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.|
This article is intended as a resource for current legal status of same-sex unions. See same-sex marriage legislation in the United States and same-sex marriage law in the United States by state for more detailed descriptions, outcomes, and history of individual cases.
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. 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.
Same-sex marriage summary
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 same-sex marriages legally authorized under state, territory, or district law.
Same-sex marriage is legal in 37 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
13 states and 5 territories ban same-sex marriage, including Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Texas, where U.S. District Court orders overturning the bans have been indefinitely stayed, pending actions by higher courts.
The legal situation is more complicated in the following states:
- In Alabama, the ban on same-sex marriage has been struck down, but the Supreme Court of Alabama has issued a contradictory ruling ordering all state probate judges to cease issuance of same-sex marriage licenses and all have complied with the order;
- In Kansas, the ban on same-sex marriage has been struck down and availability of licenses varies by county, but the state government is refusing recognition;
- In Missouri, as a result of separate state court rulings, all legal same-sex marriages are recognized by the state and the ban on same-sex marriage has been struck down, but the decision was not stayed, in a ruling that only applies to the City of St. Louis;
More details can be found in the Jurisdiction listing below.
Below is the status of the law in each of the 50 U.S. states, 5 U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.
- The blue shading indicates what is currently allowed;
- The khaki shading indicates that a judicial ruling overturning a state-wide ban is currently stayed pending appeal;
- The green shading indicates that the ban has been struck down in compliance with circuit court precedent, but the state is continuing the legal fight in support of the ban;
- The clock symbol () indicates that parties are awaiting a court ruling;
- The "Ⓦ" symbol indicates that a petition for writ of certiorari, requesting review by the U.S. Supreme Court, is pending.
- The "" symbol indicates that the federal court case has been deferred, pending U.S. Supreme Court action.
- The "★" symbol indicates that the U.S. Supreme Court has granted a petition for writ of certiorari and will hear the appeal.
|Restriction||Same-sex marriage||Civil Unions||Domestic
|Yes||No||No||In orders that became effective on 9 February 2015, a U.S. District Court ruled that Alabama Constitution Article I, § 36.03 (2006) and Alabama Code 1975 § 30-1-19, which barred same-sex marriage, were unconstitutional. The orders are subject to appeal.
On 3 March 2015, the state Supreme Court issued a contradictory ruling requiring all probate judges to cease issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. All probate judges have complied with this ruling as of 4 March 2015. 
|Arkansas||Yes||Yes||Banned, pending final disposition of Arkansas Circuit Court and/or U.S. District Court decisions||Banned, pending final disposition of Arkansas Circuit Court and/or U.S. District Court decisions||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, which will re-hear the case at a future date.
A number of same-sex couples in Arkansas are in a legal limbo, as they were married legally between the overturning of the ban, and the issuance of a judicial stay.
|District of Columbia||N/A||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Florida||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||In an order that became effective on January 6, 2015, a U.S. District Court ruled that Florida's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. The order is subject to appeal.
Florida County Circuit Courts in Broward, Monroe, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach counties have also ruled that the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. These rulings are limited to the counties in question, and are subject to appeal.
|Guam||N/A||No||No - See Note||Yes||No||No||All marriages contracted outside of the territory of Guam, which would be valid by the laws of the country in which the same were contracted, are valid in the territory of Guam.
On 15 April 2015, the Attorney General directed that effective immediately, marriage licenses are to be issued to same-sex couples. This directive has been blocked by the Governor, whose actions are being challenged in the District Court of Guam.
|Kansas||No||No||Varies by County -
|No - See Note||Banned||Banned||Many Kansas counties are issuing same-sex marriage licenses, but the state government is refusing any recognition until all appeals have been exhausted. The original complaint has been amended, in an attempt to compel state recognition.|
|Kentucky||Yes||Yes||Banned - See Note||Banned||Banned||The ban was upheld by Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
A county Family Court has granted a divorce to end an out-of-state same-sex marriage.
|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 - See Note||Very Limited - See Note||Banned||Banned||The ban was upheld by Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.|
|Mississippi||Yes||Yes||Banned, pending final disposition of U.S. District Court decision||Banned, pending final disposition of U.S. District Court decision||No||No||The ban was struck down in U.S. District Court on 25 November 2014.|
|Missouri||Yes||Yes||Limited Availability -
|Yes||No||No||As a result of a state court decision, Missouri recognizes all legally authorized same-sex marriages.
A state circuit court struck down the ban on same-sex marriage, in a ruling that explicitly applies to the city of St. Louis, but two counties have issued same-sex marriage licenses on their own volition. The state has announced that it will appeal the ruling, but will not seek a stay.
|Nebraska||Yes||Yes||Banned, pending final disposition of U.S. District Court decision||Banned, pending final disposition of U.S. District Court decision||Banned||Banned||A U.S. District Court has ordered that "all relevant state officials are ordered to treat same-sex couples the same as different sex couples in the context of processing a marriage license or determining the rights, protections, obligations or benefits of marriage." The ruling has been stayed pending action by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.|
|New Hampshire||No||No||Yes||Yes||Previously Available||No|
|North Carolina Ⓦ||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Northern Mariana Islands||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Ohio||Yes||Yes||Banned - See Note||Banned||Banned||The ban was upheld by Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
In some cases, divorces have been granted to same-sex couples.
|Puerto Rico||No||Yes||Banned - See Note||Banned - See Note||No||No||Puerto Rico's ban has been upheld in U.S. District Court, and an appeal has been filed with the First Circuit Court of Appeals.
On 20 March 2015, Puerto Rico announced that it would file a brief in the appeal, agreeing that the ban should be struck down.
|Rhode Island||No||No||Yes||Yes||Previously Available||No|
|South Dakota||Yes||Yes||Banned, pending final disposition of U.S. District Court decision||Banned, pending final disposition of U.S. District Court decision||Banned||Banned||The ban has been struck down by U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier, but the order has been stayed pending action by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
|Tennessee||Yes||Yes||Banned - See Note||No||No||The ban was upheld by Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.|
|Texas||Yes||Yes||Banned, pending final disposition of U.S. District Court decision||Banned, pending final disposition of U.S. District Court decision||Banned||Banned||In 2013, the Texas Supreme Court heard arguments in two cases where same-sex couples married elsewhere were seeking divorce in Texas.
U.S. District Court issued a preliminary injunction that Article 1, Section 32, and related statutes, were unconstitutional in De Leon v. Perry. The decision was stayed, pending an appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard the case on 9 January 2015.
Travis County Probate Court, ruling in a case involving an estate, found that the state's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.
Under court order, Travis County has issued a marriage license to a same-sex couple.
A motion to lift the stay on the order overturning the ban is pending before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
|U.S. Virgin Islands||N/A||Yes||Banned||Banned||No||No|
|Restriction||Same-sex marriage||Civil Unions||Domestic
Jurisdiction status by federal circuit
*A bold circuit court indicates circuit precedent in favor of same-sex marriage.
*An italic circuit court indicates circuit precedent upholding same-sex marriage bans.
Note: American Samoa is outside of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals system. Federal cases have been heard in Hawaii and the District of Columbia. The High Court of American Samoa is subject to U.S. Supreme Court precedent.
|Circuit||Civil marriage for same-sex couples||Notes|
but order stayed
|Banned contrary to
|Puerto Rico's ban has been upheld in U.S. District Court, and an appeal has been filed with the First Circuit Court of Appeals. The Commonwealth has announced that it will file a brief agreeing that the ban should be struck down, but the case will not be heard until the U.S. Supreme Court decides the cases from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.|
|U.S. Virgin Islands||Delaware
|North Carolina has filed a petition for writ of certiorari for Supreme Court review.|
|Appeals of cases from all three states were heard by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on 9 January 2015.|
|The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the bans in all four states.
|As a result of state court actions, Missouri recognizes legally enacted same-sex marriages performed elsewhere, and the ban on same-sex marriage has been struck down in the city of St. Louis. The ban has also been struck down in U.S. District Court; this is the order that has been stayed, pending action by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The Eighth Circuit has announced that it has deferred all action in the appeals from Arkansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Dakota until the U.S. Supreme Court decides the cases from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. The United States District Court for the District of North Dakota has made a similar ruling.
|Guam and Northern Mariana Islands are subject to the precedents set when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Latta v. Otter and reversed Sevcik v. Sandoval. Guam recognizes legal same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.|
|The ban in Kansas has been struck down in U.S. District Court, but while many counties are issuing same-sex marriage licenses, the state government is refusing any recognition until all appeals have been exhausted. The original complaint has been amended, in an attempt to force state recognition.|
|The Alabama and Florida rulings are subject to Circuit Court appeal.
District of Columbia
|District of Columbia|
|Recognizes same-sex marriages legally authorized under state, territory, or district law.|
|Circuit||Civil marriage for same-sex couples||Notes|
but order stayed
|Banned contrary to
In the United States
- 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
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- "Same-sex marriage bans in 3 Southern states heard in federal court - cbsnews.com". CBS/AP. January 9, 2015. Retrieved January 9, 2015.
- "Texas high court to consider state jurisdiction over same-sex divorces - lgbtqnation.com". AP. August 24, 2013. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
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- "Alabama Supreme Court Orders Temporary Stop To New Same-Sex Marriage Licenses - buzzfeed.com". BuzzFeed. March 3, 2015. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
- "Gay Marriages Cleared In Arkansas, But On Hold In Idaho - WSIU.org". WSIU. May 15, 2014. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
- "Arkansas Supreme Court Delays Gay Marriage Ruling Again - swtimes.com". Arkansas News Bureau. April 3, 2015. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
- "Federal Judge Overturns Arkansas' Gay Marriage Ban - arkansasbusiness.com". AP. November 25, 2014. Retrieved November 25, 2014.
- "Chapter 3. The Contract of Marriage" (PDF). Guam Code Annotated. Compiler of Laws, Supreme Court of Guam. Retrieved April 8, 2015.
- "AG allows marriage licenses for same-sex couples - kuam.com". KUAM News. April 15, 2015. Retrieved April 14, 2015.
- "1:15-cv-00009 #11". Equality Case Files. Retrieved April 16, 2015.
- "Kansas agencies not recognizing gay marriages yet - ljworld.com". AP. November 20, 2014. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
- "ACLU amends same-sex marriage lawsuit - 6lawrence.com". AP. November 26, 2014. Retrieved November 28, 2014.
- "Gay marriage bans in four states upheld on appeal - usatoday.com". USA Today. November 6, 2014. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
- "Gay divorce granted by family court judge - courier-journal.com". The Courier-Journal. January 12, 2015. Retrieved January 12, 2015.
- "Louisiana same-sex marriage ruling stayed pending appeal, attorney general says - nola.com". Times-Picayune. September 26, 2014. Retrieved September 26, 2014.
- "Michigan will recognize about 300 same-sex marriages from March; will not appeal court's decision - wxyz.com". WXYZ. February 4, 2015. Retrieved February 4, 2015.
- "Mississippi’s Same-Sex Marriage Ban Is Unconstitutional, Federal Judge Rules - buzzfeed.com". BuzzFeed. November 25, 2014. Retrieved November 25, 2014.
- "Koster won't appeal same-sex marriage ruling - news-leader.com". AP. October 6, 2014. Retrieved October 6, 2014.
- "Gay marriage now legal in Missouri - but only in St Louis - gaystarnews.com". Gay Star News. November 5, 2014. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
- "St. Louis Judge Rules Missouri Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional - ozarksfirst.com". Ozarks First. November 5, 2014. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
- "Missouri ban on gay marriage unconstitutional-federal judge - townhall.com". Reuters. November 7, 2014. Retrieved November 7, 2014.
- "Judge Strikes Down Nebraska's Ban On Same Sex Marriage - nbcneb.com". 10/11 News. March 2, 2015. Retrieved March 2, 2015.
- "Ohio judges divided on same-sex divorce - norwalkreflector.com". MCT Regional News. October 14, 2014. Retrieved October 14, 2014.
- "Puerto Rican government to no longer defend marriage ban - washingtonblade.com". Washington Blade. March 20, 2015. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
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