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 one man and one woman in at least 38 states and defined as the union of two U.S. citizens by the federal government as of June 26, 2013 . Currently, 32 states have added amendments banning same-sex unions to their constitutions. There are currently 15 jurisdictions (including 14 states) that recognize same-sex marriages (plus the District of Columbia), and 8 states recognize some form of same-sex union recognition (being either civil unions or domestic partnerships).
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 squares show what is allowed and green ones, potential changes in the near future.
- The notes column gives better detail and recent possibilities.
|California||No||No (°)||Legal by June 28, 2013 court order following on June 26 US Supreme Court decision.
Proposition 8 ban upheld by California Supreme Court.
Ban overturned by the District Court for Northern California; ruling affirmed by Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals; June 26, 2013: US Supreme Court found challengers of 9th Circuit decision had no standing.
||Yes since 1999||Yes||Main article:
Same-sex marriage in California
Original 1999 domestic partnerships law granted only hospital visitation rights, but scope gradually expanded to include virtually all the legal rights, duties and responsibilities of marriage, like neighboring Nevada and Oregon, so California domestic partnership is the same as other states' civil union (e.g. Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois and New Jersey).
|Colorado||Yes||Yes||Banned||Yes.||Yes||Yes since 2009||Legal*||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. In 2013, SB-11 (Civil Union Bill 2013) passed the Colorado legislature in March 2013 (by a 21-14 vote in the Senate and by a 39-26 vote in the House). The Civil Union Bill (SB-11) has been signed into law by the Colorado Governor John W. Hickenlooper a week later from passing and the law went into effect on May 1, 2013.|
decision, then by legislation.
|Yes||Converted into civil marriage on 1 October 2010||Converted into civil marriage on 1 October 2010||None||None||Main article:
Same-sex marriage in Connecticut
Connecticut allows full civil marriage licenses to same-sex couples since November 2008 and all civil unions converted into civil marriage on 1 October 2010.
|Delaware||No||Yes||Legal by signed legislation||Yes||Yes, to be converted to civil marriage July 1, 2014.||Yes, to be converted to civil marriage July 1, 2014.||No||None||In 2011, the Delaware state legislature passed and the Governor signed the Civil Union and Equality Act 2011 into law. The law commenced at 10am on 1/1/2012. In 2013, the Delaware state legislature passed and the Governor signed the Civil Marriage Equality and Religious Freedom Act 2013 into law. The law goes into effect on midnight 7/1/2013. On the 7/1/2014, all existing civil unions will automatically be converted into civil marriage (like Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire have done).|
|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*||Yes*||As of December 2013, the cities of Miami and Tampa, as well as the counties of Broward, Leon, Orange, and Volusia all have Domestic Partnership Registries|
|Hawaii||No||Yes||Legal by signed legislation||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes since 1997.||Legal*||Constitutional amendment enacted in 1998 empowers the legislature to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples but does not ban same-sex marriage outright. Since 1997, there have been minimal benefits available to all adults (including relatives); official terminology is reciprocal beneficiary relationship*.
In 2011, the Hawaii State Legislature passed and the Governor signed into law the Civil Union Act 2011 No 1. The law became effective from midnight January 1, 2012. In November 2013, the Legislature passed SB1 legalizing same-sex marriage, which was signed by the governor. The law took effect on December 2, 2013.
|Illinois||No||Yes||Legal by signed legislation||Yes, as civil unions only||Yes.||Yes||No||None||The "Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Bill" passed the 2010 Illinois General Assembly in just 2 days, was signed into law on January 28, 2011 by the Governor and became effective on June 1, 2011. See Civil union in the United States#Illinois. In November 2013 the Illinois General Assembly passed the "Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Bill", the Illinois Governor Pat Quinn then signed it and the law (called SB10) becomes effective from June 1, 2014.|
|Indiana||No||Yes||Not legal||Not legal||No||None||No||None||Legislative initiative to start a ban ballot voted on and passed in the 2011 Legislative session and must pass again in the same format in the next legislative session.|
Same-sex marriage in Iowa
In August 2007, Polk County judge ruled Iowa's statutory ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, but ruling was quickly stayed and appealed. On appeal, the Iowa Supreme Court upheld the Polk County ruling in the case of Varnum v. Brien.
Legislative initiative to begin constitutional ban ballot process was unsuccessful in 2009. Republicans will continue to try to push for these ballot bans in the next Legislative sessions, while the Democrats will continue to oppose ballot bans in the next legislative sessions.
|Maine||No||Yes||Legal ("Approved" by 53% of voters)||Yes||No||None||Yes, limited rights (both opposite sex and same sex since 2004)||Legal*||Main article:
Same-sex marriage in Maine
In 2009, the Maine legislature legalized same-sex marriage in the state, and it was signed into law, but it was repealed just months later by the "people's veto" won with 52.9 percent of the vote. In 2012, a LGBT rights group called Equality Maine announced that in November 2012 voters would be asked again about the issue at the ballot box. Maine voters reversed their previous veto, and with the support of 53% of voters, legal same-sex marriage came into effect on December 29, 2012.
|Maryland||No||Yes||Legal ("Approved" by 52% of voters)||Yes||No||None||Yes, limited rights (unregistered DPs are for both opposite sex and same sex since 2008)||Legal*||Main article:
Same-sex marriage in Maryland
"The first state law defining marriage as a union between a man and woman was adopted by Maryland in 1973." Since 2010, same-sex marriage has been recognised in Maryland and for years bills have been introduced to the Maryland Legislature that allows same sex marriage. In 2012, the Maryland House by a vote of 72-67 passed the Civil Marriage Protection Bill 2012, then a week later the same bill passed the Maryland Senate by a vote of 25-21. The bill got signed into law on March 1, 2012 by Martin O’Malley. The referendum in November was approved with 52% support and becomes effective from January 1, 2013.
Same-sex marriage in Massachusetts
|Minnesota||No. Proposed amendment rejected by voters in 2012.||Legal.||Legal, by signed legislation.||Legal.||No||None||No||None||On November 6, 2012, Minnesota voters struck down a legislatively referred constitutional amendment that would have placed language in the Minnesota Constitution banning same-sex marriage. The amendment was defeated with 53% voting "no" and 47% voting "yes". A majority of voters having voted "no", Minnesota became the second state (after Arizona in 2006) to reject an amendment of this kind and uphold the state constitution in its unaltered state. On 5/5/2013, the Minnesota House voted 75-59 to legalize same-sex marriage. On 5/13/2013, the Minnesota Senate approved the bill 37-30. Governor Mark Dayton signed the bill on 5/14/2013, and marriages will begin 8/1/2013.|
|Nevada||Yes||No||Banned||No||No||Yes||Yes||Domestic partnership legislation in Nevada is similar to Oregon.|
|New Hampshire||No||No||Legal by signed legislation||Yes||Converted into civil marriage on 1 January 2011.||Converted into civil marriage on 1 January 2011.||No||None||Since 1/1/2010, New Hampshire allows full civil marriage licenses to same-sex couples and all civil unions automatically converted into civil marriage a year later.|
|New Jersey||No||No||Legal, by provisional, unanimous (7-0 vote) New Jersey Supreme Court order 10/18/13.||Yes.||Yes||Legal||No||No more
Same-sex marriage in New Jersey
|New Mexico||No||No||Varies, licenses issued in Santa Fe County, Bernalillo County, Doña Ana County, Taos County, San Miguel County, and Valencia County, Los Alamos County.||Varies||No||None||No||None||New Mexico is the only state in the United States that does not define marriage within statute, which effectively means the state is neutral on the definition of marriage. Both civil unions or domestic partnerships are not available as well within New Mexico. A series of court rulings in 2013 has resulted in marriage licenses being issued to same-sex couples only in 7 counties: Santa Fe County, Bernalillo County, Doña Ana County, Taos County, San Miguel County, Los Alamos County, and Valencia County.|
|New York||Yes||Yes||Legal by signed legislation||Yes.||No||None||No||None||Main article:
Same-sex marriage in New York The Marriage Equality Act 2011 passed the 2011 New York State Legislature (after a 33-29 vote in the NY state Senate) on 6/24/2011 and then two hours later the bill got signed into law by the Governor and became effective 30 days later.
|Oklahoma||Yes||Yes||Banned||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.|
|Oregon||Yes||No||Banned* Since October 17, 2013, the state of Oregon begins recognizing all out-of-state same-sex marriages, but same-sex marriages can not still be performed within the state.||No||Legal
Same-sex marriage in Oregon
Domestic partnership legislation in Oregon is very similar to both California and Nevada just next door. Since October 17, 2013, the state of Oregon begins recognizing all out-of-state same-sex marriages, but same-sex marriages can not still be performed within the state.
|Pennsylvania||No||Yes||Not legal||Not legal||No||None||No||None||Legislative initiative to start a ban ballot voted on and passed in the 2011 Legislative session and must pass again in the same format in the next legislative session.|
|Rhode Island||No||Yes||Legal by signed legislation.||Yes since 2012.||Converted into civil marriage on August 1, 2013.||Converted into civil marriage on August 1, 2013.||No||None||Since 1/8/2013 same-sex marriage is legal in Rhode Island and all current civil unions will automatically be converted into civil marriages - under a bill that passed by the Rhode Island Legislature and signed into law by the Governor in May 2013. Since 2012, Rhode Island does recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions and extend limited rights to same-sex couples. The Civil Union Bill passed the Rhode Island Legislature on 28 June 2011 and was signed into law on July 2, 2011 by the Governor and was made retrospective from 1 July 2011. On the 8/1/2013, all existing civil unions will automatically be converted into civil marriage (like Connecticut, Delaware and New Hampshire have done).|
|Vermont||No||No||Legal by override of Governor's veto||Yes||No||Between 2000 to 2009 only
|No||None||Vermont practically invented the term "civil union" in 1999 after the state court case of Baker v. Vermont. In 2000, the Vermont Legislature passed the Civil Union Bill and got signed into law by then Governor Howard Dean. In 2009, Vermont then allowed civil marriage licences to same-sex couples, after the Civil Marriage Equality And Religious Freedoms Bill passed the Vermont Legislature, then the Governor Jim Douglas vetoed the bill and then the veto was overridden. Civil unions are still recognized between 2000 to 2009, but after 2009 can not be performed - also there is no "conversion into civil marriage" as the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island and New Hampshire have done next door.|
|Washington||No||Yes||Legal ("Approved" by 54% of voters)
||Yes. All current domestic partnerships where neither party is age 62 or over on June 30, 2014 converts into civil marriage automatically.||No||None||Yes, legal until June 30, 2014, then converted into civil marriages. After that only legal where at least one party is age 62 or over.||Legal until June 30, 2014, then converted into civil marriages.||Main article:
Same-sex marriage in Washington
A law passed in 2007 to establish domestic partnerships similar to California, Oregon and Nevada just next door and then in 2008 the domestic partnership law expanded. The 2009 reforms called the "everything-but-marriage law" came into effect from December 3, 2009 was approved by 53 percent of voters under Washington Referendum 71 (2009). In July 2011, a law passed that will allow same-sex marriage and other same-sex unions (such as civil unions or domestic partnerships) from another state to be recognized as domestic partnerships under WA state law In February 2012, the Washington state legislature passed SB6239 that deals with the legislation to allow same sex marriage and enhance religious freedoms. The bill got to the last stage with a signature from a Democrat Governor Christine Gregoire The referendum in November on the subject of same sex marriage passed with 54% approved and became effective on December 6, 2012. From June 30, 2014 all current domestic partnerships where neither party is age 62 or over will automatically convert into civil marriages.
|West Virginia||No||Yes||Not legal||Not legal||No||None||No||None||Petitions are made to start a ban ballot, however that is not possible due to the Democrats controlling both houses.|
|Wisconsin||Yes||Yes||Banned||Banned||Yes||Legal||Domestic partnerships provide certain limited rights since 2009.|
|Wyoming||No||Yes||Not legal||Not legal||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
- Stateline.org 50-state rundown on gay marriage laws Accessed November 4, 2008
- Human Rights Campaign State by State Information Accessed November 14, 2006
- "California high court upholds same-sex marriage ban - CNN.com". CNN. May 27, 2009. Retrieved 2010-05-23.
- "Illinois General Assembly - Bill Status for SB0010". Ilga.gov. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
- Wisniewski, Mary (2013-11-20). "Illinois governor signs same-sex marriage into law - Yahoo News Canada". Ca.news.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
- "Gay Marriage Question To Appear On Maine Ballot - On Top Magazine | Gay news & entertainment". Ontopmag.com. 2012-01-26. Retrieved 2012-11-28.
- Grindley, Lucas (2012-02-17). "Last Minute Win Maryland House Passes Marriage". Advocate.com. Retrieved 2012-11-28.
- "Maryland Senate Approves Gay Marriage Bill - On Top Magazine | Gay news & entertainment". Ontopmag.com. 2012-02-23. Retrieved 2012-11-28.
- "Maryland Now Eighth State To Legalize Gay Marriage - On Top Magazine | Gay news & entertainment". Ontopmag.com. 2012-03-01. Retrieved 2012-11-28.
- "The Minnesota same-sex marriage bill, in context | Minnesota Public Radio News". Minnesota.publicradio.org. 2013-05-12. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
- Ohlheiser, Abby (2013-08-26). "New Mexico's Largest County Will Begin Issuing Same-Sex Marriage Licenses". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2013-08-26.
- Clausing, Jeri (2013-08-27). "Three more N.M. counties to issue marriage licenses to gay couples". LGBTQ Nation. Retrieved 2013-08-28.
- "New York moves to become 6th state to legalize gay marriage". CNN. 25 June 2011.
- Heide Brandes (Friday, 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/
- Chafee, Lincoln D. "Recognition of Out-of-State, Same Sex Marriages". State of Rhode Island. Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders. Retrieved 28 November 2012.
- "Vermont Legalizes Gay Marriage". WCAX-TV. 2009-04-07. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
- "Washington Senate Approves Gay Marriage Recognition Bill - On Top Magazine | Gay news & entertainment". Ontopmag.com. 2011-03-31. Retrieved 2012-11-28.
- "SB 6239 - 2011-12". Apps.leg.wa.gov. Retrieved 2012-11-28.
- "Washington Becomes Seventh State To Legalize Gay Marriage - On Top Magazine | Gay news & entertainment". Ontopmag.com. 2012-02-13. Retrieved 2012-11-28.
- "Gay Marriage Bill Clears Washington House - On Top Magazine | Gay news & entertainment". Ontopmag.com. 2012-02-08. Retrieved 2012-11-28.
- "Notice regarding same sex marriage and domestic partnerships". Office of the Secretary of State, State of Washington. 2012-12-06. Retrieved 2013-06-14.
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