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, 28 U.S. states have enforceable amendments banning same-sex marriage in their state constitutions, including:
- 10 states where an order overturning the ban has been stayed, pending action by a higher court;
- 1 state, Kansas, subject to the precedent set when the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Kitchen v. Herbert;
- 1 state, Ohio, where an order that the state recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages has been been stayed, pending action by a higher court;
- 1 state, Tennessee, where a pre-trial preliminary injunction ordering that the state recognize the out-of-state same-sex marriages of the plaintiffs has been stayed, pending action by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Another 3 states, and 2 territories, enforce bans on same-sex marriage by statute, including Wyoming, which is subject to the precedent set by Kitchen v. Herbert, and Indiana, where an order overturning the ban has been stayed, pending action by a higher court.
On June 6, 2014, North Dakota became the last state to have their ban on same-sex marriage challenged in state or federal court. Currently, all states without marriage equality have court challenges in progress.  In keeping with the purpose of this article, cases will only be cited when there is a relevant ruling, or an unusual filing.
There are currently 19 U.S. states (plus the District of Columbia) that recognize in-state same-sex marriages.
Additionally, there are currently 3 U.S. states with limited recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriage:
- In Henry v. Wymyslo, Ohio has been ordered to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages, but the order is stayed except for the 4 named couples in the case;
- Missouri recognizes out-of-state same-sex marriages for tax-filing purposes, and has granted a divorce to a same-sex couple legally married in Massachusetts;
- The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered Indiana to immediately recognize the marriage of two of the plaintiffs in Baskin v. Bogan, while the appeal in the case proceeds.
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.
- Def. means constitutional definition amendment for the corresponding unions or partnership. When it happens to be the same constitutional definition amendment as the link in the Marriage restricted to opposite-sex couples only - Constitution column, the Def. and Status columns have been merged. Otherwise another link is proposed to the other relevant amendment in the Def. column in relevant cases.
- 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||No||No||None||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 Colorado District Court decision||Yes||Yes||No||None||Civil unions available since 2013.
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.
|Connecticut||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||None||None||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||No||None||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||None||No||Legal|
|Idaho||Yes||Yes||Banned, pending final disposition of U.S. Magistrate's decision||No||No||A US Chief Magistrate has ruled that Idaho's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The order has been stayed, pending a review by Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.|
|Indiana||No||Yes||Banned, pending final disposition of U.S. District Court decision||No||None||No||None||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.
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||None||Kansas is subject to the precedent set when the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Kitchen v. Herbert, which is stayed pending action by the Supreme Court.|
|Kentucky||Yes||Yes||Banned, pending final disposition of U.S. District Court decision||Banned||No||None||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 are to be 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 is scheduled to hear the case on August 6, 2014.
|Maine||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||None||Yes, limited rights||Legal||Domestic Partnerships for same-sex and opposite-sex partners since 2004.|
|Maryland||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||None||Yes, limited rights||Legal||Unregistered Domestic Partnerships have been available to same-sex and opposite-sex partners since 2008.|
|Michigan||Yes||Yes||Banned, pending final disposition of U.S. District Court decision||No||None||No||None||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 is scheduled to hear the case on August 6, 2014.|
|Missouri||Yes||Yes||Banned||No||None||No||None||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||None||Yes||Yes||Domestic partnerships available since 2009. 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.|
|New Hampshire||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||No||None||Civil unions were available between 2009 and 2009. All existing civil unions converted into civil marriages on January 1, 2011.|
|New Jersey||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Legal||No||Limited||New Domestic Partnerships (same-sex or opposite-sex) can only be entered into if both parties are aged 62 or over.|
|Ohio||Yes||Yes||Banned||Banned, pending final disposition of U.S. District Court decision||Banned||No||None||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. District Court decision||Banned||No||None||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 is stayed, while on appeal to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.
|Oregon||No||No||Legal by US District Court Decision.||Yes||No||None
||Yes||Yes||Oregon has recognized all out-of-state same-sex marriages since October 17, 2013.
On May 19, 2014, in Geiger v. Kitzhaber, the United States District Court for the District of Oregon ruled Oregon's ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional. The Supreme Court has refused a stay request from the National Organization for Marriage.
|Rhode Island||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||No||None||Civil unions were only available between 2011 and 2013, and did not convert into civil marriages.|
|Tennessee||Yes||Yes||Banned||Banned - See Note||No||None||No||None||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 is scheduled to hear the case on August 6, 2014.|
|Texas||Yes||Yes||Banned, pending final disposition of U.S. District Court decision||Banned||No||None||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. District Court decision||No||No||None||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. Utah is appealing the ruling.
|Vermont||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||No||None||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. District Court decision||Banned||Banned||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 is stayed, while on appeal to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.|
|Washington||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||None||No||Legal||All existing Domestic Partnerships, where both parties were under age 62, converted into civil marriages on June 30, 2014. New Domestic Partnerships can only be contracted if at least one party is aged 62 or older.|
|West Virginia||No||Yes||No||No||No||None||No||None||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||Banned, pending final disposition of U.S. District Court decision||No||Yes||Legal||Limited rights available since 2009. 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 Constiution.". The ruling has been stayed, pending action by Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.|
|Wyoming||No||Yes||No||No||No||None||No||None||Wyoming's ban on same-sex marriage dates to 1977, which pre-dates DOMA.|
|Restricted to opposite-sex couples only by||Result for same sex-marriages||Civil Unions||Domestic
- 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.
- "Ohio Ordered To Recognize Out-Of-State Gay Marriages - wutc.org". NPR. April 14, 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-14.
- "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.
- "Appeals court orders state to recognize one same-sex marriage - indystar.com". Indy Star. July 1, 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-01.
- "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.
- "Federal Judge Strikes Down Idaho's Gay Marriage Ban - magicvalley.com". Magic Valley. May 13, 2014. Retrieved 2014-05-14.
- "7th Circuit Court grants motion to stay, halts same-sex marriage in Indiana - theindychannel.com". The Indy Channel. June 27, 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-27.
- "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.
- Heide Brandes (1 November 2013). "Oklahoma gay couple marry under Native American law". Reuters. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
- Oregon to begin recognizing same-sex marriages performed out of state/
- "Oregon gay marriage ban struck down by federal judge; same-sex marriages to begin - oregonlive.com". The Oregonian. May 19, 2014. Retrieved 2014-05-19.
- "U.S. High Court Refuses to Halt Gay Marriages in Oregon - bloomberg.com". Bloomberg. June 4, 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-04.
- "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.
- "Utah to Appeal Ruling Requiring Recognition of Same-Sex Marriages - utahpoliticalcapitol.com". Utah Political Capitol. June 5, 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-05.
- "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.
- "Same sex marriage on hold after one week - wiscnews.com". AP. June 13, 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-13.
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