeal. Clerks in Pueblo County have also stopped issuing marriage license to same-sex couples as well.[183]
Pareto v. Ruvin and Huntsman v. Heavilin are two state circuit court (i.e. trial-level) cases where Florida's ban on same-sex marriage has been found unconstitutional. Both decisions have been stayed and both are under appeal to the state Third District Court of Appeal. Once the appeals court hands down it's decision, it will be applicable statewide, i.e. binding upon all of the circuit and county courts within the State of Florida, see Pardo v. State, 596 So.2d 665 (Fla. 1992).
Same-sex marriage recognition case filed in state district court in Topeka, where the plaintiffs are seeking respect for their out-of-state marriage licenses in-state for the purpose of filing their taxes as a married couple.[445] The lawsuit seeks a court order requiring the revenue department to allow the couples to file joint income tax returns as married. Docketed as No. 13-C-1465 (Kan. Dist. Ct., Shawnee Co., Div. 7)[446][447]
Same-sex divorce case; dismissed for lack of jurisdiction on December 2, 2013 (Chancery Ct. Dist. 3). Appeal filed three weeks later in state appellate court; briefing is scheduled to conclude July 23, 2014.
Barrier is a same-sex marriage recognition case filed by the ACLU in state circuit court on February 11, 2014. The case was docketed No. 1416-CV03892 and an April 24, 2014 case conference set oral arguments on motions for summary judgment to September 25, 2014 before Judge James D. Youngs in Kansas City, Missouri.[448]
This same-sex marriage case remains on appeal before the state supreme court, docket number 77 MAP 2013 (Pa. Sup. Ct.) Cases below are Ballen v. Wolf, number 481 MD 2013, and Cucinotta v. Commonwealth, number 451 MD 2013. On May 21, 2014, the Middle District of Pennsylvania's ruling in Whitewood v. Wolf effectively legalized same-sex marriage in the state. The state defendants filed an application two days later to dismiss the Ballen and Cucinotta cases as moot because of this. The arguments that were set in these cases before the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court sitting en banc in June were cancelled by a May 29 court order as well.
However, since Whitewood remains subject to appeal by a possible intervenor, the Commonwealth Court issued per curiam orders on June 19 and 20, denying the defendants' motions to dismiss Ballen and Cucinotta, respectively. The orders mention that the cases are suspended until—and the defendants can renew their motions to dismiss after—the final resolution in Whitewood.[449][450]
A 2009 same-sex divorce case before the state supreme court. A state district court granted the divorce and ruled the state same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional as applied to the case. The state court of appeals reversed, holding that district courts do not have jurisdiction in such matters, 326 S.W.3d 654 (Tex. 5th Ct. App. 2010). The high court granted review on August 23, 2013, and oral arguments were held on November 5, 2013. A decision is yet to be handed down.
Another Texas same-sex divorce case; this is a newer case, however. Here, the same-sex plaintiff prevailed in the initial hearing, but after the state intervened on appeal, the appellate court directed the district court to vacate the initial order. On April 22, 2014, the state challenged the district court's statutory jurisdiction to hear same-sex divorce cases. The state district court not only found that it had jurisdiction over the case, but the judge also ruled that Texas's same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional on its face, A.L.F.L. v. K.L.L., No. 2014-CI-02421 (Tex. 438th Jud. Dist. Ct.)[451]
Before a hearing for the plaintiff same-sex divorcees' request for divorce could be scheduled, the state filed a mandamus proceeding in state appellate court. The appellate court granted an emergency stay on April 24, and directed parties to file briefs on the issue, No. 04-14-00282-CV (Tex. 4th Ct. App.)[452]
On May 28, 2014, in a 2–1 decision, the appellate court found that procedural error was committed, and sent the case back. Since "the parties and the court failed to provide notice to the attorney general of a party’s challenges to the constitutionality of a state statute as required by the Texas Government Code," that the trial court would have to vacate it's April 22 order and to provide notice to the attorney general. The dissent, relying on the precedent of Ex parte Lo, 424 S.W.3d 10, 29 (Tex. Crim. App. 2013) (op. on reh’g), stated that such a "provide notice to the attorney general" requirement violates the separation of powers. The majority dismisses Lo as applicable to only criminal cases.[453][454]
The case now either heads back before the trial judge in circuit court, or can be appealed to the Texas Supreme Court.
Same-sex marriage case filed in state district court at Laramie on March 5, 2014, Docket 182 No. 262. The plaintiffs filed a motion for summary judgment on July 1, 2014, asking the court to rule without a trial as there is no material dispute as to the facts in the case.

See also[edit]

Legislation[edit]

Supporting organizations[edit]

Opposing organizations[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ These states are California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.[1]
  2. ^ Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Coquille, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Mashantucket Pequot, Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, Puyallup, Santa Ysabel Tribe, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and Suquamish
  3. ^ U.S. district courts have struck down same-sex marriage bans affecting Utah,[2] Oklahoma,[3] Virginia,[4] Texas,[5] Michigan,[6] Idaho,[7] Oregon,[8] Pennsylvania,[9] Wisconsin,[10] Indiana,[11] Kentucky,[12] Colorado,[13] and Florida.[14]
  4. ^ The states are Arkansas,[15] Texas,[16] Colorado,[17] and Florida[18]
  5. ^ Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin. See Attempts to establish same-sex unions via initiative or statewide referendum

References[edit]

  1. ^ "National Conference of State Legislatures: Quick facts on key provisions". ncsl.org. Retrieved January 1, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Watkins, Tom (December 20, 2013). "In Utah, judge's ruling ignites same-sex marriage frenzy". CNN. Retrieved December 23, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Brandes, Heide (January 14, 2014). "U.S. judge rules Oklahoma gay marriage ban unconstitutional". Reuters via Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 15, 2014. 
  4. ^ Simpson, Ian (February 14, 2014). "Federal judge strikes down Virginia's ban on gay marriage". Reuters. Retrieved February 27, 2014. 
  5. ^ Calkins, Laurel (February 27, 2014). "Texas Gay-Marriage Ban Held Illegal as Judge Delays Order". Bloomberg. Retrieved February 27, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Deboer v. Snyder: Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law". United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan Southern Division. March 15, 2014. Retrieved March 23, 2014. 
  7. ^ Staff reports (May 13, 2014). "Federal court strikes down Idaho gay marriage ban". LGBTQ Nation. Retrieved May 13, 2014. 
  8. ^ Mears, Bill; Shoichet, Catherine (May 19, 2014). "Federal judge strikes down Oregon's same-sex marriage ban". CNN. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  9. ^ Williams, Pete (May 20, 2014). "Judge Strikes Down Pennsylvania Same-Sex Marriage Ban". NBCNews.com. Retrieved May 20, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Judge strikes down Wisconsin same-sex marriage ban". USA Today. Associated Press. June 6, 2014. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  11. ^ Javier Panzar (June 25, 2014). "Judge strikes down Indiana's ban on gay marriage". LA Times. Retrieved August 20, 2014. 
  12. ^ Wolfson, Andrew (July 1, 2014). "Gays have right to marry in Kentucky, judge rules". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Judge Strikes Down Gay Marriage Ban, Stays Ruling". ABC News. Associated Press. July 23, 2014. Retrieved July 23, 2014. 
  14. ^ Rothaus, Steve (August 21, 2014). "Federal judge: Florida gay-marriage ban unconstitutional". Miami Herald. Retrieved August 21, 2014. 
  15. ^ DeMillo, Andrew. "Arkansas Judge Strikes Down Gay Marriage Ban". Associated Press. Retrieved May 9, 2014. 
  16. ^ Kuffner, Charles. "State court rules gay marriage ban is unconstitutional". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved May 11, 2014. 
  17. ^ Steffen, Jordan (July 9, 2014). "Adams judge tosses Colorado gay marriage ban but stays ruling". The Denver Post. 
  18. ^ Associated Press (July 17, 2014). "Ruling allows same-sex marriages for Florida Keys". USA Today. 
  19. ^ Miller, Stewart and Manson (June 25, 2014). "10th Circuit Court upholds same-sex marriage in Utah". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved July 19, 2014. 
  20. ^ Associated Press (July 18, 2014). "Oklahoma same-sex marriages ruled constitutional for second time". The Guardian. Retrieved July 19, 2014. 
  21. ^ Eckholm, Eric (July 28, 2014). "Virginia’s Ban on Gay Marriage Is Unconstitutional, Court Rules". The New York Times. 
  22. ^ a b Black, Timothy (U.S. District Judge) (April 14, 2014). "Order Granting Plaintiffs' Motion for Declaratory Judgment, Henry v. Himes". U.S. District Court, Southern Dist. of Ohio, Case No. 1:14-cv-129. Retrieved April 14, 2014. 
  23. ^ "Case: Tanco v. Haslam". Nclrights.org. Retrieved August 21, 2014. 
  24. ^ Wilson, Charles D. (July 1, 2014). "Court orders Indiana to recognize 1 gay marriage". Bigstory.ap.org. Retrieved August 21, 2014. 
  25. ^ "National Conference of State Legislatures: Quick facts on key provisions". ncsl.org. Retrieved May 29, 2013. 
  26. ^ Gumbel, Andrew. "The Great Undoing?". The Advocate. Retrieved July 9, 2012. 
  27. ^ "Same Sex Marriage Laws - History". National Conference of State Legislatures. Retrieved August 1, 2012. 
  28. ^ Belluck, Oam (May 17, 2004). "With Festive Mood, Gay Weddings Begin in Massachusetts". New York Times. Retrieved January 11, 2014. 
  29. ^ a b LAX, JEFFREY R. (August 2009). "Gay Rights in the States: Public Opinion and Policy Responsiveness" (PDF). American Political Science Review 103 (3): 67–86. doi:10.1017/S0003055409990050. Retrieved December 20, 2011. 
  30. ^ Silver, Nate (May 9, 2012). "Support for Gay Marriage Outweighs Opposition in Polls". New York Times. Retrieved October 28, 2012. 
  31. ^ a b c Staff, ABC News (May 9, 2012). "Obama Affirms Support for Same-Sex Marriage". ABC News. Retrieved March 20, 2013. 
  32. ^ "14 Supreme Court Cases: Marriage is a Fundamental Right". American Foundation for Equal Rights. July 19, 2012. Retrieved December 22, 2012. 
  33. ^ 1 U.S.C. § 7.
  34. ^ Goodnough, Abby; Schwartz, John (July 8, 2010). "Judge Topples U.S. Rejection of Gay Unions". The New York Times. Retrieved June 2, 2011. 
  35. ^ "Judge rules federal same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional". CNN. July 9, 2010. Retrieved July 19, 2012. 
  36. ^ "The Defense of Marriage Act". Freedom to Marry. Retrieved July 19, 2012. 
  37. ^ Lavoie, Denise (May 31, 2012). "DOMA Ruled Unconstitutional By Federal Appeals Court". The Huffington Post. Retrieved July 19, 2012. 
  38. ^ Malewitz, Jim (October 18, 2012). "Defense of Marriage Act Discriminates Against Gays, Federal Court Rules". Pewstates.org. Retrieved October 20, 2012. 
  39. ^ Tiven, Rachel. "Edie Wins! Another Ruling Against DOMA, What It Means". Immigration Equality (organization). Retrieved October 23, 2012. 
  40. ^ Windsor v. United States, 12-2335-cv(L), October 18, 2012.
  41. ^ Geidner, Chris (July 3, 2012). "DOJ Asks Supreme Court to Take Two DOMA Cases, Maintains Law Is Unconstitutional". Metro Weekly. Retrieved July 19, 2012. 
  42. ^ Grindley, Lucas (June 19, 2012). "Republicans Appeal DOMA Case to Supreme Court". The Advocate. Retrieved July 19, 2012. 
  43. ^ "Live Analysis of the Supreme Court Decisions on Gay Marriage". New York Times. June 26, 2013. Retrieved June 26, 2013. 
  44. ^ Michon, Kathleen. "Federal Marriage Benefits Available to Same-Sex Couples". Nolo.com a.k.a. Nolo Law for all. Retrieved July 26, 2014. 
  45. ^ Laurence, Beth. "Military Benefits for Same-Sex Spouses Post-DOMA". Nolo.com a.k.a. Nolo Law for all. Retrieved July 26, 2014. 
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