List of U.S. state laws on same-sex unions
||It has been suggested that this article be merged with Same-sex marriage law in the United States by state. (Discuss) Proposed since June 2014.|
Same-sex unions have been on the political radar in the United States since the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled in 1993 that denying marriage licenses to same-sex partners violated the Hawaii constitution unless there is a "compelling state interest." Since Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004, other states have redefined their own marriage laws, both for and against same-sex marriage.
This article tracks the status of those laws. It is intended only as a resource for the bottom line current legal status of same-sex unions right now regardless of pending litigation. [clarification needed] See same-sex marriage legislation in the United States for the outcome of specific legislation and same-sex marriage law in the United States by state for detailed descriptions.
Marriage is defined as the union of two U.S. citizens by the federal government as of 26 June 2013.
The federal government recognizes all legally performed same-sex marriages, regardless of the current state or territory of residence.
As of 17 October 2014, 31 U.S. states and the District of Columbia allow and fully recognize same-sex marriages.
- Missouri, where legal same-sex marriages performed elsewhere are recognized;
- Wyoming, where a U.S. District court has issued a preliminary injunction striking down the ban, but has stayed the order until 5 PM (MDT) on 23 October 2014, or, until notice is received that there will be no appeal;
- Florida, where the stay on the order overturning the ban will expire on 5 January 2015 without further legal action;
- 4 states (Arkansas, Kentucky, Michigan, and Texas), where an order overturning the ban has been indefinitely stayed, pending action by a higher court; 2 of these states have a number of same-sex couples in a legal limbo, as they were married legally between the overturning of the ban, and the issuance of a judicial stay;
- Ohio, where an order that the state recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages has been stayed, pending action by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals;
- 3 states (Kansas, Montana, and South Carolina) subject to Circuit Court of Appeals precedents;
- 2 states (Louisiana and Tennessee) where non-statewide pro same-sex marriage rulings have been stayed.
As of 6 June 2014, all remaining state bans on same-sex marriage were being challenged in state or federal court. In keeping with the purpose of this article, cases will only be cited when there is a relevant ruling, or an unusual filing.
Currently, 8 U.S. states allow two persons of any gender to engage in a marriage-like contract called a "domestic partnership" or "civil union" that is recognized by the respective state, but not the federal government. These unions may or may not allow equal access to the civil rights afforded to married couples in the respective state.
Many cities and counties in the United States also have municipal-level domestic partnership registries.
Below is the status of the law in each of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia.
- The Marriage restricted to opposite-sex couples only column tells whether that state contains any statutes or constitutional language that defines marriage as between a man and a woman or otherwise bans same-sex marriages.
- The Constitution sub-column gives links to the constitutional amendment story, if existing.
- The Statute leads to the corresponding section of Same-sex marriage legislation in the United States by state to afford full legislation about constitution and statutes. (Under construction, if not afforded, see HRC and Domawatch links below that page).
- The other links (licenses - Civil unions status - domestic partnership status - provides for appropriate page denominations according to marriage - civil unions - domestic partnership and shows the existing pages if the link is active. Civil unions denomination is left in the plural form because it is the rule used for other countries (see Category:Marriage, unions and partnerships by country below )
- The details for the marriage recognition (Recogn.) are to be found with the marriage license link when active. Since constitutional bans are more difficult to overturn, the marriage license and recognition columns have been merged in such cases for relevant states.
- The blue shading indicates what is allowed.
- The khaki shading indicates that an order overturning a state-wide ban is under appeal.
- The green shading indicates that the state-wide ban is at risk from a stayed Circuit Court of Appeals ruling.
- The clock symbol, , indicates that arguments have been heard, and the parties are awaiting a court ruling.
- The notes column gives better detail and recent possibilities.
|Restricted to opposite-sex couples only by||Result for same sex-marriages||Civil Unions||Domestic
|Arkansas||Yes||Yes||Banned, pending final disposition of Arkansas Circuit Court decision||Banned||Banned||In Wright v. State of Arkansas, an Arkansas Circuit Court has ruled that the 2004 amendment that defined marriage as only allowable between a man and a woman, and related statutes, are unconstitutional. The order has been stayed pending review by the Arkansas Supreme Court.|
|Connecticut||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||Civil unions were available between 2005 and 2010. All existing civil unions converted into civil marriages on October 1, 2010.|
|Delaware||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||Civil unions were available between 2012 and 2013. All existing civil unions converted into civil marriages on July 1, 2014.|
|District of Columbia||N/A||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Florida||Yes||Yes||Banned, pending dissolution of stay||Banned||Banned||A Federal District Court has ruled that Florida's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, but the order has been stayed, pending appeal, except in the case of one death certificate. If no further action is taken, the stay will expire on January 5, 2015.
Four Florida County Circuit Courts have ruled that the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The orders have been stayed pending appeal, and only apply to Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties.
|Kansas||Yes||Yes||Banned - See Note||Banned||Banned||Kansas is subject to the precedents set when the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Kitchen v. Herbert and Bishop v. Oklahoma.
The Kansas Supreme Court has issued an order to prevent the issuing and recognition of same-sex marriage licences, pending a hearing on November 6, 2014.
|Kentucky||Yes||Yes||Banned, pending final disposition of U.S. District Court decision||Banned||Banned||In Love v. Beshear, the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky ruled that Kentucky's constitutional amendment banning gay marriage is unconstitutional. The order has been stayed, and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals heard the case on August 6, 2014.|
|Louisiana||Yes||Yes||Banned - See Note||Banned||No||A state court has ruled that the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, but the ruling only applies to Lafayette, Acadia and Vermilion parishes, and has been stayed pending appeal.|
|Michigan||Yes||Yes||Banned, pending final disposition of U.S. District Court decision||Banned||Banned||In DeBoer v. Snyder the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan ruled that Article 1, Section 25 of the Michigan State Constitution, which banned same-sex marriage, was unconstitutional. The order has been stayed, and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals heard the case on August 6, 2014.|
|Missouri||Yes||Yes||Banned||Yes - See Note||No||No||The Attorney General has announced that the state will not appeal a ruling that Missouri must recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages.|
|Montana||Yes||Yes||Banned - See Note||No||No||Montana is subject to the precedents set when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Latta v. Otter and reversed Sevcik v. Sandoval.|
|New Hampshire||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||Civil unions were available between 2009 and 2009. All existing civil unions converted into civil marriages on January 1, 2011.|
|North Carolina||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||North Carolina was subject to the precedent set when the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Bostic v. Rainey. The ban was struck down by U.S. District Court Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr. on October 10, 2014. Four days later, U.S. District Court Judge William L. Osteen, Jr. made a concurring order. Judge Osteen's order is open to appeal.|
|Ohio||Yes||Yes||Banned||Banned, pending final disposition of U.S. District Court decision||Banned||Banned||In Henry v. Wymyslo, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio ordered that Ohio recognize out-of-state same-sex marriage, but the order is stayed except for the 4 named plaintiff couples in the case.
In Obergefell v. Wymyslo, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio ordered that Ohio recognize valid same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions for death certificate purposes only. This decision has also been stayed.
In some cases, divorces have been granted to same-sex couples.
|Rhode Island||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||Civil unions were only available between 2011 and 2013, and did not convert into civil marriages.|
|South Carolina||Yes||Yes||Banned - See Note||Banned||Banned||South Carolina is subject to the precedent set when the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Bostic v. Rainey.
U.S. District Court judge Michelle Childs has requested briefs from a couple seeking to have their same-sex marriage recognized, and from the State, by October 15, 2014.
The South Carolina Supreme Court has issued an order to prevent the issuing and recognition of same-sex marriage licences, pending a decision from a federal court.
|Tennessee||Yes||Yes||Banned||Banned - See Note||No||No||The United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee had issued a preliminary injunction in Tanco v. Haslam that the state recognize the same-sex marriages of the plaintiffs. The order has been stayed, and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals heard the case on August 6, 2014.|
|Texas||Yes||Yes||Banned, pending final disposition of U.S. District Court decision and/or Texas District Court decisions||Banned||Banned||The United States District Court for the Western District of Texas issued a preliminary injunction that Article 1, Section 32, and related statutes, are unconstitutional in De Leon v. Perry. The decision is stayed, pending any appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
In a ruling involving the divorce of a same-sex couple, who were married in Washington DC, a State District Court found that Article 1, Section 32, and three sections of the Texas Family Code are unconstitutional. The order has been stayed by the Texas 4th Court of Appeals, pending further review.
|Vermont||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||Civil unions were only available between 2000 and 2009, and did not convert into civil marriages.|
|Washington||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||Limited||All existing Domestic Partnerships, where both parties were under age 62, converted into civil marriages on June 30, 2014.|
|Wyoming||No||Yes||Banned, pending dissolution of stay||No||No||Wyoming is subject to the precedents set when the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Kitchen v. Herbert and Bishop v. Oklahoma.
A U.S. District court has issued a Preliminary Injunction striking down the ban, but has stayed the order until 5 PM (MDT) on 23 October 2014, to give the state the opportunity to appeal. The Attorney General intends to file notice with the court that the state will not appeal at 10 AM (MDT) on 21 October 2014, which should result in the stay being dissolved almost immediately.
|Restricted to opposite-sex couples only by||Result for same sex-marriages||Civil Unions||Domestic
State Status by Federal Circuit Court of Appeals
But Order Stayed
|Texas||Texas's ban has been struck down in state and federal court.|
|Ohio has been ordered to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages, but the order has been stayed pending action by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Arguments in five cases, covering all four states, were heard on Aug 6, 2014. As of October 18, 2014, no decisions had been released.
|Arkansas's ban has been struck down at the state level.
Missouri has been ordered by a County Circuit Court to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages.
|The stay in Wyoming will expire at 5 PM (MDT) on 23 October 2014, without further legal action.|
|Florida||The stay in Florida will expire on 5 January 2015.|
But Order Stayed
In the United States of America
- Same-sex marriage in the United States
- Timeline of same-sex marriage in the United States
- Public opinion of same-sex marriage in the United States
- Same-sex marriage legislation in the United States
- Same-sex marriage law in the United States by state
- Same-sex marriage under United States tribal jurisdictions
- Rights and responsibilities of marriages in the United States
- Defense of Marriage Act
- Marriage Protection Act of 2007
- U.S. state constitutional amendments banning same-sex unions
- List of U.S. state constitutional amendments banning same-sex unions by type
- Federal Marriage Amendment
- Domestic partnership in the United States
- Freedom to Marry Coalition
- LGBT rights in the United States
- "Lawsuit Filed to Block Nation's Last Unchallenged Same-Sex Marriage Ban in North Dakota - abcnews.go.com". AP. June 6, 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-06.
- "Gay Marriages Cleared In Arkansas, But On Hold In Idaho - WSIU.org". WSIU. May 15, 2014. Retrieved 2014-05-15.
- "Arkansas high court suspends same-sex marriage ruling - clarionledger.com". AP. May 16, 2014. Retrieved 2014-05-16.
- "BREAKING: Federal Judge Strikes Down Florida Gay Marriage Ban - wfsu.org". WFSU. August 21, 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-21.
- "Death Certificate Recognizing Her Marriage to Partner of 47 Years - aclu.org". ACLU Press Release. October 8, 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-08.
- "4th judge overturns Fla. same-sex marriage ban - miamiherald.com". AP. August 5, 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-05.
- "Kansas Supreme Court blocks marriage licenses for same-sex couples - lgbtqnation.com". AP. October 10, 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-10.
- "Gays have right to marry in Kentucky, judge rules - courier-journal.com". The Courier Journal. July 1, 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-01.
- "Four-way hearing on same-sex marriage - scotusblog.com". SCOTUS Blog. June 17, 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-17.
- "Louisiana same-sex marriage ruling stayed pending appeal, attorney general says - nola.com". Times-Picayune. September 26, 2014. Retrieved 2014-09-26.
- Tresa Baldas (21 March 2014). "Judge strikes down Michigan ban on gay marriage as unconstitutional; state asks for a stay". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 21 March 2014.
- "Missouri judge orders state to recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other states - dailyjournal.net". AP. October 3, 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-03.
- "Koster won't appeal same-sex marriage ruling - news-leader.com". AP. October 6, 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-06.
- "Judge strikes down NC gay marriage ban - waff.com". AP. October 10, 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-10.
- "Second judge nullifies North Carolina marriage ban - scotusblog.com". SCOTUSblog. October 14, 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-14.
- "Ohio Ordered To Recognize Out-Of-State Gay Marriages - wutc.org". NPR. April 14, 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-14.
- "Ohio judges divided on same-sex divorce - norwalkreflector.com". MCT Regional News. October 14, 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-14.
- "Federal Judge Wants Briefs in SC Gay Marriage Case - wltx.com". AP. October 7, 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-07.
- "Gay marriages start in South Carolina - dailymail.co.uk". AP. October 8, 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-08.
- "South Carolina court bars judges from issuing gay marriage licenses - southcarolinasc.com". southcarolinasc. October 10, 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-10.
- "Read the federal judge's decision striking down Texas's gay marriage ban - apps.washingtonpost.com". Washington Post. February 26, 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-26.
- "Judge in same-sex divorce case rules Texas gay marriage ban unconstitutional - lgbtqnation.com". LGBTQ Nation. April 24, 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-24.
- "Texas appeals court blocks ruling in same-sex couple’s divorce case - lgbtqnation.com". LGBTQ Nation. April 26, 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-26.
- "Alert: Federal judge orders Wyoming to allow same-sex marriage but stays until next Thursday - chron.com". AP. October 17, 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
- "Wyoming gay marriage will wait until Tuesday - ctpost.com". AP. October 20, 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-20.
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