Same-sex marriage in the United States

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Same-sex marriage is legal in a majority of U.S. states and recognized by the United States federal government. Same-sex marriage is legal in 31 states,[a] the District of Columbia, and ten Native American tribal jurisdictions.[b] One more state only recognizes same-sex marriages established in other jurisdictions.[c] Several hundred marriage licenses were issued to same-sex couples in Michigan and Arkansas between the time their bans were struck down by federal or state courts and when those rulings were stayed. Most Americans live in a jurisdiction where same-sex couples can legally marry.

The movement to obtain civil marriage rights and benefits for same-sex couples in the United States began in the 1970s,[2] but became increasingly prominent in U.S. politics following the 1993 Hawaii Supreme Court decision in Baehr v. Lewin that declared that state's prohibition to be unconstitutional.[3] During the 21st century, public support for same-sex marriage has grown considerably,[4][5] and national polls conducted since 2011 show that a majority of Americans support legalizing it. 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.[6] On May 9, 2012, Barack Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to publicly declare support for the legalization of same-sex marriage.[7] On November 6, 2012, Maine, Maryland, and Washington became the first and only states to legalize same-sex marriage through popular vote.

People seeking court-ordered recognition of their same-sex marriages based on their specific circumstances have had varying degrees of success. The Seventh Circuit and a U.S. district court have each required Indiana to recognize a marriage where one plaintiff is terminally ill.[8][9] U.S. district courts in Arizona and Florida have each required a state to recognize a same-sex marriage for the purpose of issuing or amending a death certificate.[10][11] and a U.S. district court in Ohio issued a similar order with respect to four birth certificates.[12] A Florida state court has recognized an out-of state same-sex marriage to allow a widower to serve as executor of his spouse's estate.[13] Similar plaintiffs have appealed adverse decisions or had rulings in their favor stayed pending appeal in several states.[d] Some states recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions for a specific purpose: Ohio for death certificates,[14] and Wyoming for obtaining a divorce.[15]

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 sixteen states[e] and state courts in five states[f] have found that same-sex marriage bans violate the U.S. Constitution, while one U.S. district court[g] and one state court[h] have found that they do not. The U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Fourth, Seventh, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits have affirmed the unconstitutionality of such bans. Additionally, a U.S. district court in Ohio[i] and a state court in Missouri[j] have ordered those states to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions. While most of these rulings have taken effect, those in Texas, Michigan, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Florida, Wyoming have been stayed pending appeal.

On October 6, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear appeals in all the cases it had been asked to consider from appellate courts in the Fourth, Seventh, and Tenth Circuits, allowing decisions from those courts striking down marriage bans to stand. The states with bans at issue in those cases were Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin. The court's action has also led to legal same-sex marriage in Colorado, North Carolina, and West Virginia, as well as a stayed ruling to that effect in Wyoming; it is also expected to affect other states within the three circuits—Kansas and South Carolina.[40] A decision the next day by the Ninth Circuit invalidating bans on same-sex marriage in Idaho and Nevada subsequently affected Alaska[41] and Arizona[42] and is expected to affect Montana as well.[43]

Legal issues[edit]

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

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 marital status, is determined in large measure 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 states, as was the case until 1967 with interracial marriage which some states banned by statute.

Federal law[edit]

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was enacted in 1996. DOMA's Section 2 says that no state need recognize the legal validity of a same-sex relationship even if recognized as marriage by another state. It purports to relieve a state of its reciprocal obligation to honor the laws of other states as required by the Constitution's full faith and credit clause.[44] Even before DOMA, however, states sometimes refused to recognize a marriage from another jurisdiction if it was counter to its "strongly held public policies".[45] Most lawsuits that seek to require a state to recognize a marriage established in another jurisdiction argue on the basis of equal protection and due process, not the full faith and credit clause.[k]

DOMA's Section 3 defined marriage for the purposes of federal law as a union of one man and one woman.[48] It was challenged in the federal courts. 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 equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.[49][50] Beginning in 2010, eight federal courts found DOMA Section 3 unconstitutional on issues including bankruptcy, public employee benefits, estate taxes, and immigration.[51][52][53] On October 18, 2012, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals became the first court[54] 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.[55] Asked to consider several cases that found DOMA Section 3 unconstitutional, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Windsor on June 26, 2013, that Section 3 violated the Fifth Amendment.[56][l]

As a result of the Windsor decision, married same-sex couples–regardless of domicile–have tax benefits (including the ability to file joint income tax returns), military benefits, federal employment benefits for employees of the U.S Government and immigration benefits.[60][61][62][63] 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.[64][65] 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.[66][67] With respect to social security and veterans benefits, same-sex married couples who live in states where same-sex marriage is recognized 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.[67][68][69]

The federal government has announced that it recognizes the marriages of same-sex couples who married in certain states in which same-sex marriage was legal for brief periods between the time a court order allowed such couples to marry and that court order was stayed, including Michigan and Utah. It has yet to take a position with respect to similar marriages in Arkansas, Indiana, and Wisconsin.[70]

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.[71]

In 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court declined an appeal in Baker v. Nelson, a same-sex marriage case from Minnesota, "for want of a substantial federal question."[72] The Baker precedent for many years closed the federal courts to legal advocacy on behalf of same-sex marriage rights. Since the Supreme Court decision in Windsor, however, most federal courts that have considered same-sex marriage cases have held that Baker is no longer binding precedent, because, as a district judge in Pennsylvania wrote in November 2013, "[t]he jurisprudence of equal protection and substantive due process has undergone what can only be characterized as a sea change since 1972".[73]

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.[74] 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.[75]

State law[edit]

State laws regarding same-sex marriage in the United States1
  Same-sex marriage legal
  Same-sex marriage performed elsewhere recognized
  Same-sex marriage legalization pending, but not yet in effect2
  No prohibition or recognition of same-sex marriage in territory law
  Judicial ruling(s) overturning the same-sex marriage ban stayed indefinitely pending appeal
  Judicial ruling(s) overturning the ban on recognizing same-sex marriage performed elsewhere stayed indefinitely pending appeal
  Same-sex marriage banned contrary to federal appellate court precedent against the ban
  Same-sex marriage banned

1 Native American tribal jurisdictions have laws pertaining to same-sex marriage independent of state law.
2 A ruling striking down Florida's same-sex marriage ban has been stayed until January 5, 2015. A ruling striking down Wyoming's same-sex marriage ban has been temporarily stayed and is expected to be lifted on October 21, 2014, at 10 a.m. MDT.

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,[76] tribal council rulings,[77] and popular vote in statewide referenda.[78][79]

As of October 17, 2014, 31 states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin) and the District of Columbia issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions.

Missouri recognizes same-sex marriages established in other jurisdictions, but does not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.[80]

Tribal law[edit]

In the United States, federally recognized Native American tribes have the legal right to form their own marriage laws.[81] There are ten tribal jurisdictions that legally recognize same-sex marriage: the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes,[82] the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation,[83] the Coquille Tribe,[84] the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians,[85] the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe,[86] the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians,[87] the Puyallup tribe,[88] the Santa Ysabel Tribe,[89] the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe,[90] and the Suquamish tribe.[91] 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.

History[edit]

Early history[edit]

The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in 1971 that Minnesota's laws prohibiting marriages between same-sex partners did not violate the federal constitution. In 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider the case, Baker v. Nelson, "for want of a substantial federal question."

In April 1993, as part of the demonstrations surrounding the gay rights march in Washington, D.C., about 1,500 same-sex couples staged a mass wedding ceremony with "a dozen ministers, organ music, photographers and rice" at the National Museum of Natural History to call for marriage rights for gays and lesbians.[92]

In 1998, in response to the Hawaii Supreme Court's ruling in Baehr v. Miike, Hawaii voters approved a state constitutional amendment allowing their legislature to ban same-sex marriage.[93]

The next decade saw lasting change. In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Texas' "Homosexual Conduct" law in Lawrence v. Texas.[94] The ruling rendered unenforceable same-sex sodomy laws in Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri and broader sodomy laws in nine other states.[95]

On November 18, 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health that denying marriage rights to same-sex couples violated the state constitution.[96] Massachusetts became the first United States jurisdiction to license and recognize same-sex marriages beginning May 17, 2004.[97]

In February and March 2004, city officials in San Francisco issued marriage licenses to about 4000 same-sex couples before being ordered to stop by the California Supreme Court.[98] On February 20, 2004, the clerk in Sandoval County, New Mexico, issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples for a day until the state attorney general issued an opinion that they were "invalid under state law".[99] Similar actions occurred in New Paltz, New York (February 27); Multnomah County, Oregon (March 3); and Asbury Park, New Jersey (March 8).[100] On November 2, voters in eleven states–Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Utah–approved state constitutional amendments defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.[101]

On May 15, 2008, the Supreme Court of California issued a decision that legalized same-sex marriage in California, holding that California's existing opposite-sex definition of marriage violated the constitutional rights of same-sex couples.[102] To overturn the decision, opponents of same-sex marriage placed a state constitutional amendment on the November ballot.[103] Known as Proposition 8, it passed in November 2008, as did similar marriage-restriction amendments in Florida and Arizona.[104] Thus gay marriage started and stopped in California in 2008.

On August 4, 2010, a decision by the U.S. District Court in Perry v. Schwarzenegger ruled that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional.[105] 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.[106] The Supreme Court dismissed the case for lack of standing on June 26, 2013,[107] after which same-sex marriage once again became legal in California.[108] Same-sex marriages resumed on June 28, 2013.[109]

On October 10, 2008, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that the state's civil unions statute discriminated against same-sex couples and required the state to recognize same-sex marriages.[110] The following year, the state enacted gender-neutral marriage legislation.[111]

On April 3, 2009, a unanimous Iowa Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling in Varnum v. Brien that denying marriage rights to same-sex couples violated the state constitution,[112] and licenses became available on April 27.[113]

On December 18, 2009, the District of Columbia enacted legislation legalizing same-sex marriage[114] and same-sex marriage licenses became available on March 3, 2010.[115]

By 2009, New England became the center of an organized campaign to legalize same-sex marriage.[116] 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 was 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.[117] Nonetheless, the legislation was stayed pending a vote and never went into effect. It was repealed by referendum in November 2009.[76] On June 3, 2009, New Hampshire became the sixth state nationally to legalize same-sex marriage.[118] Rhode Island legalized same-sex marriage in 2013, the sixth and last state in that region to do so.

In September 2009, when several Democratic members of Congress proposed legislation to repeal DOMA, Barney Frank opposed the move because he thought its enactment impossible.[119] Nancy Pelosi had warned earlier in the year that the legislative calendar had no room for the issue.[120]

2010–2012[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.[121] Nineteen states banned any legal recognition of same-sex unions that would be equivalent to civil marriage.[122] Voters approved 28 out of 30 popular referenda in which states asked voters to adopt a constitutional amendment or initiative defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.[m] Arizonans voted down one such amendment in 2006,[123] but approved a different amendment to that effect in 2008.[124] In 2012, Minnesota became the second state to reject an amendment to its state constitution banning same-sex marriage.[125] A bill that would have legalized same-sex marriage in New Jersey was vetoed by Governor Chris Christie on February 17, 2012.[126]

Prior to the November 2012 election, Maryland recognized same-sex marriages formed in other jurisdictions, but did not license such marriages.[127] Similarly, New York did not issue marriage license to same-sex couples but its courts had mandated the recognition of same-sex marriages established elsewhere,[128] a situation which changed when its legislature legalized same-sex marriage 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.[129][130] North Carolina already prohibited same-sex marriages by statute.

In the regular November 2012 elections, voters for the first time approved the legalization of same-sex marriage by popular vote in three states: Maine, Maryland, and Washington. Maine's law took effect on December 29, 2012.[131] Maryland started allowing same-sex marriages on January 1, 2013,[132] In Washington state, the first licenses were distributed on December 6, with the first marriages on December 9 following the mandatory three day waiting period.[133][134] In the same election, Minnesota became the second state to reject a statewide constitutional ban against same-sex marriage by a popular vote.[135]

2013[edit]

Several jurisdictions 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.[77] Rhode Island enacted legislation on May 2, which took effect August 1;[136] Delaware enacted legislation on May 7, which took effect July 1;[137] and Minnesota enacted legislation on May 14, which took effect August 1.[138][139] 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 were unconstitutional, but his action was overruled by a state intermediate appellate court in September and he was ordered to cease issuing the licenses.[140]

New Jersey began issuing same-sex marriage licenses on October 21, 2013, following a September 27 state superior court decision that found an equal protection right of same-sex couples to marry.[141] Governor Chris Christie filed an appeal to the New Jersey Supreme Court, but withdrew it after the court declined to stay the lower court's ruling.[142]

In October and November 2013, 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.[143] 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.[144] 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.[145] 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.[146]

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[147] and Santa Fe County began issuing same-sex marriage licenses, the latter through a court order.[148][149][150][151][152] Although opponents filed for an injunction,[153] same-sex marriage expanded to a total of eight New Mexico counties.[154] On December 19, 2013, the state Supreme Court ruled unanimously that, effective immediately, same-sex marriage would be permitted throughout the state.[155]

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.[156] Salt Lake County began issuing marriage licenses immediately, followed by other counties.[157] 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.[16][158] The stay allowed Utah to reinstate its ban on same-sex marriage and deny state services to married same-sex couples.[159] 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.[160] The Tenth Circuit ordered the appeals process to be heard on an expedited basis[161]

2014[edit]

January–June[edit]

Recognition of same-sex unions in the United States*
  Same-sex marriage legal
  Same-sex marriage recognized but not performed
  Same-sex unions similar to marriage
  Government/court legalized or announced intention to legalize
  Same-sex marriage recognized by the federal government but not by the state or local governments
*Rings indicate case-by-case approval, recognition for partial rights, local/tribal application, and "rogue"/civil disobedience jurisdictions. Rings also include previous cases of performance/recognition that have not been invalidated. (Rings are placed in the center of each respective state).

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.[17] On January 23, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced that the state was reversing its position and supporting a federal lawsuit challenging the Virginia state constitution's ban on same-sex marriage.[162] On January 21, a three-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.[163] 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.[164] 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.[165]

On February 12, U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn declared Kentucky's refusal to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions unconstitutional.[166][167] On February 27, Judge Heyburn issued an order requiring the state to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions,[168] but the next day he stayed that order until March 20.[169] 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.[170] 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.[171]

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.[172]

On February 26, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia ruled in De Leon v. Perry that Texas's ban on same-sex marriage is an unconstitutional "state-imposed inequality".[173] He immediately stayed the effect of his ruling, pending an appeal. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said that he would appeal the ruling to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.[174]

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.[175] Several of the state's 102 county clerks began, or announced plans to begin, issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in March.[176]

On March 21, U.S. District Court Judge Bernard A. Friedman 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.[177] 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.[178] 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 in Wright v. Arkansas.[179] As the details of his ruling and requests for a stay were considered, approximately 450 same-sex marriage licenses were issued. The Arkansas Supreme Court stayed enforcement of his ruling pending appeal on May 16.[180]

On May 13, U.S. District Magistrate Judge Candy Dale in Latta v. Otter issued a ruling striking down Idaho's ban on marriage for same-sex couples. She ordered the state to allow same-sex couples to marry and to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions.[181] On May 20, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay pending appeal.[182]

On May 19, U.S. District judge Michael J. McShane ruled in Geiger v. Kitzhaber that Oregon's same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional.[183] Judge McShane ordered marriages to begin immediately.[184] 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.[184][185][186]

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 Whitewood v. Wolf.[187] Governor Tom Corbett said he will not appeal the court decision, effectively legalizing same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania.[188] 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.[189][190]

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.[191] No immediate injunction to stop enforcement of the ban was ordered,[192] and county clerks in at least 60 counties have begun to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.[193] 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.[194]

On June 25, 2014, the Tenth Circuit Court affirmed Judge Robert Shelby's ruling striking Utah's same-sex marriage ban.[195][196] It was the first time a federal appeals court recognized that same-sex couples have a fundamental right to marry.[196] The judgment was stayed pending review from the Supreme Court.[197][198] Boulder County in Colorado, a state in the Tenth Circuit's jurisdiction, began issuing licenses despite the stay until ordered by the Colorado Supreme Court to stop. The same day, a federal district court in Indiana ruled Indiana's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Judge Richard L. Young did not issue a stay on his ruling and instructed all state agencies to provide marital benefits to same-sex couples.[199] Two days later, the order was stayed by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals pending appeal.[200]

July–present[edit]

On July 9, 2014, a state judge struck down Colorado's same-sex marriage ban in Brinkman v. Long, staying the decision pending appeal.[201] A number of county clerks issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples on July 29, 2014, before an order from the Colorado Supreme Court halted the practice a month after a handful of county clerks had defied a ban in the State Constitution.[202] On July 23, in Burns v. Hickenlooper, U.S. District Judge Raymond P. Moore also ruled that Colorado's ban against same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. On August 21, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the enforcement of Burns pending action by the U.S. Supreme Court on petitions for certiorari in similar cases.

In July and August 2014, several state judges in Florida found the state constitution's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional; all their orders were stayed.[203][204] On August 21, 2014, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle made a similar ruling and stayed enforcement pending further appeals.[205] On July 28, 2014, the Fourth Circuit affirmed the unconstitutionality of Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage in Bostic v. Schaefer.[206] 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. On September 4, 2014, a three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed the unconstitutionality of Indiana and Wisconsin's bans on same-sex marriage in Baskin v. Bogan.[207] The Court stayed its decision before it took effect, pending action by U.S. Supreme Court.[208]

On October 6, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take action on all five cases it had been asked to consider from appellate courts in the Fourth, Seventh, and Tenth Circuits, allowing the circuit court decisions striking down marriage bans to stand.[209] The Tenth Circuit, lifting its stays in two cases that same day, ordered Oklahoma and Utah to recognize same-sex marriage, as did the Fourth Circuit for Virginia.[210] The stays in the Seventh Circuit's cases expired automatically with the Supreme Court's dismissal of the certiorari petitions, allowing its rulings that Indiana and Wisconsin must recognize same-sex marriage to take effect.[211][212] Same-sex marriage bans were expected to end in the six other states in those circuits that still banned same-sex marriage[213]–Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming–as courts implemented the rulings in their circuits, but officials in South Carolina, Wyoming, and Kansas said they would continue to defend their states' bans.[214] Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, by contrast, asked the Tenth Circuit to dismiss his appeal and lift its stay in Burns v. Hickenlooper. He asked the State Supreme Court to lift a stay preventing certain clerks from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Both courts lifted their stays on October 7, 2014, and Suthers ordered all county clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.[215] As of October 6, 2014, most Americans live in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage.[216]

On October 7, 2014, the Ninth Circuit ruled in two cases, overturning a district court in Nevada that had found that state's ban on same-sex marriage constitutional and affirming the decision of a district court in Idaho that had found that state's ban unconstitutional.[217] In the case of Idaho, it issued the lower court's order requiring Idaho to cease enforcing its ban on same-sex marriage immediately.[218] In the case of Nevada, the Ninth Circuit said it was ordering the district court in Nevada to issue a similar order with respect to that state.[219] In a joint statement, Nevada's Governor Brian Sandoval and Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto said the state would not appeal the decision. It said: "Same sex marriage is now law in Nevada".[220]

On October 8, 2014, Idaho officials asked that the Ninth Circuit allow enforcement of Idaho's same-sex marriage ban to continue while they sought rehearing en banc. They also asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stay implementation of the Ninth Circuit's decision while they sought rehearing by the Ninth Circuit or consideration by the Supreme Court. They cited a circuit split on the question of whether government actions that make distinctions on the basis of sexual orientation require review under the "heightened scrutiny" standard, to which few circuits have adopted.[221] Justice Anthony Kennedy granted an emergency stay,[222] which he withdrew when the full Supreme Court denied the stay request.[223] Idaho Governor Butch Otter announced the state would no longer attempt to preserve the state's denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples,[224] but Idaho sought another stay from the Ninth Circuit, which rejected the request on October 15.[225]

Also on October 8, 2014, the chief judge of the state district court for Johnson County, Kansas, the most populous in the state, directed the court's clerk to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.[226] The Kansas Supreme Court countermanded his order on October 10, but allowed the acceptance of applications for marriage licenses to continue.[227] Also on October 8, 2014, in South Carolina, some same-sex couples obtained marriage licenses,[228] but the South Carolina Supreme Court ordered a halt to their issuance the next day.[229]

On October 9, West Virginia Governor Ray Tomblin announced he was ordering state agencies to act in compliance with the recent decisions of federal courts on the unconstitutionality of same-sex marriage bans.[230] On October 10, District Court Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr., ruling in General Synod of the United Church of Christ v. Cooper, struck down North Carolina's ban on same-sex marriage, citing the Fourth Circuit's ruling in Bostic v. Schaefer.[231] Some North Carolina clerks began issuing marriage license to same-sex couple immediately.[232]

The ACLU filed a lawsuit, Marie v. Moser, in U.S. district court in Kansas on October 10 on behalf of two lesbian couples who had been refused marriage licenses in the last few days. The suit named as defendants Robert Moser, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and two district court clerks.[233]

On October 12, 2014, Judge Timothy M. Burgess ruled that Alaska's denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples is unconstitutional and issued an injunction to prevent state officials from continuing to enforce it.[41] Alaska Governor Sean Parnell immediately stated his intention to appeal the decision, and the head of the state Bureau of Vital Statistics said, "We expect our office will be busy tomorrow, (October 13) but we will make every effort to help customers as quickly as possible."[234]

On October 13, 2014, the Ninth Circuit lifted the stay it had imposed on May 20, 2014, in Latta v. Otter, allowing the district court decision to take effect, preventing further enforcement of Idaho's ban on same-sex marriage as of October 15, 2014.[235] Also on October 13, the Coalition for the Protection of Marriage asked the Ninth Circuit to rehear Sevcik en banc, charging that the Ninth Circuit's assignment of judges to cases that raise LGBT rights issues "did not result from a neutral judge-assignment process."[236]

On October 17, 2014, U.S. District Judge John W. Sedwick declared Arizona's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional and enjoined the state from enforcing its ban, effective immediately. Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne said the state would not appeal the ruling and instructed county clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.[237] On the same day, U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl ruled for the plaintiff same-sex couples in Wyoming in Guzzo v. Mead, but stayed enforcement of his ruling until 5 pm MDT on October 23 or until the defendants have informed the court that they will not appeal to the Tenth Circuit, whichever is first. Wyoming Attorney General Peter Michael said the state would inform the court that it will not appeal at 10 am MDT on October 21.[238]

Tables[edit]

States that license same-sex marriage[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 from other jurisdictions but do not license them.

States (and D.C.) with same-sex marriage
State or federal district Population[239] Date of Enactment/Ruling Date Effective Legalization method Details
1.  Massachusetts 6,692,824 November 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 → (Overturned by constitutional ban) 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.
August 4, 2010 June 28, 2013 Federal court decision → legislative statute 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 Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals 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.[109] Gender-neutral marriage bill passed by the California State Legislature and signed into law takes effect January 1, 2015.[240]
3.  Connecticut 3,596,080 October 10, 2008 November 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 September 1, 2009 Legislative statute Passed by the Vermont General Assembly, overriding Governor Jim Douglas' veto.
6.  New Hampshire 1,323,459 June 3, 2009 January 1, 2010 Legislative statute Passed by New Hampshire General Court.
 District of Columbia 646,449 December 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 November 6, 2012 December 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 December 29, 2012 Initiative statute Proposed by initiative as referendum Question 1, approved.
10.  Maryland 5,928,814 January 1, 2013 Legislative statute → referendum Civil Marriage Protection Act passed by the Maryland General Assembly; petitioned to referendum Question 6, upheld.
11.  Rhode Island 1,051,511 May 2, 2013 August 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 August 1, 2013 Legislative statute Passed by the Minnesota Legislature.
14.  New Jersey 8,899,339 September 27, 2013 October 21, 2013 State court decision New Jersey Superior Court ruling in Garden State Equality v. Dow; stay denied by that court; appeal abandoned by the governor.
15.  Hawaii 1,404,054 November 13, 2013 December 2, 2013 Legislative statute Hawaii Marriage Equality Act passed by Hawaii State Legislature.
16.  Illinois 12,882,135 November 20, 2013 June 1, 2014 Legislative statute Passed by the Illinois General Assembly.
17.  New Mexico 2,085,287 December 19, 2013 December 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. Not appealed 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. Not appealed by defendants.
20.  Utah 2,900,872 June 25, 2014 October 6, 2014 Federal court decision U.S. District Court for the District of Utah ruling in Kitchen v. Herbert. Marriages temporarily performed from December 20th, 2013 and January 6th, 2014 pending stay. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court ruling in Kitchen. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the appeal on October 6, 2014.[241]
21.  Oklahoma 3,814,820 July 18, 2014 October 6, 2014 Federal court decision U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma ruling in Bishop v. Smith. The Tenth Circuit affirmed the case as Bishop v. Smith on July 18, 2014.[242] The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the appeal on October 6, 2014.[241]
22.  Virginia 8,260,405 July 28, 2014 October 6, 2014 Federal court decision United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruling in Bostic v. Rainey.[243] The judgment affirmed the U.S. district court ruling in Bostic v. Schaefer.[206] The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the appeal on October 6, 2014.[241]
23.  Wisconsin 5,742,713 September 4, 2014 October 6, 2014 Federal court decision United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin ruling in Wolf v. Walker. Marriages temporarily performed from June 6th, 2014 and June 13th, 2014 pending stay. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court's ruling.[244] The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the appeal on October 6, 2014.[241]
24.  Indiana 6,570,902 September 4, 2014 October 6, 2014 Federal court decision United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana ruling in Baskin v. Bogan. Marriages temporarily performed from June 25th, 2014 and June 27th, 2014 pending stay. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court's ruling.[245] The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the appeal on October 6, 2014.[241]
25.  Colorado 5,268,367 July 9, 2014 October 7, 2014 State court decision State court ruling in Brinkman v. Long. Following the denial of certiorari in other same-sex marriage cases by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Colorado Supreme Court lifted its stay[246]
July 23, 2014 October 7, 2014 Federal court decision United States District Court for the District of Colorado ruling in Burns v. Hickenlooper. Following the denial of certiorari in other same-sex marriage cases by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted its stay.[247]
26.  Nevada 2,790,136 October 7, 2014 October 9, 2014 Federal court decision Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in Sevcik v. Sandoval. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the United States District Court for the District of Nevada's ruling.[248] Injunction issued two days after the ban was struck down.[249] State officials declined to appeal the ruling.[250]
27.  Idaho 1,612,136 October 7, 2014 October 15, 2014 Federal court decision United States District Court for the District of Idaho ruling in Latta v. Otter,[251] upheld by the Ninth Circuit on October 7, 2014.[252]
28.  West Virginia 1,854,304 October 9, 2014 October 9, 2014 Binding federal court decision → Actions of state officials Determination by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey to stop defending the state's same-sex marriage ban in court and apply the controlling precedent set by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Bostic v. Schaefer.[253]
29.  North Carolina 9,848,060 October 10, 2014 October 10, 2014 Federal court decision United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina ruling in General Synod of the United Church of Christ v. Cooper, citing the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Bostic v. Schaefer.[254]
30.  Alaska 735,132 October 12, 2014 October 17, 2014 Federal court decision United States District Court for the District of Alaska ruling in Hamby v. Parnell.[255]
31.  Arizona 6,626,624 October 17, 2014 October 17, 2014 Federal court decision United States District Court for the District of Arizona ruling in Connolly v. Jeanes and in Majors v. Horne .[256]
Total 193,610,468 (61.2% 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 denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples unconstitutional while staying enforcement of its ruling pending appeal.

States with stayed rulings for same-sex marriage
State Pop.[239] Ruled Stayed from Jurisdiction Court decision(s) Notes
1.  Texas 26,448,193 February 26, 2014 February 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.[257] The case is before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
2.  Michigan 9,895,622 March 21, 2014 March 22, 2014 U.S. Eastern District of Michigan DeBoer v. Snyder Same-sex marriages were performed in Michigan on March 22 before a temporary stay was issued that same day by Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.[258] The Sixth Circuit extended the stay indefinitely on March 25.[259] The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in DeBoer on August 6, 2014.[260]
3.  Arkansas 2,959,373 May 9, 2014 May 14, 2014 Arkansas Sixth Circuit, 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.[261][262]
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.[263] Licenses issued to same-sex couples again that day.[264] The state appealed to the Arkansas Supreme Court, which entered a stay on May 16, 2014.[265]
4.  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.[260]
5.  Florida 19,552,860 August 21, 2014 August 21, 2014 U.S. Northern District of Florida Brenner v. Armstrong Enforcement stayed in the initial ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert Lewis Hinkle in Brenner v. Scott.[266] On appeal the case is titled Brenner v. Armstrong and the first briefs are due in October.[267] The ruling is temporarily stayed and will expire 91 days after the Supreme Court denied cert of similar cases.
6.  Wyoming 582,658 October 17, 2014 October 17, 2014 U.S. District of Wyoming Guzzo v. Mead Enforcement temporarily stayed in the initial ruling by U.S. District Judge Scott W. Skavdahl until October 23, 2014, or until the state files notice stating it will not appeal.[268] The state will not appeal and will file a notice with the court to that effect.[269]
Total 63,834,001 (20.2% of the U.S. population)

Debate[edit]

Support[edit]

2011 protest in New Jersey by Garden State Equality in support of marriage equality and against deportation of LGBT spouses.

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.[270] Fernando Espuelas argues that same-sex marriage should be allowed because same-sex marriage extends a civil right to a minority group.[271] According to an American history scholar, Nancy Cott, "there really is no comparison, because there is nothing that is like marriage except marriage."[272]

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."[273]

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.[274][275][276][277][278][279][280] 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.[281]

Garden State Equality of New Jersey states that the wording "same-sex marriage" implies a separate, and therefore unequal, category of marriage.[282] The 2012 Democratic Party Platform used the term "marriage equality" in its support.[283]

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.[284][285][286] 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.[287]

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.[288] 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.[289]

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.[290] 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".[291] 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.[292][293][294][295] 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.[296] 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.[297][298] 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.[299]

The funding of the amendment referendum campaigns has been an issue of great dispute. Both judges[300][301] and the IRS[302] 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.[303]

Politicians and media figures[edit]

President Barack Obama interviewed by Robin Roberts of ABC's Good Morning America, in the Cabinet Room of the White House, May 9, 2012.

President Obama's views on same-sex marriage have varied over the course of his political career and become more consistently supportive of same-sex marriage rights over time. In the 1990s, he had supported same-sex marriage while campaigning for the Illinois Senate.[304][305] During the 2008 presidential campaign, he said: "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."[306] He opposed the 2008 California referendum that aimed at reversing a court ruling establishing same-sex marriage there.[307] In 2009, he opposed two opposing federal legislative proposals that would have banned or established same-sex marriage nationally, stating that each state had to decide the issue.[308][309] In December 2010, he expressed support for civil unions with rights equivalent to marriage and for federal recognition of same-sex relationships. He opposed a federal constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.[310] 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".[311] On May 9, 2012, President Obama became the first sitting president to say he believed that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry. He still said the legal question belonged to the states.[7][312] In October 2014, Obama told an interviewer that his view had changed:[313]

Ultimately, I think the Equal Protection Clause does guarantee same-sex marriage in all fifty states. But, as you know, courts have always been strategic. There have been times where the stars were aligned and the Court, like a thunderbolt, issues a ruling like Brown v. Board of Education, but that's pretty rare. And, given the direction of society, for the Court to have allowed the process to play out the way it has may make the shift less controversial and more lasting.

Former presidents Bill Clinton[314] and Jimmy Carter,[315] former vice presidents Dick Cheney[316] and Al Gore,[317] Walter Mondale[318] and current Vice President Joe Biden have voiced their support for legal recognition, as have former first ladies Laura Bush[319] and Hillary Clinton.[320] 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.[321] In May 2012, Barack Obama became the first sitting President to support same-sex marriage.[7] Fifteen U.S. senators announced their support in the spring of 2013.[322] By April 2013 a majority of the Senate had expressed support for same-sex marriage.[323] Senator Rob Portman of Ohio became the first sitting Republican senator to endorse same-sex marriage in March 2013,[324] followed by Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois in April,[325] Lisa Murkowski of Alaska in June,[326] and Susan Collins of Maine a year later.[327]

During the 2008 presidential election campaign, 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."[328]

When a U.S. district court invalidated the California referendum that ended same-sex marriages there in 2008, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said it showed "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".[329] By the end of 2012, Gingrich was prepared to accept civil—but not religious—same-sex marriages and encouraged the Republican Party to accept the fact of same-sex marriage was certain to become legal in more and more states.[330]

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?'"[331][332]

On his radio show in August 2010, Rush Limbaugh said: "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."[333]

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%.[334][335][336] Public support for same-sex marriage has grown at an increasing pace since the 1990s.[4] 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.[337] 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.[338] On May 20, 2011, Gallup reported majority support for same-sex marriage for the first time in the country.[339] 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."[340]

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.[341] 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."[342] Some commentators, however, have noted instances where polling data has understated voter opposition to referendums banning same-sex marriage.[343] One 2010 study concluded that "polls on gay marriage ballot initiatives generally under-estimate the opposition to gay marriage by about seven percentage points".[344]

Effects of same-sex marriage[edit]

Economic impact on same-sex couples[edit]

Until the Supreme Court's June 2013 ruling in United States v. Windsor required the federal government to treat legally married same-sex couples on an equal basis with heterosexual married couples, same-sex married couples faced severe disadvantages. The federal government did not recognize those marriages for any purpose. According to a 1997 General Accounting Office study, at least 1,049 U.S. federal laws and regulations include references to marital status.[345] A 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.'"[346] Many of these laws govern property rights, benefits, and taxation. Same-sex couples whose marriages are not recognized by the federal government are ineligible for spousal and survivor Social Security benefits and are ineligible for the benefits due the spouse of a federal government employee.[346] One study found that the difference in Social Security income for same-sex couples compared to opposite-sex married couples was US$5,588 per year.[347]

Compared to similarly situated opposite-sex married couples, same-sex couples faced the following financial and legal disadvantages:

  • 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[347]
  • A person can inherit an unlimited amount from a deceased spouse without incurring an estate tax, but is subject to taxes if inheriting from a same-sex partner[346]
  • 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[346][n]
  • Employer-provided health insurance coverage for a same-sex partner incurred federal income tax[346]
  • 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[347]
  • Inability to protect jointly owned home from loss due to costs of potential medical catastrophe[347]
  • Inability of a U.S. citizen to sponsor a same-sex spouse for citizenship[347]

Some 7,400 companies were offering spousal benefits to same-sex couples as of 2008. In states that recognized same-sex marriages, same-sex couples could continue to receive those same benefits only if they married.[349] Only 18% of private employers offered domestic partner health care benefits.[347]

Same-sex couples face the same financial constraints of legal marriage as opposite-sex married couples, including the marriage penalty in taxation.[346] 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.[346]

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.[346]

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.[281]

Several psychological studies[350][351][352] 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.[353]

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.[354]

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.[355]

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.[356][357] 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.[358]

Case law[edit]

United States case law regarding same-sex marriage:

1970s[edit]

  • Baker v. Nelson, 191 N.W.2d 185 (Minn. 1971). Upholds a Minnesota law defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
  • Jones v. Hallahan, 501 S.W.2d 588 (Ky. 1973). Upholds 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 specify the gender of marriage partners.[359]
  • Singer v. Hara, 522 P.2d 1187 (Wash. Ct. App. 1974). A ban on same-sex marriage is a constitutional form of "gender discrimination"; the historical definition of marriage is between one man and one woman, and 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. A 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). A same-sex couples can not divorce because they can not form a common law marriage.[360]

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). A statute limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples violates the Hawaii constitution's equal-protection clause unless the state can show that the statute is both justified by compelling state interests and also narrowly tailored. This ruling prompted the adoption of Hawaii's constitutional amendment allowing the legislature to restrict marriage to different-sex couples and the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
  • Dean v. District of Columbia, 653 A.2d 307 (D.C. 1995). DC does not authorise same-sex marriage; denial of a marriage license does not violate the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution.
  • 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 in 2008.
  • In re Estate of Hall, 707 N.E.2d 201, 206 (Ill. App. Ct. 1998). Illinois does not recognize a same-sex marriage. The petitioner's claim to be in a same-sex marriage was not in a marriage recognized by law.
  • Baker v. Vermont, 170 Vt. 194; 744 A.2d 864 (Vt. 1999). The Common Benefits Clause of the state constitution requires that same-sex couples be granted the same legal rights as married persons, though it need not be called marriage.

2000s[edit]

  • Rosengarten v. Downes, 806 A.2d 1066 (Conn. Ct. App. 2002). Connecticut will not dissolve a Vermont civil union.
  • Burns v. Burns, 560 S.E.2d 47 (Ga. Ct. App. 2002). Marriage is the union of one man and one woman.
  • Frandsen v. County of Brevard, 828 So. 2d 386 (Fla. 2002). The Florida constitution will not be construed to recognize same-sex marriage; sex classifications not subject to strict scrutiny under the Florida constitution.
  • In re Estate of Gardiner, 42 P.3d 120 (Kan. 2002). A post-operative transgender woman, registered as male at birth certificate, may not marry a cisgender man, because the former is still male in the eyes of the law, and Kansas only recognizes the marriage of a man and a woman.
  • Standhardt v. Superior Court ex rel. County of Maricopa, 77 P.3d 451 (Ariz. Ct. App. 2003) The constitution of Arizona does not provide the right to same-sex marriage.
  • Morrison v. Sadler, 2003 WL 23119998 (Ind. Super. Ct. 2003). Indiana's Defense of Marriage Act is valid.
  • Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health, 798 N.E.2d 941 (Mass. 2003). The denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples violated provisions of the state constitution guaranteeing individual liberty and equality, and it was not rationally related to a legitimate state interest.
  • Citizens for Equal Protection v. Bruning, 455 F.3d 859 (8th Cir. 2006). 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.[361]
  • Lewis v. Harris, 908 A.2d 196 (N.J. 2006). Prohibiting same-sex marriage does not violate the New Jersey constitution, but the state must extend all the rights and responsibilities of marriage to same-sex couples. The legislature has 180 days 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). The New York State Constitution does not require that marriage rights be extended to same-sex couples.[362]
  • Langan v. St. Vincent's Hospital, 802 N.Y.S.2d 476 (App. Div. 2005). For the purposes of New York's wrongful death statute the survivor partner from a Vermont civil union lacks standing as a "spouse".
  • Conaway v. Deane, 932 A.2d 571 (Md. 2007). Upholds a Maryland law defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
  • Martinez v. County of Monroe, 850 N.Y.S.2d 740 (App. Div. 2008). Because New York recognizes the marriages of opposite-sex couples from other jurisdictions, it must do the same for same-sex couples.[363])
  • In re Marriage Cases, 183 P.3d 384 (Cal. 2008). Limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples is invalid under the equal protection clause of the California Constitution. Full marriage rights, not merely domestic partnership, must be offered to same-sex couples.[364]
  • Strauss v. Horton, 207 P.3d 48 (Cal. 2009). Proposition 8 was validly adopted, and marriages contracted before its adoption remain valid.[365]
  • Varnum v. Brien, 763 N.W.2d 862 (Iowa 2009). Barring same-sex couples from marriage 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]

Challenges to DOMA Section 3
California Proposition 8
  • Hollingsworth v. Perry (2009–2013). California's Proposition 8, a voter-endorsed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, is found unconstitutional in U.S. district court in Perry v. Schwarzenegger. The proposition's backers appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which upholds the district court's finding of unconstitutionality in Perry v. Brown. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the proposition's backers lacked standing to appeal and left the district court ruling intact.[367]
Same-sex marriage rights
  • Christiansen v. Christiansen. On June 6, 2011, the Supreme Court of Wyoming grants a divorce to two women who married in Canada, but says its decision does not apply "in any context other than divorce".[368]
  • Port v. Cowan (2010–2012). Maryland must recognize valid out-of-state same-sex marriages under doctrine of comity.[369]
  • 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 the state defendants drop their appeal.
  • Griego v. Oliver, 316 P.3d 865 (N.M. 2013). the New Mexico Supreme Court rules that the state constitution requires marriage rights to be extended to same-sex couples.
  • 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.[370]
  • Whitewood v. Wolf (Pennsylvania). On May 20, 2014, Judge John E. Jones III rules that Pennsylvania's same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional.[371]
  • Geiger v. Kitzhaber and Rummell v. Kitzhaber (Oregon). On May 19, 2014, District Judge Michael J. McShane declares Oregon's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional.[372]
  • Bostic v. Schaefer (Virginia). The Fourth Circuit on July 28, 2014, in a 2–1 decision, affirms a district court ruling that Virginia's denial of marriage righst to same-sex couples is unconstitutional.[373] The Supreme Court denied review on October 6.[374]
  • Baskin v. Bogan (Indiana) and Wolf v. Walker (Wisconsin). The Seventh Circuit consolidated these cases and on September 4, 2014, upheld two district court rulings that had found Indiana's and Wisconsin's bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.[375] The U.S. Supreme Court denied review on October 6.[374]
  • Bishop v. Smith (Oklahoma). On July 18, 2014, the Tenth Circuit upholds the district court ruling that Oklahoma's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.[376] The Supreme Court denied review on October 6.[374]
  • Kitchen v. Herbert (Utah). U.S. district court, 961 F. Supp. 2d 1181 (2013), rules the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals upholds that ruling upheld on June 25, 2014. All parties support review by the U.S. Supreme Court, and that court denied review on October 6.[374]
  • Latta v. Otter (Idaho) and Sevcik v. Sandoval (Nevada). In a single decision on October 7, 2014, the Ninth Circuit rules that Idaho's and Nevada's bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. It applies that circuit's recent ruling that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is subject to heightened scrutiny review.[377]
  • General Synod of the United Church of Christ v. Cooper (North Carolina). On April 28, 2014, the United Church of Christ, joined by a coalition of Baptists and Lutherans, filed a lawsuit[378] arguing that North Carolina is unconstitutionally restricting religious freedom by criminalizing its clergy members for blessing same-sex marriages.[379] On July 28, 2014, following the ruling by the Fourth Circuit of Appeals in Bostic that Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, Attorney General Roy Cooper announced he would stop defending North Carolina's same-sex marriage ban.[380] On October 10, District Court Judge Max O. Cogburn ruled the state's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.[381]
  • Barrier v. Vasterling (Missouri). State Circuit Judge J. Dale Youngs rules on October 3, 2014, that Missouri's refusal to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions violates the plaintiff same-sex couples' right to equal protection under both the state and federal constitutions.[382]

In litigation[edit]

Litigation against Same-sex marriage bans in the United States
  SSM legal
  Judicial ruling against a SSM ban or ban on SSM recognition, 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 state and federal courts to challenge same-sex marriage bans in every state that prohibits the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples or the recognition of same-sex marriages performed elsewhere,[383] as well as in Puerto Rico.

U.S. Supreme Court[edit]

On October 6, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari in all the cases it had been asked to consider from appellate courts in the Fourth, Seventh, and Tenth Circuits, allowing the circuit court decisions striking down marriage bans to stand. The cases were: Bogan v. Baskin (Indiana); Walker v. Wolf (Wisconsin); Herbert v. Kitchen (Utah); McQuigg v. Bostic (Virginia); Rainey v. Bostic (Virginia); Schaefer v. Bostic (Virginia); and Smith v. Bishop (Oklahoma).[209]

Courts of Appeals[edit]

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

Fifth Circuit[edit]

Robicheaux v. Caldwell (Louisiana)
A marriage recognition case, filed in July 2013, was later joined by plaintiffs from another case, refiled with additional defendants, and titled Robicheaux v. Caldwell. Oral arguments on the recognition of marriages from other jurisdictions were held on June 25, 2014, before U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman, who scheduled further briefing on the broader question of the state's ban on same-sex marriage.[384] On September 3, Judge Feldman ruled against the plaintiffs, upholding Louisiana's ban on same-sex marriage.[385] Plaintiffs appealed, and on September 25, U.S. Circuit Judge Jerry Edwin Smith set an expedited briefing schedule to allow the case to be heard by the same panel and at the same time as a similar Texas case, De Leon v. Perry.[386] Briefing is scheduled to conclude on November 7.[387]
De Leon v. Perry (Texas)
Filed on October 28, 2013; preliminary injunction granted in U.S. district court on February 26, 2014. The district judge issued a stay pending appeal.[388] Circuit Judge James E. Graves, Jr. denied without comment the plaintiffs motion for an expedited hearing of the appeal on May 21.[389] He approved expedited oral argument on October 7.[390]

Sixth Circuit[edit]

All four states under the jurisdiction of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals have a same-sex marriage case under appeal in that court. The Sixth Circuit heard oral arguments in these cases (DeBoer, Obergefell and Henry, Bourke and Love, and Tanco) on August 6, 2014.[391]

DeBoer v. Snyder (Michigan)
Filed on January 23, 2012; the U.S. district court found that the state ban violates the equal protection clause, 973 F. Supp. 2d 757 (E.D. Mich.) and issued a permanent injunction against enforcement of the state's same-sex marriage ban on March 21, 2014. The Sixth Circuit issued a stay pending appeal, on a 2–1 vote agreed to expedite the appeal, and denied the state's petition for an initial hearing en banc.[392]
Obergefell v. Himes and Henry v. Himes (Ohio)
In a case filed on July 19, 2013, Obergefell v. Wymyslo, the U.S. district court found that the state ban on same-sex marriage violates the due process clause, for the limited purpose of issuing death certificates. On February 10, 2014, four same-sex couples legally married in other states filed suit in U.S. district court asking that Ohio be required to record the names of both same-sex parents on their children's birth certificates. They amended their suit to challenge the state's denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples. On April 14, 2014, District Court Judge Timothy Black, ruling in Henry v. Himes, wrote that "Ohio's marriage recognition bans are facially unconstitutional and unenforceable under any circumstance". He ordered the state to record the plaintiffs' names on their children's birth certificates, but stayed further enforcement of his decision pending appeal. On May 29, 2014, the Sixth Circuit consolidated Obergefell and Henry.[393] Henry is currently on appeal in the Sixth Circuit, which heard oral argument on August 6.
Bourke v. Beshear and Love v. Beshear (Kentucky)
Filed on July 26, 2013; the U.S. district court found the state's refusal to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions an unconstitutional violation of the equal protection clause and stayed enforcement of its decision during appeal. After additional plaintiffs joined the lawsuit to challenge the state's denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples, the court divided the case. Love continued in district court as to the state marriage license issue, while the out-of-state recognition issue was appealed.[394] On July 1, 2014, U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II found in favor of the intervening plaintiffs and ruled that Kentucky's denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples violates the equal protection clause. He found that homosexual persons constitute a suspect class deserving heightened scrutiny and suggested the Sixth Circuit should adopt that standard of review. He found Kentucky's ban did not withstand even rational basis review.[395] He stayed his ruling pending appeal. The Sixth Circuit consolidated Love v. Beshear with Bourke v. Beshear.
Tanco v. Haslam (Tennessee)
Filed on October 21, 2013; the U.S. district court granted a preliminary injunction on March 14, 2014, after finding the equal protection analysis in Bourke persuasive. The injunction required Tennessee to recognize the three plaintiff same-sex couples' out-of-state marriages until the court disposes of the case; it also indicated 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 granted a stay at the request of the state defendants and ordered expedited assignment to a panel of judges for consideration on the merits.[396]

Eleventh Circuit[edit]

Brenner v. Armstrong (Florida)
Two same-sex marriage cases, Brenner v. Scott and Grimsley v. Scott, were consolidated on April 21, 2014. On August 21, 2014, U.S. District Judge Robert Lewis Hinkle found that the state's constitutional and statutory bans on same-sex marriage violate the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses. He stayed enforcement of a preliminary injunction that would have prevented Florida from enforcing its bans.[397][398] The state defendants have appealed the case, now Brenner v. Armstrong, to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals and their first brief is due by October 15.[399] On October 7, the plaintiffs in both district court cases asked the district court to lift its stay, following the U.S. Supreme Court's action the previous day that allowed several decisions invalidating state bans on same-sex marriage to take effect.[400][401]

Federal district courts[edit]

Alabama
Searcy v. Bentley
Plaintiffs filed on May 7, 2014, seeking recognition of their out-of-state marriage and step-parent adoption for their minor daughter. In mid-June, attorneys for the same-sex couple filed a motion for summary judgment; the state defendants have filed a motion to dismiss.[402]
Hard v. Bentley
A plaintiff filed suit on February 13, 2014, asking to be listed on his deceased partner's death certificate as surviving spouse.[403]
Aaron-Brush v. Bentley
A plaintiff couple filed their suit on June 10, 2014, seeking recognition of their out-of-state marriage.[404]
Arkansas
Jernigan v. Crane
Same-sex marriage case filed in Little Rock on July 15, 2013. On July 16, 2014 attorneys for the plaintiffs asked for a summary judgment of the case.[405][406] A hearing is scheduled for November 20 before Judge Kristine G. Baker.[407]
Georgia
Inniss v. Aderhold
Same-sex marriage class-action lawsuit filed on April 22, 2014 in Atlanta.[408] District Court Judge William S. Duffey Jr. is considering the defendants' motion to dismiss.[409]
Kansas
Marie v. Moser
The ACLU filed a lawsuit, Marie v. Moser, in U.S. district court in Kansas on October 10, 2014, on behalf of two lesbian couples who had been refused marriage licenses. The suit named as defendants Robert Moser, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and two district court clerks.[233] A hearing has been scheduled for October 24 before Judge Daniel D. Crabtree.[410]
Michigan
Blankenship v. Snyder
Two women married in New York asked the court to order Michigan to recognize their marriage to allow the second-parent adoption of their children–one adopted, the other conceived via in vitro fertilization. Their complaint was filed on June 5, 2014; they had previously sought to intervene in DeBoer v. Snyder, another Michigan case before the Sixth Circuit.[411]
Mississippi
Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant
The Campaign for Southern Equality and two lesbian couples filed suit in federal district court on October 20, 2014, challenging Mississippi's statutory and constitutional denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples. Each of the couples is raising two children and one couple was previously married in Maine. Defendants are the governor and attorney general, and the Hinds County circuit clerk who denied a marriage license to one of the plaintiff couples.[412] The case has been assigned to Judge Carlton W. Reeves.
Missouri
Lawson and Dahlgren v. Kelly
Lawson was filed by the ACLU in state circuit court on June 24, 2014, on behalf of two same-sex couples who had been denied marriage licenses.[413] Attorney General Chris Koster intervened and had the case moved to federal court.[414] The case has been assigned to District Judge Ortrie Smith.
Montana
Rolando v. Fox
Same-sex marriage case filed in Great Falls on May 21, 2014.[415] On October 15, citing the recent decision of the Ninth Circuit in Latta, the plaintiffs asked the court for summary judgment.[416]
North Dakota
Ramsay v. Dalrymple
On June 6, 2014, private counsel filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in North Dakota on behalf of six same-sex couples married in other jurisdictions and one unmarried same-sex couple that challenged the state's ban on same-sex marriage.[417]
Puerto Rico
Conde v. Padilla
Same-sex marriage lawsuit filed in San Juan in late March 2014.[418]
South Carolina
Bradacs v. Haley
On April 22, 2014, proceedings in this same-sex marriage case were stayed until the resolution of Bostic v. Shaefer. A day after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider Bostic, the district court asked the parties to develop a briefing schedule.[419] Briefing is to be completed in mid-November.[420] The plaintiffs filed a motion for summary judgment on October 20.[421]
Condon v. Haley
On October 15, 2014, a lesbian couple represented by Lambda Legal and South Carolina Equality filed suit in federal district court seeking the right to marry, citing Bostic. The defendants include the governor, the attorney general, and Judge Irvin G. Condon, the state judge who was enjoined from licensing same-sex marriages a week earlier by the South Carolina Supreme Court.[422]
South Dakota
Rosenbrahn v. Daugaard
Five plaintiff couples, who filed suit on May 22, 2014, 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.[423][424]
Wyoming
Guzzo v. Mead
On October 7, 2014, four same-sex couples and Wyoming Equality filed a lawsuit in federal court asking for an immediate order to end the state's denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples. They are represented by private attorneys and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.[425] U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl ruled for the plaintiffs on October 17[426] and his ruling is scheduled to take effect on October 21 at 10 am MDT when the state informs the court it will not appeal his ruling.[427]

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 term used may be county court, circuit court, district court, or superior court.

Arkansas: Wright v. Arkansas

A circuit court judge issued a ruling on May 9, 2014, striking down the state constitution's same-sex marriage ban.[428] On May 15, 2014, the judge clarified his order, striking down the statutory ban as well. The next day the Arkansas Supreme Court stayed enforcement of his ruling pending appeal.[429] On October 7, the plaintiffs filed a petition for summary judgment citing actions by the U.S. Supreme Court the day before and asking for oral arguments to be scheduled.[430]

Florida: Pareto v. Ruvin and Huntsman v. Heavilin

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; all parties have asked this court to pass the consolidated cases directly to the Florida Supreme Court.[431]

Kansas: Nelson v. Kan. Dep't of Revenue

Same-sex marriage recognition case filed in state district court, where the plaintiffs are seeking recognition of their out-of-state marriage licenses for the purpose of filing a joint state income tax return.[432][433]

Louisiana: In Re Costanza and Brewer

A lesbian couple who married in California sought to have their marriage recognized for the purpose of adoption. On February 5, 2014, Judge Edward Rubin ruled in for the plaintiffs in In Re Costanza and Brewer and authorized the adoption in a separate action,[434] without ruling on their challenge to Louisiana's ban on same-sex marriage. On September 22, Rubin found Louisiana's ban an unconstitutional violation of the equal protection, the due process, and the full faith and credit clauses of the U.S. Constitution.[36] He ordered the state to allow the plaintiffs to file a joint state income tax return and to allow their adoption to proceed. He enjoined the state from enforcing laws that "prohibit a person from marrying a person of the same sex".[435] State officials announced plans to appeal directly to the Louisiana Supreme Court[36] and he stayed enforcement of his ruling.[436]

Mississippi: Czekala-Chatham v. Melancon

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 was scheduled to conclude July 23, 2014.

Nebraska Nichols v. Nichols

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.[437] On June 13, 2014 the Nebraska Supreme Court dismissed the appeal saying it did not have jurisdiction, as the district court never issued a final order (Nichols, 288 Neb. 339). The trial judge and plaintiff are discussing the possibility of entering a proper final order, which could then be appealed.[438]

Texas: In re Marriage of J.B. and H.B.

A state district court granted a same-sex couple the divorce they filed for in 2009 and ruled the state's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional as applied to this case. The Texas Courts of Appeals ruled that district courts do not have jurisdiction in such matters and reversed the decision. The Texas Supreme Court heard oral arguments were held on November 5, 2013.

Texas: In the Matter of the Marriage of A.L.F.L. and K.L.L.

On February 18, 2014, a same-sex couple, married in Washington D.C., filed a lawsuit for divorce and child custody.[439] On April 23, 2014, a state district court judge found Section 32 of the Texas Constitution and three portions of the Texas Family Code unconstitutional.[440] On April 25, 2014, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott intervened to appeal the decision, and on May 28, 2014, the appellate court directed the district court to vacate its order because the state had not been notified that the plaintiffs were challenging the state constitution and statutes.[citation needed]

Wyoming: Courage v. Wyoming

Same-sex marriage case filed in state district court on March 5, 2014. The plaintiffs filed a motion for summary judgment on July 1, 2014. Briefs due November 17 and arguments are scheduled for December 15.[441]

See also[edit]

Legislation
Organizations
Miscellaneous

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ These states are Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.[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. ^ Missouri
  4. ^ In Tanco v. Haslam, a U.S. district court ordered Tennessee to recognize the same-sex marriages of three plaintiff couples, but the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals stayed that order. In Czekala-Chatham v. Melancon, a lesbian couple asks Mississippi to recognize their California marriage so they can divorce. There are two such divorce cases being litigated in Texas. In Hard v. Bentley, a man asks Alabama to recognize him as a widower as part of a wrongful death suit.
  5. ^ Utah,[16] Oklahoma,[17] Virginia,[18] Texas,[19] Michigan,[20] Idaho,[21] Oregon,[22] Pennsylvania,[23] Wisconsin,[24] Indiana,[25] Kentucky,[26] Colorado,[27] Florida,[28] North Carolina,[29] Alaska,[30] and Wyoming.[31]
  6. ^ Wright v. Arkansas (Arkansas),[32] In re Marriage of J.B. and H.B. and In the Matter of the Marriage of A.L.F.L. and K.L.L. (Texas),[33] Brinkman v. Long (Colorado),[34] Pareto v. Ruvin and Huntsman v. Heavilin (Florida)[35] and In Re Costanza and Brewer (Louisiana)[36]
  7. ^ Robicheaux v. Caldwell (Louisiana)[37]
  8. ^ Borman v. Pyles-Borman (Tennessee)
  9. ^ Obergefell v. Himes (Ohio)[38]
  10. ^ Barrier v. Vasterling (Missouri)[39]
  11. ^ Among many examples: (1) the U.S. District Court ruling in Bourke v. Beshear, which required Kentucky to recognize same-sex marriages from Canada and several U.S. states, was decided on equal protection grounds alone. The plaintiffs had claimed that Kentucky's ban violated the full faith and credit clause, but the court found it unnecessary to address that argument.[46] and (2) the plaintiffs in Robicheaux v. Caldwell, who sought Louisiana's recognition of their out-of-state marriages, argued only on the basis of equal protection and due process. One of the Louisiana statutes they challenged made clear the state's assertion of its right to deny recognition to the legal act of another state: "A purported marriage between persons of the same sex violates a strong public policy of the state of Louisiana". (emphasis added) [47]
  12. ^ Other cases that sought review by the U.S. Supreme Court were Golinski v. Office of Personnel Management, Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, Massachusetts v. United States Department of Health and Human Services, and Pedersen v. Office of Personnel Management.[57][58][59]
  13. ^ 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
  14. ^ In early 2013 the IRS recognized the community property and income of same-sex partners in community property states.[348]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Same-Sex Marriage Laws". National Conference of State Legislatures. October 16, 2014. Retrieved January 1, 2014. 
  2. ^ Gumbel, Andrew. "The Great Undoing?". The Advocate. Retrieved July 9, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Same Sex Marriage Laws – History". National Conference of State Legislatures. Retrieved August 1, 2012. 
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ Silver, Nate (May 9, 2012). "Support for Gay Marriage Outweighs Opposition in Polls". New York Times. Retrieved October 28, 2012. 
  6. ^ Belluck, Oam (May 17, 2004). "With Festive Mood, Gay Weddings Begin in Massachusetts". New York Times. Retrieved January 11, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c Staff, ABC News (May 9, 2012). "Obama Affirms Support for Same-Sex Marriage". ABC News. Retrieved March 20, 2013. 
  8. ^ Wilson, Charles D. (July 1, 2014). "Court orders Indiana to recognize 1 gay marriage". Bigstory.ap.org. Retrieved August 21, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Indiana recognizes 2nd same-sex marriage". USA Today. Retrieved September 12, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Court orders Arizona to recognize one same-sex marriage". Washington Post. Retrieved September 12, 2014. 
  11. ^ Stutzman, Rene (August 21, 2014). "Tallahassee federal judge throws out Florida's ban on same-sex marriage". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved October 9, 2014. 
  12. ^ Snow, Justin (April 16, 2014). "Federal judge grants partial stay in Ohio marriage-ban ruling". Metro Weekly. Retrieved October 6, 2014. 
  13. ^ Duret, Daphne (August 5, 2014). "Palm Beach County judge declares gay marriage ban unconstitutional". Palm Beach Post. Retrieved September 6, 2014. 
  14. ^ Bzdek, Vincent (December 23, 2013). "Ohio’s ban on gay marriage ruled unconstitutional in limited case". Washington Post. Retrieved October 6, 2014. 
  15. ^ Barron, Joan (June 7, 2011). "Wyoming Supreme Court reverses same-sex divorce ruling". Casper Star Tribune. Retrieved September 30, 2014. 
  16. ^ a b Watkins, Tom (December 20, 2013). "In Utah, judge's ruling ignites same-sex marriage frenzy". CNN. Retrieved December 23, 2013. 
  17. ^ a b Brandes, Heide (January 14, 2014). "U.S. judge rules Oklahoma gay marriage ban unconstitutional". Chicago Tribune. Reuters. Retrieved January 15, 2014. 
  18. ^ Simpson, Ian (February 14, 2014). "Federal judge strikes down Virginia's ban on gay marriage". Reuters. Retrieved February 27, 2014. 
  19. ^ Calkins, Laurel (February 27, 2014). "Texas Gay-Marriage Ban Held Illegal as Judge Delays Order". Bloomberg. Retrieved February 27, 2014. 
  20. ^ "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. 
  21. ^ Staff reports (May 13, 2014). "Federal court strikes down Idaho gay marriage ban". LGBTQ Nation. Retrieved May 13, 2014. 
  22. ^ Mears, Bill; Shoichet, Catherine (May 19, 2014). "Federal judge strikes down Oregon's same-sex marriage ban". CNN. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  23. ^ Williams, Pete (May 20, 2014). "Judge Strikes Down Pennsylvania Same-Sex Marriage Ban". NBCNews.com. Retrieved May 20, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Judge strikes down Wisconsin same-sex marriage ban". USA Today. Associated Press. June 6, 2014. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  25. ^ Javier Panzar (June 25, 2014). "Judge strikes down Indiana's ban on gay marriage". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 20, 2014. 
  26. ^ Wolfson, Andrew (July 1, 2014). "Gays have right to marry in Kentucky, judge rules". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
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