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
  Same-sex marriage not prohibited or recognized
  Same-sex marriage ban overturned, decision stayed indefinitely
  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. Only select counties in Kansas issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples; same-sex marriage is not recognized by the state government.
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 allowed and recognized2
  Limited privileges granted by state to same-sex couples
  No prohibition or recognition of same-sex unions similar to marriage
  Same-sex unions ban overturned, decision stayed
  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.

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.[1]

In keeping with the purpose of this article, cases will only be cited when there is a relevant ruling, or an unusual filing.

Marriage summary[edit]

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.

34 states and the District of Columbia fully recognize same-sex marriage and allow issuance of same-sex marriage licenses across the jurisdiction.

The ban on same-sex marriage in Kansas has been struck down, but the state government is not recognizing same-sex marriages; see below for more details.

15 states and 2 territories explicitly prohibit same-sex marriage in their constitutions and by statute, including:

  • Missouri, where the situation is complicated - see below;
  • Florida, where the stay on the order overturning the ban will expire on January 5, 2015, after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene;
  • Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas, where orders overturning the bans have been indefinitely stayed, pending actions by higher courts.

3 territories neither prohibit nor recognize same-sex marriage.

Alabama, Arkansas, South Dakota, and Texas are currently awaiting court rulings on same-sex marriage (Simple icon time.svg).[2][3][4][5]

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 currently allowed and fully-recognized state-wide.
  • 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 U.S. District Court in compliance with Circuit Court of Appeals precedent, but the state is continuing the legal fight in support of the ban.
  • The clock symbol (Simple icon time.svg) 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, has been filed.
State, territory, or district Civil marriage Other unions Notes
Restriction 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 No 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.
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 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.[6] The order has been stayed pending review by the Arkansas Supreme Court, which heard the case on November 20, 2014.[7]

The ban has also been struck down in U.S. District Court; a decision that has also been stayed.[8]

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.

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 Previously Available No
Flag of Delaware.svg Delaware No No Yes Yes Previously Available No
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 U.S. 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.[9][10] If no further action is taken, the stay will expire on January 5, 2015. On December 19, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to extend the stay.[11]

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 in Monroe, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach counties.[12] In Broward County, a divorce has been granted to end a same-sex marriage, but this decision is open to appeal by the state.[13]

Flag of Georgia (U.S. state).svg Georgia Yes Yes Banned Banned Banned
Flag of Guam.svg Guam No 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 Limited Availability - See Note No - See Note Banned Banned Some Kansas counties are issuing same-sex marriage licenses, but the state government is refusing any recognition until all appeals have been exhausted.[14] The original complaint has been amended, in an attempt to compel state recognition.[15]
Flag of Kentucky.svg Kentucky Yes Yes Banned Banned Banned The ban was upheld by Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.[16]
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.[17]

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.[18]

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 Banned Banned The ban was upheld by Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.[16]
Flag of Minnesota.svg Minnesota No No Yes Yes No No
Flag of Mississippi.svg Mississippi Yes Yes 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.[19] The order has been stayed by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.[20]

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has announced that the appeal will be heard on January 9, 2015, by the same panel as the Louisiana and Texas cases.[21]

Flag of Missouri.svg Missouri Yes Yes Limited Availability -
See Note
Yes - See Note No No 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.[22] The state has announced that it will appeal the ruling, but will not seek a stay.[23]

As a result of a state court decision, Missouri also recognizes legally enacted same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.[24]

In Lawson v. Kelly, the state-wide ban on same-sex marriage was struck down in U.S. District Court, but the ruling has been stayed pending action by higher courts.[25]

Flag of Montana.svg Montana No No Yes Yes No No
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 Previously Available No
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
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 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 Banned Banned The ban was upheld by Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.[16]

In some cases, divorces have been granted to same-sex couples.[26]

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 Court of Appeals.
Flag of Rhode Island.svg Rhode Island No No Yes Yes Previously Available No
Flag of South Carolina.svg South Carolina No No Yes Yes No No
Flag of South Dakota.svg South Dakota Simple icon time.svg Yes Yes Banned - See Note Banned Banned Plaintiffs and South Dakota have requested that U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier rule on the motions, without a trial.[4]
Flag of Tennessee.svg Tennessee Yes Yes Banned No No The ban was upheld by Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.[16]
Flag of Texas.svg Texas Simple icon time.svg Yes Yes Banned, pending final disposition of U.S. District Court decision and/or Texas Supreme Court decision Banned Banned On November 5, 2013, the Texas Supreme Court heard arguments in two cases where same-sex couples married elsewhere were seeking divorce in Texas.[5]

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.[27] The decision is stayed, pending an appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is scheduled for January 9, 2015.[18]

Flag of the United States Virgin Islands.svgU.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 Previously Available No
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
Restriction Same-sex marriage Civil Unions Domestic
Partnership
Constitution Statute Licenses Recognition

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

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

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 U.S. District Court, and an appeal has been filed with the First Circuit Court of Appeals.
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
Appeals of cases from all three states will be heard by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on January 9, 2015.

Plaintiffs in the Louisiana case have also filed a petition for writ of certiorari for Supreme Court review.[28]

US-CourtOfAppeals-6thCircuit-Seal.png
Sixth
Kentucky
Michigan
Ohio
Tennessee
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the bans in all four states.[16]

Petitions for writ of certiorari for Supreme Court review of the Sixth Circuit decision have been filed from cases in all four states.[29]

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 in state and federal courts.

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 higher courts.

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
The ban in Kansas has been struck down in U.S. District Court, but while some counties are issuing same-sex marriage licenses, the state government is refusing any recognition until all appeals have been exhausted.[14] The original complaint has been amended, in an attempt to force state recognition.[15]
US-CourtOfAppeals-11thCircuit-Seal.png
Eleventh
Alabama
Georgia
Florida The stay on the order overturning the ban in Florida will expire on January 5, 2015, after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene;[11]
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

See also[edit]

In general[edit]

In the United States of America[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "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. 
  2. ^ "Lesbian couple embroiled in federal lawsuit 'optimistic' as judge weighs options - al.com". AL.com. November 20, 2014. Retrieved November 20, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Courts make no decision on gay marriage arguments - westport-news.com". AP. November 20, 2014. Retrieved November 20, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Both Sides Want Judge To Rule On Gay Marriage - kdlt.com". AP. November 25, 2014. Retrieved December 2, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "Texas high court to consider state jurisdiction over same-sex divorces - lgbtqnation.com". AP. August 24, 2013. Retrieved December 2, 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. ^ "Federal Judge Overturns Arkansas' Gay Marriage Ban - arkansasbusiness.com". AP. November 25, 2014. Retrieved November 25, 2014. 
  9. ^ "BREAKING: Federal Judge Strikes Down Florida Gay Marriage Ban - wfsu.org". WFSU. August 21, 2014. Retrieved August 21, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Death Certificate Recognizing Her Marriage to Partner of 47 Years - aclu.org". ACLU Press Release. October 8, 2014. Retrieved October 8, 2014. 
  11. ^ a b "Florida Stay Denied - scribd.com". SCOTUS. December 19, 2014. Retrieved December 19, 2014. 
  12. ^ "4th judge overturns Fla. same-sex marriage ban - miamiherald.com". AP. August 5, 2014. Retrieved August 5, 2014. 
  13. ^ "First Florida gay divorce granted by Broward County judge - myfoxtampabay.com". FOX 13. December 17, 2014. Retrieved December 17, 2014. 
  14. ^ a b "Kansas agencies not recognizing gay marriages yet - ljworld.com". AP. November 20, 2014. Retrieved November 20, 2014. 
  15. ^ a b "ACLU amends same-sex marriage lawsuit - 6lawrence.com". AP. November 26, 2014. Retrieved November 28, 2014. 
  16. ^ a b c d e "Gay marriage bans in four states upheld on appeal - usatoday.com". USA Today. November 6, 2014. Retrieved November 6, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Louisiana same-sex marriage ruling stayed pending appeal, attorney general says - nola.com". Times-Picayune. September 26, 2014. Retrieved September 26, 2014. 
  18. ^ a b "Texas gay-marriage case to be heard Jan. 9 - statesman.com". American-Statesman. November 20, 2014. Retrieved November 20, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Mississippi’s Same-Sex Marriage Ban Is Unconstitutional, Federal Judge Rules - buzzfeed.com". BuzzFeed. November 25, 2014. Retrieved November 25, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Federal appeals court stays Miss. marriage ruling - washingtonblade.com". Washington Blade. December 4, 2014. Retrieved December 4, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Speedy appeal granted in Mississippi gay marriage case - clarionledger.com". AP. December 4, 2014. Retrieved December 4, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Gay marriage now legal in Missouri - but only in St Louis - gaystarnews.com". Gay Star News. November 5, 2014. Retrieved November 5, 2014. 
  23. ^ "St. Louis Judge Rules Missouri Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional - ozarksfirst.com". Ozarks First. November 5, 2014. Retrieved November 5, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Koster won't appeal same-sex marriage ruling - news-leader.com". AP. October 6, 2014. Retrieved October 6, 2014. 
  25. ^ "Missouri ban on gay marriage unconstitutional-federal judge - townhall.com". Reuters. November 7, 2014. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 
  26. ^ "Ohio judges divided on same-sex divorce - norwalkreflector.com". MCT Regional News. October 14, 2014. Retrieved October 14, 2014. 
  27. ^ "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. 
  28. ^ "Supreme Court asked to rule on Louisiana same-sex marriage case - jurist.org". Jurist. November 21, 2014. Retrieved November 23, 2014. 
  29. ^ "Same-sex marriage: A simple appeal - scotusblog.com". SCOTUSblog. November 18, 2014. Retrieved November 23, 2014. 

External links[edit]