List of U.S. state laws on same-sex unions

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State laws regarding same-sex marriage in the United States1
  Same-sex marriage legal2
  Same-sex marriage performed elsewhere recognized
  Same-sex marriage legalization pending3
  No prohibition or recognition of same-sex marriage
  Judicial ruling(s) overturning a same-sex marriage ban stayed indefinitely pending appeal
  Same-sex marriage banned

1 Native American tribal jurisdictions have laws pertaining to same-sex marriage independent of state law.
2 Same-sex marriage is legal in St. Louis, Missouri. In Kansas, nineteen counties are complying with a preliminary federal court order barring the defendants from enforcing Kansas's same-sex marriage ban.
3 A ruling striking down Florida's same-sex marriage ban has been stayed until January 5, 2015.
State laws regarding same-sex unions similar to marriage in the United States1
  Domestic partnerships or civil unions granting state privileges of marriage2
  Same-sex unions granting limited/enumerated privileges
  No prohibition or recognition of same-sex unions similar to marriage
  Judicial ruling(s) overturning the same-sex unions ban stayed pending appeal
  Same-sex unions similar to marriage banned

1Not recognized by the federal government. However, same-sex marriage is legal in most states and is recognized by the federal government.
2Domestic partnerships in Washington are only available when at least one of the partners is 62 years of age or older.

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.

Summary[edit]

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.

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.

Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi are currently awaiting court rulings on same-sex marriage (Simple icon time.svg).[1][2][3]

34 U.S. states and the District of Columbia allow and recognize same-sex marriages.

Most Kansas counties are issuing same-sex marriage licenses, but the state government is refusing to recognize any same-sex marriages until all appeals have been exhausted.[4]

15 U.S. states and 2 territories (Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands) explicitly prohibit same-sex marriages in their constitutions and by statute, including:

  • Missouri, where, based on state court rulings, legal same-sex marriages performed elsewhere are recognized, and the ban on same-sex marriage has been struck down in a ruling that only applies to the city of St. Louis. The ban has been struck down in U.S. District Court, but this order has been stayed;
  • Florida, where the stay on the order overturning the ban will expire on January 5, 2015 without further legal action;
  • Arkansas and Texas, where an order overturning the ban has been indefinitely stayed, pending action by a higher court; 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;

3 U.S. territories (American Samoa, Guam, and Northern Mariana Islands) neither recognize nor prohibit same-sex marriage under the law. However, Guam and Northern Mariana Islands are subject to Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals precedent against any potential same-sex marriage ban.

As of June 6, 2014, all remaining state bans on same-sex marriage were being challenged in state or federal court.[5] In keeping with the purpose of this article, cases will only be cited when there is a relevant ruling, or an unusual filing.

State, territory, and district listing[edit]

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 allowed and recognized.
  • The khaki shading indicates that a judicial ruling overturning a state-wide ban is currently stayed.
  • The clock symbol (Simple icon time.svg) indicates that arguments have been heard, and the parties are awaiting a court ruling.
State, territory, or district Civil marriage Other unions Notes
Restricted Same-sex marriage Civil Unions Domestic
Partnership
Constitution Statute Licenses Recognition
Flag of Alabama.svg Alabama Simple icon time.svg Yes Yes Banned Banned Banned
Flag of Alaska.svg Alaska No No Yes Yes No No
Flag of American Samoa.svg American Samoa No No No No No
Flag of Arizona.svg Arizona No No Yes Yes No No
Flag of Arkansas.svg Arkansas Simple icon time.svg 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.[6] The order has been stayed pending review by the Arkansas Supreme Court, which heard the case on November 20, 2014.[7]
Flag of California.svg California No No Yes Yes No Yes
Flag of Colorado.svg Colorado No No Yes Yes Yes No
Flag of Connecticut.svg 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.
Flag of Delaware.svg 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.
Flag of Washington, D.C..svg District of Columbia N/A No Yes Yes No Yes
Flag of Florida.svg Florida Yes Yes Banned, pending dissolution of temporary 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.[8][9] 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.[10]

Flag of Georgia (U.S. state).svg Georgia Yes Yes Banned Banned Banned
Flag of Guam.svg Guam No No No No No Guam is subject to the precedents set when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Latta v. Otter and reversed Sevcik v. Sandoval.
Flag of Hawaii.svg Hawaii No No Yes Yes Yes No
Flag of Idaho.svg Idaho No No Yes Yes No No
Flag of Illinois.svg Illinois No No Yes Yes Yes No
Flag of Indiana.svg Indiana No No Yes Yes No No
Flag of Iowa.svg Iowa No No Yes Yes No No
Flag of Kansas.svg Kansas No No Yes - See Note No - See Note No No Kansas 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 issued a preliminary injunction against the state's ban on same-sex marriage, which became effective on November 12, 2014, after Supreme Court declined to intervene.[11] The case is still subject to appeal.

Some counties have not issued licences to same-sex couples, and state government agencies are not taking actions to recognize same-sex marriages.[4]

Flag of Kentucky.svg Kentucky Yes Yes Banned - See Note Banned Banned The ban has been upheld by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.[12] The U.S. Supreme Court has received a request for review of the Sixth Circuit decision.
Flag of Louisiana.svg 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.[13]

Louisiana's ban has been upheld in U.S. District Court, and an appeal of the ruling is scheduled to be heard by Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on January 9, 2015.[14]

Flag of Maine.svg Maine No No Yes Yes No Limited
Flag of Maryland.svg Maryland No No Yes Yes No Limited
Flag of Massachusetts.svg Massachusetts No No Yes Yes No No
Flag of Michigan.svg Michigan Yes Yes Banned - See Note Banned Banned The ban has been upheld by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.[12] The U.S. Supreme Court has received a request for review of the Sixth Circuit decision.
Flag of Minnesota.svg Minnesota No No Yes Yes No No
Flag of Mississippi.svg Mississippi Simple icon time.svg Yes Yes Banned No No
Flag of Missouri.svg Missouri Yes Yes Complicated - See Note Yes No No Missouri recognizes legally enacted same-sex marriages.[15]
A circuit court judge has struck down the state's same-sex marriage ban, but the ruling only applies to the city of St. Louis.[16] The state will appeal the ruling, but will not seek a stay.[17]

The ban on same-sex marriage has also been struck down in U.S. District Court, but the ruling has been stayed.[18]

Flag of Montana.svg Montana No No Yes Yes 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.

The ban has been struck down in U.S. District Court.[19] The ruling is subject to appeal.

Flag of Nebraska.svg Nebraska Yes Yes Banned Banned Banned
Flag of Nevada.svg Nevada No No Yes Yes No Yes
Flag of New Hampshire.svg 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.
Flag of New Jersey.svg New Jersey No No Yes Yes Yes No
Flag of New Mexico.svg New Mexico No No Yes Yes No No
Flag of New York.svg New York No No Yes Yes No No
Flag of North Carolina.svg 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.[20] Four days later, U.S. District Court Judge William L. Osteen, Jr. made a concurring order.[21] Judge Osteen's order is open to appeal.
Flag of North Dakota.svg North Dakota Yes Yes Banned Banned Banned
Flag of the Northern Mariana Islands.svg Northern Mariana Islands No No No No No Northern Mariana Islands is subject to the precedents set when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Latta v. Otter and reversed Sevcik v. Sandoval.
Flag of Ohio.svg Ohio Yes Yes Banned - See Note Banned Banned The ban has been upheld by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.[12] The U.S. Supreme Court has received a request for review of the Sixth Circuit decision.

In some cases, divorces have been granted to same-sex couples.[22]

Flag of Oklahoma.svg Oklahoma No No Yes Yes No No
Flag of Oregon.svg Oregon No No Yes Yes No Yes
Flag of Pennsylvania.svg Pennsylvania No No Yes Yes No No
Flag of Puerto Rico.svg Puerto Rico Yes Yes 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.
Flag of Rhode Island.svg Rhode Island No No Yes Yes No No Civil unions were only available between 2011 and 2013, and did not convert into civil marriages.
Flag of South Carolina.svg South Carolina No No Yes Yes No No South Carolina was subject to the precedent set when the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Bostic v. Rainey.

The ban was struck down in U.S. District Court, and the order became effective on November 20, 2014.[23] The order is still open to appeal.

Flag of South Dakota.svg South Dakota Yes Yes Banned Banned Banned
Flag of Tennessee.svg Tennessee Yes Yes Banned - See Note No No The ban has been upheld by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.[12] The U.S. Supreme Court has received a request for review of the Sixth Circuit decision.
Flag of Texas.svg 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.[24] The decision is stayed, pending an appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is scheduled for January 9, 2015.[14]

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.[25] The order has been stayed by the Texas 4th Court of Appeals, pending further review.[26]

U.S. Virgin Islands Yes Yes Banned No No
Flag of Utah.svg Utah No No Yes Yes No No
Flag of Vermont.svg Vermont No No Yes Yes No No Civil unions were only available between 2000 and 2009, and did not convert into civil marriages.
Flag of Virginia.svg Virginia No No Yes Yes No No
Flag of Washington.svg Washington No No Yes Yes No Limited
Flag of West Virginia.svg West Virginia No No Yes Yes No No
Flag of Wisconsin.svg Wisconsin No No Yes Yes No Limited
Flag of Wyoming.svg Wyoming No No Yes Yes No No
State, territory, or district Civil marriage Other unions Notes
Restricted Same-sex marriage Civil Unions Domestic
Partnership
Constitution Statute Licenses Recognition

State, territory, and district status by federal circuit[edit]

Circuit Civil marriage for same-sex couples Notes
Banned Ban overturned,
but order stayed
Banned contrary to
circuit precedent
Legal
US-CourtOfAppeals-1stCircuit-Seal.svg
First
Puerto Rico Maine
Massachusetts
New Hampshire
Rhode Island
Puerto Rico's ban has been upheld in US District Court, and an appeal has been filed with the First Circuit.
US-CourtOfAppeals-2ndCircuit-Seal.png
Second
Connecticut
New York
Vermont
US-CourtOfAppeals-3rdCircuit-Seal.svg
Third
U.S. Virgin Islands Delaware
New Jersey
Pennsylvania
US-CourtOfAppeals-4thCircuit-Seal.png Fourth* Maryland
North Carolina
South Carolina
Virginia
West Virginia
US-CourtOfAppeals-5thCircuit-Seal.png
Fifth
Louisiana
Mississippi
Texas Texas's ban has been struck down in state and federal court.

A state judge in Louisiana has struck down the ban in that state, but the ruling only covers 3 parishes and is stayed pending appeal.

Cases from Texas and Louisiana are scheduled to be heard by the Fifth Circuit on January 9, 2015.

US-CourtOfAppeals-6thCircuit-Seal.png
Sixth
Kentucky
Michigan
Ohio
Tennessee
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the bans in all four states. The U.S. Supreme Court has received a request for review of the Sixth Circuit decision.
US-CourtOfAppeals-7thCircuit-Seal.png Seventh Illinois
Indiana
Wisconsin
US-CourtOfAppeals-8thCircuit-Seal.png
Eighth
Nebraska
North Dakota
South Dakota
Arkansas
Missouri
Iowa
Minnesota
Arkansas's ban has been struck down at the state level.

As a result of state court actions, Missouri now recognizes legally enacted same-sex marriages, 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.

US-CourtOfAppeals-9thCircuit-Seal.svg
Ninth
Alaska
Arizona
California
Hawaii
Idaho
Montana
Nevada
Oregon
Washington
Guam and Northern Mariana Islands are subject to Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals precedent though they do not currently recognize or prohibit same-sex marriage.
US-CourtOfAppeals-10thCircuit-Seal.png Tenth Colorado
Kansas
New Mexico
Oklahoma
Utah
Wyoming
US-CourtOfAppeals-11thCircuit-Seal.png
Eleventh
Alabama
Georgia
Florida The stay in Florida will expire on 5 January 2015, if no further legal action is taken.
US-CourtOfAppeals-DCCircuit-Seal.png
District of Columbia
District of Columbia
US-CourtOfAppeals-FederalCircuit-Seal.svg
Federal Circuit
Recognizes same-sex marriages legally authorized under state, territory, or district law.
Circuit Civil marriage for same-sex couples Notes
Banned Ban overturned,
but order stayed
Banned contrary to
circuit precedent
Legal

*A bold circuit court indicates circuit precedent in favor of same-sex marriage.

Note that American Samoa does not have a U.S. District Court; cases involving federal law have been heard in District Court in Hawaii and the District of Columbia. While the High Court of American Samoa is outside of the Circuit Courts of Appeals system, it is subject to U.S. Supreme Court precedent.

See also[edit]

In general[edit]

In the United States of America[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Lesbian couple embroiled in federal lawsuit 'optimistic' as judge weighs options - al.com". AL.com. November 20, 2014. Retrieved November 20, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Courts make no decision on gay marriage arguments - westport-news.com". AP. November 20, 2014. Retrieved November 20, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Legal experts: Gay marriage victory likely in Miss. - clarionledger.com". The Clarion Ledger. November 19, 2014. Retrieved November 20, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Kansas agencies not recognizing gay marriages yet - ljworld.com". AP. November 20, 2014. Retrieved November 20, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Lawsuit Filed to Block Nation's Last Unchallenged Same-Sex Marriage Ban in North Dakota - abcnews.go.com". AP. June 6, 2014. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Gay Marriages Cleared In Arkansas, But On Hold In Idaho - WSIU.org". WSIU. May 15, 2014. Retrieved May 15, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Arkansas Supreme Court takes up gay marriage case - timesunion.com". AP. November 20, 2014. Retrieved November 20, 2014. 
  8. ^ "BREAKING: Federal Judge Strikes Down Florida Gay Marriage Ban - wfsu.org". WFSU. August 21, 2014. Retrieved August 21, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Death Certificate Recognizing Her Marriage to Partner of 47 Years - aclu.org". ACLU Press Release. October 8, 2014. Retrieved October 8, 2014. 
  10. ^ "4th judge overturns Fla. same-sex marriage ban - miamiherald.com". AP. August 5, 2014. Retrieved August 5, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Supreme Court allows gay marriage to proceed in Kansas - kfgo.com". Reuters. November 12, 2014. Retrieved November 12, 2014. 
  12. ^ a b c d "Gay marriage bans in four states upheld on appeal - usatoday.com". USA Today. November 6, 2014. Retrieved November 6, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Louisiana same-sex marriage ruling stayed pending appeal, attorney general says - nola.com". Times-Picayune. September 26, 2014. Retrieved September 26, 2014. 
  14. ^ a b "Texas gay-marriage case to be heard Jan. 9 - statesman.com". American-Statesman. November 20, 2014. Retrieved November 20, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Koster won't appeal same-sex marriage ruling - news-leader.com". AP. October 6, 2014. Retrieved October 6, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Gay marriage now legal in Missouri - but only in St Louis - gaystarnews.com". Gay Star News. November 5, 2014. Retrieved November 5, 2014. 
  17. ^ "St. Louis Judge Rules Missouri Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional - ozarksfirst.com". Ozarks First. November 5, 2014. Retrieved November 5, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Missouri ban on gay marriage unconstitutional-federal judge - townhall.com". Reuters. November 7, 2014. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Breaking Montana gay marriage ban struck down; ruling takes effect immediately - latimes.com". LA Times. November 19, 2014. Retrieved November 19, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Judge strikes down NC gay marriage ban - waff.com". AP. October 10, 2014. Retrieved October 10, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Second judge nullifies North Carolina marriage ban - scotusblog.com". SCOTUSblog. October 14, 2014. Retrieved October 14, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Ohio judges divided on same-sex divorce - norwalkreflector.com". MCT Regional News. October 14, 2014. Retrieved October 14, 2014. 
  23. ^ "US Supreme Court refuses to block SC gay marriages - charlotteobserver.com". AP. November 20, 2014. Retrieved November 20, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Read the federal judge's decision striking down Texas's gay marriage ban - apps.washingtonpost.com". Washington Post. February 26, 2014. Retrieved February 26, 2014. 
  25. ^ "Judge in same-sex divorce case rules Texas gay marriage ban unconstitutional - lgbtqnation.com". LGBTQ Nation. April 24, 2014. Retrieved April 24, 2014. 
  26. ^ "Texas appeals court blocks ruling in same-sex couple’s divorce case - lgbtqnation.com". LGBTQ Nation. April 26, 2014. Retrieved April 26, 2014. 

External links[edit]