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 June 26, 2013.
The federal government recognizes all legally performed same-sex marriages, regardless of the current state of residence.
Currently, 19 U.S. states (plus the District of Columbia) allow and recognize same-sex marriages.
The following states are currently awaiting court rulings on same-sex marriage (): Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, and Tennessee.
Currently, 31 U.S. states and 2 territories explicitly prohibit same-sex marriages in their constitutions and/or by statute, including:
- 2 states (Indiana and Wisconsin) where legalization of same-sex marriage is pending implementation statewide;
- 10 states where an order overturning the ban has been indefinitely stayed, pending action by a higher court; some of these states have hundreds to thousands of same-sex couples that were married legally after the overturning of the ban and before the judicial stay implemented later. These couples are in a state of legal limbo;
- 5 states (Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming) subject to Circuit Court of Appeals precedents;
- 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 ();
- Missouri, where out-of-state same-sex marriages are recognized for tax-purposes only.
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.
As of June 6, 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.
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 Supreme Court||No||No||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.|
|Colorado||Yes||Yes||Banned, pending final disposition of U.S. Supreme Court||Yes||Yes||A Colorado State District Court has ruled that "... the Marriage Bans violate plaintiffs' due process and equal protection guarantees under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution", but the order has been stayed, pending action by a higher court.
A Federal District Court has ruled that Colorado's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, but the order has been stayed, pending appeal.
|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 final disposition of U.S. District Court decision||Banned||No||A Federal District Court has ruled that Florida's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, but the order has been stayed, pending appeal.
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.
|Idaho||Yes||Yes||Banned, pending final disposition of U.S. Magistrate's decision||Banned||Banned||A US Chief Magistrate has ruled that Idaho's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The order has been stayed, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear the case on September 8, 2014.|
|Indiana||No||Yes||Legalization of same-sex marriage is pending statewide||No||No||In Baskin v. Bogan, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana has ruled that Indiana's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals heard the case on August 26, 2014 and ruled soon after that the same-sex marriage ban was obviously unconstitutional.
The Seventh Circuit has ordered Indiana to immediately recognize the marriage of two of the plaintiffs.
Indiana has also been ordered to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages. The ruling has been stayed, pending action by Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
A legislative initiative to amend the state constitution is under way, but the proposed amendment cannot appear on the ballot before 2016.
|Kansas||Yes||Yes||Banned||Banned||No||Kansas is subject to the precedents set when the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Kitchen v. Herbert and Bishop v. Oklahoma, which are stayed pending action by the Supreme Court.|
|Kentucky||Yes||Yes||Banned, pending final disposition of U.S. District Court decision||Banned||No||The United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky has ruled that Kentucky's constitutional amendment banning gay marriage is unconstitutional. The ruling has been stayed until the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals rules on the case cited below, and others, that were argued on August 6, 2014.
Earlier, in Bourke v. Bashear the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky ordered that Kentucky recognize valid same-sex marriages conducted in other jurisdictions. The order has been stayed, and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals heard the case on August 6, 2014.
|Louisiana||Yes||Yes||Banned||Banned||No||“Louisiana’s laws and constitution are directly related to achieving marriage’s historically preeminent purpose of linking children to their biological parents,” Judge Martin Feldman of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana wrote in his 32-page opinion released Sep 3, 2014. The decision upheld and affirmed the state's same-sex marriage ban.|
|Massachusetts||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||In 2004, Massachusetts was the first U.S. state to implement marriage equality.|
|Michigan||Yes||Yes||Banned, pending final disposition of U.S. District Court decision||No||No||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||No||No||Gov. Jay Nixon (D) has signed an executive order that Missouri accept joint state tax returns from same-sex couples with valid out-of-state marriages who file a joint federal tax return.
A Boone County Circuit Court judge has granted a divorce to a same-sex couple that were married in Massachusetts, but resident in Missouri.
|Nevada||Yes||Yes||Banned||No||Yes||Nevada successfully defended their constitutional ban in US District Court (Sevcik v. Sandoval), but has withdrawn from defending the appeal before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is scheduled to hear the case on September 8, 2014.|
|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||Yes||Yes||Banned||Banned||Banned||North Carolina is subject to the precedent set when the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Bostic v. Rainey. In view of this ruling, the Attorney General of North Carolina has announced that his office will no longer defend the state's ban on same-sex marriage, but all actions have been stayed until Bostic has been dealt with by the Supreme Court.|
|Ohio||Yes||Yes||Banned||Banned, pending final disposition of U.S. District Court decision||Banned||No||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.
|Oklahoma||Yes||Yes||Banned, pending final disposition of U.S. Supreme Court||Banned||No||Since 2013, same-sex marriages are performed by the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, a sovereign nation within the borders of Oklahoma despite the official state prohibition.
The United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma ruled Article 2, Section 35 of the Oklahoma Constitution unconstitutional in Bishop v. Oklahoma. The decision has been affirmed by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, but has been stayed pending action by the Supreme Court.
|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||Banned||No||South Carolina is subject to the precedent set when the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Bostic v. Rainey.|
|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||No||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.
|Utah||Yes||Yes||Banned, pending final disposition of U.S. Supreme Court||No||No||The United States District Court for the District of Utah ruled Amendment 3 and related statutes unconstitutional in Kitchen v. Herbert. The decision has been affirmed by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, but has been stayed pending action by the Supreme Court.
On May 19, 2014, the United States District Court for the District of Utah ordered Utah to recognize same-sex marriages performed prior to the decision cited above being stayed. The order has been stayed pending appealing the ruling.
|Vermont||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||Civil unions were only available between 2000 and 2009, and did not convert into civil marriages.|
|Virginia||Yes||Yes||Banned, pending final disposition of U.S. Supreme Court||No||No||The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruled Article 1, Section 15-A, and related statutes unconstitutional in Bostic v. Rainey. The decision has been affirmed by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, but has been stayed pending action by the Supreme Court.|
|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.|
|West Virginia||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||A US District Court Judge has stayed a challenge to West Virginia's laws on same-sex marriage, pending the ruling of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia's Bostic v. Rainey.|
|Wisconsin||Yes||Yes||Legalization of same-sex marriage is pending statewide||No||Limited||The US District Court has ruled, in part, that "It is DECLARED that art. XIII, § 13 of the Wisconsin Constitution violates plaintiffs' fundamental right to marry and their right to equal protection of laws under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution". The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals heard the case on August 26, 2014 and ruled soon after that the same-sex marriage ban was obviously unconstitutional.|
|Wyoming||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||Wyoming was the first U.S. state to ban same-sex marriage.
|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 and citizens are still awaiting decisions as of Sept 13, 2014.
|Illinois||Wisconsin's and Indiana's cases were heard on Aug 26, 2014 and the judge ruled the same-sex marriage bans of the two states were obviously unconstitutional. Legalization is pending implementation in these two states.|
|Arkansas's ban has been struck down at the state level.|
|Arguments in Sevcik v. Sandoval (Nevada) and Latta v. Otter (Idaho) were heard on Sept 8, 2014. Nevada did not defend their case.
Also, an estranged case regarding Hawaii was heard despite that state's previous legalization of same-sex marriage. Decisions have not been announced as of Sept 13, 2014.
|New Mexico||Colorado's ban has been struck down in state and federal court.|
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.
- "Adams County Judge says civil unions do not substitute for marriage, rules bans 'unconstitutional' - thedenverchannel.com". 7 News Denver. July 9, 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-09.
- "Judge rules Colorado gay marriage ban unconstitutional - coloradoan.com". AP. July 23, 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-23.
- "BREAKING: Federal Judge Strikes Down Florida Gay Marriage Ban - wfsu.org". WFSU. August 21, 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-21.
- "4th judge overturns Fla. same-sex marriage ban - miamiherald.com". AP. August 5, 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-05.
- "Federal Judge Strikes Down Idaho's Gay Marriage Ban - magicvalley.com". Magic Valley. May 13, 2014. Retrieved 2014-05-14.
- "Appeals court orders state to recognize one same-sex marriage - indystar.com". Indy Star. July 1, 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-01.
- "Federal judge directs Indiana to recognize other states' same-sex marriages, but stays ruling - tribtown.com". AP. August 19, 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-19.
- "Gays have right to marry in Kentucky, judge rules - courier-journal.com". The Courier Journal. July 1, 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-01.
- "SAME-SEX MARRIAGE NOW LEGALLY RECOGNIZED IN KY. - hosted.ap.org". AP. February 27, 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-27.
- "Four-way hearing on same-sex marriage - scotusblog.com". SCOTUS Blog. June 17, 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-17.
- 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 to accept joint tax returns from gay couples - kansascity.com". Kansas City Star. November 14, 2013. Retrieved 2014-02-23.
- "Boone County judge grants gay couple a divorce - columbiatribune.com". Columbia Tribune. May 4, 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-05.
- "@NCCAPITOL NC to stop fighting challenges to marriage amendment after Virginia law overturned - wral.com". WRAL. July 28, 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-28.
- "North Carolina Marriage Equality Stayed Until Virginia Decision - gayapolis.com". Gayapolis News. August 29, 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-29.
- "Ohio Ordered To Recognize Out-Of-State Gay Marriages - wutc.org". NPR. April 14, 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-14.
- Heide Brandes (1 November 2013). "Oklahoma gay couple marry under Native American law". Reuters. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
- "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.
- "Judge: Utah must honor same-sex marriages performed during 17-day window - sltrib.com". The Salt Lake Tribune. May 19, 2014. Retrieved 2014-05-19.
- "Supreme Court delays benefits for Utah gay couples - news.yahoo.com". AP. July 18, 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-18.
- "Supreme Court blocks same-sex marriages in Virginia - usatoday.com". USA Today. August 20, 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-20.
- "Judge puts lawsuit challenging W.Va. gay marriage ban on hold pending federal appeal - wvah.com". AP. June 10, 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-10.
- "Judge overturns Wisconsin's same-sex marriage ban - 620wtmj.com". 620 WTMJ. June 6, 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-06.
- "Oral arguments in Wisconsin, Indiana marriage cases set for Aug. 26 - wisconsingazette.com". Wisconsin Gazette. July 25, 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-25.
|Find more about same-sex marriage at Wikipedia's sister projects|
|Definitions and translations from Wiktionary|
|Media from Commons|
|Quotations from Wikiquote|
|Source texts from Wikisource|
|Textbooks from Wikibooks|
|Learning resources from Wikiversity|