Same-sex marriage status in the United States by state
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. 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.
Currently, 29 U.S. states have enforceable amendments banning same-sex marriage in their state constitutions, including 7 states where an order overturning the ban has been stayed, pending action by a higher court. Another 4 states, and 2 territories, enforce bans by statute.
As of early April 2014, only 5 state bans to same-sex marriage were not being challenged in state or federal court (Alaska, Georgia, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota). 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 17 U.S. states (plus the District of Columbia) that recognize in-state same-sex marriages.
Additionally, there are currently 4 U.S. states with full or limited recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriage:
- Oregon fully recognizes out-of-state same-sex marriages;
- 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;
- Tennessee has been ordered to recognize the existing same-sex marriages of the 3 plaintiff couples in Tanco v. Haslam;
- Missouri recognizes out-of-state same-sex marriages for tax-filing purposes only.
Many cities and counties in the United States also have domestic partnership registries including those in Florida and Arizona where there is no state recognition of any kind.
Below is the status of the law in each of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia.
- The Marriage Defined 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 Defined - 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 notes column gives better detail and recent possibilities.
|Arizona||Yes||Yes||Banned||Yes, depending on the city.||Yes, depending on the city.||No||None||Main article:
Recognition of same-sex unions in Arizona
|California||No||No (°)||Legal by US District Court decision||Yes||No||None
||Yes since 1999||Yes||Main articles:
Same-sex marriage in California
Domestic partnership in California
|Colorado||Yes||Yes||Banned||Yes, since 2013.||Yes||No||None*||On a ballot in November 2006, Colorado banned marriage but rejected a referendum to allow a "civil union"-like domestic partnership, sustained by a constitutional amendment. See also this table. Since 2013, Colorado provides civil unions under the Civil Union Act 2013|
decision, then by legislation.
|Yes||No||From 2005 to 2010 only.||None||None||Main article:
Same-sex marriage in Connecticut
|Delaware||No||No||Legal by signed legislation||Yes||No.||From 2012 to 2013 only.||No||None||Main article:
Same-sex marriage in Delaware
|District of Columbia||No||No||Legal by Council vote||Yes||No||None||No||Legal*||Main article: Same-sex marriage in the District of Columbia
Domestic partnerships were enacted in 1992; implemented from 2002 and then expanded over time to 2009. Same-sex marriages were legalized on December 18, 2009 and same-sex marriages began on March 9, 2010.
|Florida||Yes||Yes||Banned||Banned||Yes, depending on the city/county.*||Yes, depending on the city/county.*||As of April 2014, the cities of Miami, Orlando, and Tampa, as well as the counties of Broward, Leon, Orange, and Volusia all have Domestic Partnership Registries|
|Hawaii||No||No||Legal by signed legislation||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes since 1997.||Legal*||Main article:
Same-sex marriage in Hawaii
|Illinois||No||No||Legal by signed legislation||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||None||Main article:
Same-sex marriage in Illinois
|Indiana||No||Yes||Not legal||No||No||None||No||None||A legislative initiative for a ballot measure to amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage was passed in the 2014 Legislative session. Since an identical measure must be passed in two consecutive sessions before it can be put before the voters, an amendment to the state constitution cannot appear on the ballot before 2016.|
Same-sex marriage in Iowa
|Kentucky||Yes||Yes||Banned||Banned, pending final disposition of U.S. District Court decision||Banned||No||None||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, pending review by higher courts.
On September 10, 2013 the Kentucky Equality Federation sued the Commonwealth of Kentucky in Franklin Circuit Court claiming Kentucky's 2004 Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage violated sections of the commonwealth's constitution. Case # 13-CI-1074 was assigned by the Franklin County Court Clerk (the location of the Kentucky State Capitol). The case remains open and no determination has been reached by the court. The lawsuit was conceived by President Jordan Palmer, written and signed by Vice President of Legal Jillian Hall, Esq. Palmer stated to the media that "Kentucky added a facially unconstitutional amendment to its constitution via a ballot initiative process. Thus, the attempt to abrogate constitutional sensibilities in favor of a ballot initiative, as was done for Section 233A of the Kentucky Constitution in 2004, is against the very notion of equal protection as guaranteed to each and all of Kentucky’s population. This should be held as true as a matter of law by the Courts, regardless of the ballot’s outcome."
|Maine||No||No||Legal ("Approved" by 53% of voters)||Yes||No||None||Yes, limited rights||Legal*||Main article:
Same-sex marriage in Maine
|Maryland||No||No||Legal ("Approved" by 52% of voters)||Yes||No||None||Yes, limited rights||Legal*||Main article:
Same-sex marriage in Maryland
Same-sex marriage in Massachusetts
|Michigan||No||No||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 Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has stayed the ruling.|
|Minnesota||No.||No.||Legal, by signed legislation.||Yes||No||None||No||None||Main article:
Same-sex marriage in Minnesota
|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.|
|Nevada||Yes||Yes||Banned||No||None||Yes||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.|
|New Hampshire||No||No||Legal by signed legislation||Yes||No||From 2008 to 2009 only.||No||None||Main article:
Same-sex marriage in New Hampshire
|New Jersey||No||No||Legal, by Superior Court ruling||Yes.||Yes||Legal||No||Limited||Main article:
Same-sex marriage in New Jersey
|New Mexico||No||No||Legal, by New Mexico Supreme Court decision.||Yes.||No||None||No||None||Main article: Same-sex marriage in New Mexico|
|New York||No||No||Legal by signed legislation||Yes.||No||None||No||None||Main article:
Same-sex marriage in New York
|Ohio||Yes||Yes||Banned||Complicated - See Note||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 recognise valid same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions for death certificate purposes only. The decision is stayed, pending appeal to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
|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.
||Yes||Yes||Main article: Same-sex marriage in Oregon
Since October 17, 2013, Oregon has recognized all out-of-state same-sex marriages, but same-sex marriages can not still be performed within the state.
|Rhode Island||No||No||Legal by signed legislation.||Yes||No||Only from 2011 to 2013.||No||None||Main article: Same-sex marriage in Rhode Island
|Tennessee||Yes||Yes||Banned||Complicated - See Note||No||None||No||None||The United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee has issued a preliminary injunction in Tanco v. Haslam that the state recognize the same-sex marriages of the plaintiffs.|
|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.|
|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 is stayed, while on appeal to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.|
|Vermont||No||No||Legal by override of Governor's veto||Yes||No||From 2000 to 2009 only||No||None||Main article:
Same-sex marriage in Vermont
The law authorizing same-sex marriage became effective September 1, 2009, but there was no automatic conversion of existing civil unions into 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||Legal ("Approved" by 54% of voters)||Yes.||No||None||No||Legal||Main article:
Same-sex marriage in Washington
|West Virginia||No||Yes||Not legal||No||No||None||No||None|
|Wisconsin||Yes||Yes||Banned||Banned||Yes, limited rights||Legal||Domestic partnerships provide certain limited rights since 2009.|
|Wyoming||No||Yes||Not legal||No||No||None||No||None||State law pre-dates DOMA.|
- 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
- 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
- "55 gay marriage cases, and counting - sdgln.com". San Diego Gay & Lesbian News. April 1, 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
- "Ohio Ordered To Recognize Out-Of-State Gay Marriages - wutc.org". NPR. April 14, 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-14.
- "Federal judge: Same-sex marriage legal for some Tennessee couples - dnj.com". Gannett Tennessee. March 14, 2014. Retrieved 2014-03-14.
- Human Rights Campaign State by State Information Accessed November 14, 2006
- "SAME-SEX MARRIAGE NOW LEGALLY RECOGNIZED IN KY. - hosted.ap.org". AP. February 27, 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-27.
- "Ky. Same-Sex Marriage Recognition Put on Hold - abcnews.go.com". AP. March 19, 2014. Retrieved 2014-03-19.
- "Digital copy of Kentucky Equality Federation v. Commonwealth of Kentucky". Kentucky Equality Federation. 2013-09-12. Retrieved 2013-12-21.
- Brammer, Jack. "Group files lawsuit challenging Kentucky's ban on same-sex marriage". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved 2013-12-23.
- 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.
- "Court indefinitely suspends gay marriage ban in Michigan". Associated Press. 25 March 2014. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
- "Missouri to accept joint tax returns from gay couples - kansascity.com". Kansas City Star. November 14, 2013. Retrieved 2014-02-23.
- 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/
- "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.
- "Vermont Legalizes Gay Marriage". WCAX-TV. 2009-04-07. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
- Stateline.org 50-state rundown on gay marriage laws Accessed November 4, 2008
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