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Same-sex marriage in the United States

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On June 26, 2015, the United States became the twenty-first and most populous country to legalize same-sex marriage,[1] as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges.[2][3] The court ruled that the denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples violates the Due Process and the Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The ruling overturned a previous precedent, Baker v. Nelson.

Starting in 2003, various lower court decisions, state legislation, and popular referendums had already legalized same-sex marriage to some degree in thirty-seven out of fifty U.S. states, in one U.S. territory, and in the District of Columbia. Federal benefits were previously extended to lawfully married same-sex couples following the Supreme Court's June 2013 decision in United States v. Windsor.

History[edit]

The movement to obtain civil marriage rights and benefits for same-sex couples in the United States began in the 1970s,[4] but in the 1971 case Baker v. Nelson, the Minnesota Supreme Court denied that such a right existed on the grounds that procreation and childrearing were essential to the institution of marriage. The United States Supreme Court denied to hear the case on appeal. The issue did not become prominent in U.S. politics until the 1993 Hawaii Supreme Court decision in Baehr v. Lewin that declared that state's prohibition to be unconstitutional.[5] During the 21st century, public support for same-sex marriage has grown considerably,[6][7] and national polls conducted since 2011 show that a majority of Americans support legalizing it. On May 17, 2004, Massachusetts became the first U.S. state and the sixth jurisdiction in the world to legalize same-sex marriage following the Supreme Judicial Court's decision in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health six months earlier.[8] On May 9, 2012, Barack Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to publicly declare support for the legalization of same-sex marriage.[9] On November 6, 2012, Maine, Maryland, and Washington became the first states to legalize same-sex marriage through popular vote.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the law barring federal recognition of same-sex marriage in United States v. Windsor on June 26, 2013, U.S. district courts in 27 states[a] and state courts in six states,[b] plus one state court ruling addressing only the recognition of same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions,[c] have found that same-sex marriage bans violate the U.S. Constitution, while two U.S. district courts[d] and one state court[e] have found that they do not. The U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Fourth, Seventh, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits have affirmed the unconstitutionality of such bans. The Sixth Circuit, in contrast, did not. The panel reversed six U.S. district court rulings that found bans on same-sex marriage or its recognition unconstitutional in the four states served by the Sixth Circuit.[f][44]

On October 6, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear appeals in cases from Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin, leading to legal same-sex marriage in those states, and setting up invalidation of those bans in Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming. A decision on October 7, 2014, by the Ninth Circuit invalidating bans on same-sex marriage in Idaho and Nevada has also led to the invalidation of Alaska, Arizona, Guam and Montana's bans on same-sex marriage. Litigation seeking to reverse court decisions that resulted in the legalization of same-sex marriage continued in 10 states.[g]

On January 16, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear four cases, on appeal from the Sixth Circuit, on whether states may constitutionally ban same-sex marriages or refuse to recognize such marriages legally performed in another state. The cases were: Obergefell v. Hodges (Ohio), Tanco v. Haslam (Tennessee), DeBoer v. Snyder (Michigan), and Bourke v. Beshear (Kentucky). They were decided by the court under the heading of Obergefell on June 26, 2015, when a 5–4 majority of justices led by Justice Anthony Kennedy declared there is a constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry and reversed the Sixth Circuit's judgment.[54]

Before Obergefell[edit]

State laws regarding same-sex marriage in the United States prior to Obergefell v. Hodges1
  Same-sex marriage legal
  Same-sex marriage ban overturned, decision stayed indefinitely
  Same-sex marriage banned where federal circuit court has found similar bans unconstitutional
  Same-sex marriage banned
  Same-sex marriage legality complicated2,3,4

1 Native American tribal jurisdictions have laws pertaining to same-sex marriage independent of state law. The federal government recognizes same-sex marriages, regardless of the current state of residence.
2 Most counties in Alabama had issued same-sex marriage licenses for several weeks after a federal court legalized same-sex marriage, but all have stopped in response to a conflicting order by the state supreme court. However, the state court did not nullify same-sex marriage recognition. In addition, there is a stayed ruling overturning the state's same-sex marriage ban.
3 Many jurisdictions in Kansas issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but same-sex marriage is not recognized by the state government.
4 Same-sex marriage was legal in St. Louis, Missouri only. Legal same-sex marriages are recognized by the state government. The state's same-sex marriage ban has been overturned, but the decision is stayed indefinitely.

Prior to Obergefell, same-sex marriage was legal to at least some degree in thirty-seven states, one territory (Guam) and the District of Columbia; of the states, Missouri, Kansas, and Alabama had restrictions. Until United States v. Windsor, it was only legal in 12 states and Washington D.C.. Beginning in July 2013, over forty federal and state courts began citing Windsor to strike down state bans on the licensing and/or recognition of same-sex marriage. Missouri recognized same-sex marriages from out of state and same-sex marriages licensed by the City of St. Louis under two separate state court orders; two other jurisdictions issued such licenses as well. In Kansas, marriage licenses were available to same-sex couples in most counties, but the state did not recognize their validity. Some counties in Alabama issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples for three weeks until the state Supreme Court ordered probate judges to stop doing so. That court's ruling did not address the recognition of same-sex marriages already licensed in Alabama, but referred to them as "purported 'marriage licenses'".[55] In two additional states, same-sex marriages were previously legal between the time their bans were struck down and then stayed. Michigan recognized the validity of more than 300 marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples and those marriages. Arkansas recognized the more than 500 marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples there,[56] and the federal government had not taken a position on Arkansas's marriage licenses.

Legal issues[edit]

The legal issues surrounding same-sex marriage in the United States are determined by the nation's federal system of government, in which the status of a person, including marital status, is determined in large measure by the individual states. Prior to 1996, the federal government did not define marriage; any marriage recognized by a state was recognized by the federal government, even if that marriage was not recognized by one or more states, as was the case until 1967 with interracial marriage which some states banned by statute.

Civil same-sex marriage ceremony being performed in San Francisco City Hall in June 2008.

Prior to 2004, same-sex marriage was not performed in any U.S. jurisdiction. It was subsequently legalized in different jurisdictions through legislation, court rulings,[57] tribal council rulings,[58] and popular vote in referenda.[59][60][61]

The Supreme Court's ruling in Obergefell renders moot any remaining legal challenges, as it specifically orders states to both issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and to recognize as valid marriages performed in other states.[62]

Federal law[edit]

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was enacted in 1996. DOMA's Section 2 says that no state need recognize the legal validity of a same-sex relationship even if recognized as marriage by another state. It purports to relieve a state of its reciprocal obligation to honor the laws of other states as required by the Constitution's full faith and credit clause.[63] Even before DOMA, however, states sometimes refused to recognize a marriage from another jurisdiction if it was counter to its "strongly held public policies".[64] Most lawsuits that seek to require a state to recognize a marriage established in another jurisdiction argue on the basis of equal protection and due process, not the full faith and credit clause.[h]

DOMA's Section 3 defined marriage for the purposes of federal law as a union of one man and one woman.[67] It was challenged in the federal courts. On July 8, 2010, Judge Joseph Tauro of the District Court of Massachusetts held that the denial of federal rights and benefits to lawfully married Massachusetts same-sex couples is unconstitutional under the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.[68] Beginning in 2010, eight federal courts found DOMA Section 3 unconstitutional in cases involving bankruptcy, public employee benefits, estate taxes, and immigration.[69][70][71] On October 18, 2012, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals became the first court to hold sexual orientation to be a quasi-suspect classification and applied intermediate scrutiny to strike down Section 3 of DOMA as unconstitutional in Windsor v. United States.[72] The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Windsor on June 26, 2013, that Section 3 violated the Fifth Amendment.[73][i]

As a result of the Windsor decision, married same-sex couples—regardless of domicile—have federal tax benefits (including the ability to file joint federal income tax returns), military benefits, federal employment benefits, and immigration benefits.[74][75][76][77] In February 2014, the Justice Department expanded federal recognition of same-sex marriages to include bankruptcies, prison visits, survivor benefits and refusing to testify against a spouse.[78] Likewise in June 2014, family medical leave benefits under the Family Medical Leave Act 1975 were extended to married same-sex couples.[79] With respect to social security and veterans benefits, same-sex married couples who live in states where same-sex marriage is recognized are eligible for full benefits from the Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Social Security Administration (SSA). The VA and SSA can provide only limited benefits to married same-sex couples living in states where same-sex marriage is not legal.[80][81] Effective March 27, 2015, the definition of spouse under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993[82] includes employees in a same-sex marriage regardless of state of residence.[83]

The federal government recognizes the marriages of same-sex couples who married in certain states in which same-sex marriage was legal for brief periods between the time a court order allowed such couples to marry and that court order was stayed, including Michigan. The federal government also recognized marriages performed in Utah from December 20, 2013 to January 6, 2014, even while the state didn't. Under similar circumstances, the federal government never took a position on Indiana or Wisconsin's marriages performed in brief periods, though it did recognize them once the respective states announced they would do so. It has yet to take a position with respect to similar marriages in Arkansas.[84]

According to the federal government's Government Accountability Office (GAO) in 2004, more than 1,138 rights and protections are conferred to U.S. citizens upon marriage by the federal government; areas affected include Social Security benefits, veterans' benefits, health insurance, Medicaid, hospital visitation, estate taxes, retirement savings, pensions, family leave, and immigration law.[85]

Opponents of same-sex marriage have worked to prevent individual states from recognizing same-sex unions by attempting to amend the United States Constitution to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. In 2006, the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would prohibit states from recognizing same-sex marriages, was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on a party-line vote and was debated by the full Senate, but was ultimately defeated in both houses of Congress.[86] On April 2, 2014, the Alabama State House adopted a resolution calling for a constitutional convention to propose an amendment to ban same-sex marriage nationwide.[87]

State recognition[edit]

Recognition of same-sex marriage in the United States1
  Same-sex marriage legal
  Same-sex marriage legal, but not yet recognized2
  Same-sex marriage legal, but not yet recognized
  Same-sex marriage legal, not recognized3,4,5

1 Native American tribal jurisdictions have laws pertaining to same-sex marriage independent of state law. The federal government recognizes same-sex marriages, regardless of the current state of residence. Same-sex marriage is de jure legal nationwide (except maybe American Samoa) per U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges.
2 According to an executive order, government agencies in Puerto Rico must comply with the Supreme Court ruling within 15 days of it.
3 All jurisdictions within Kansas issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but same-sex marriage is not recognized by the state government.
4 Louisiana is not yet recognizing same-sex marriages, however, most parishes issue same-sex marriage licenses.
5 It is not clear whether or not the Supreme Court's precedent applies to American Samoa.


There are three components to the legalization of same-sex marriage: the licensing of same-sex marriages, recognizing the legal validity of those licenses, and the recognition of same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions,

Prior to Obergefell v. Hodges, jurisdictions where marriage licenses were issued to same-sex couples included 37 states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming), one territory (Guam), and the District of Columbia. All those jurisdictions recognized the validity of their licenses, except for Kansas, where the state government refused to recognize same-sex marriages (except for the Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and clerks in two counties who are under federal court order not to enforce the state's same-sex marriage ban). Kansas was also the only one of the above listed jurisdictions that failed to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions. Same-sex marriage licenses were not available in all jurisdictions in both Kansas and Missouri.[88] In Missouri, only Jackson County, St. Louis County, and the city of St. Louis issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. But only St. Louis is under court order to do so. Missouri does recognize same-sex marriages established in other jurisdictions.[89]

Most counties in Alabama issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples after a federal court ruling struck down the state's same-sex marriage ban. However, all counties have stopped issuing licenses to same-sex couples following a ruling by the Supreme Court of Alabama contrary to the federal judgment. The status of same-sex marriages performed before the state court ruling, as well as the state's recognition of same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions, is unclear.[90] At least 545 same-sex couples obtained marriage licenses and wed in Alabama between February 9 and March 3, 2015.[91]

Twelve states (Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas), as well as two territories (Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands), prohibited the licensing of same-sex marriages and their recognition from other jurisdictions. Michigan recognizes 323 same-sex marriages performed on March 22, 2014 in the state, the only day the ban was legally unenforceable.[92]

Two territories (American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands) did not have any law prohibiting or recognizing same-sex marriage. Both territories have language in their statutes that assume the parties to a marriage are male and female. Even with no prohibition, neither of these territories licensed same-sex marriage or recognized same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions. The American Samoa Code Annotated requires the parties to a marriage to identify themselves "son" and "daughter" of their parents and refers to the age of "the male" and "the female".[93] The Commonwealth Code of the Northern Mariana Islands refers to the domicile of husband and wife when addressing divorce and sets minimum ages for a man and woman when a marriage involves a non-citizen.[94]

Seven states (Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Texas) have one or more state or federal court rulings striking down the state's ban on same-sex marriage, and all have been stayed pending appeal. In Louisiana, a state court decision striking down the state's ban, affecting three parishes, has been stayed pending appeal.

Tribal law[edit]

In the United States, federally recognized Native American tribes have the legal right to form their own marriage laws.[95] There are 24 tribal jurisdictions that legally recognize same-sex marriage, including the Blackfoot Tribe,[96][97] the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Tribes of Alaska,[98] the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes,[99] the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians,[100] the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation,[101] the Coquille Indian Tribe,[102] the Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribes of the Fort McDermitt Indian Reservation,[103][104][105] the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation,[106][107] the Grand Portage Band of Chippewa,[108][109] the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel,[110] the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community,[61] the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa[111][112] the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe,[113] the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians,[114] the Mashantucket Pequot,[115] the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin,[116] the Pascua Yaqui Tribe,[117][118] the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians,[119] the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe,[120] the Puyallup Tribe of Indians,[121] the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community,[122][123] the San Carlos Apache Tribe,[124][125] the Suquamish Tribe[126] and the Wind River Indian Reservation.[127] Some tribes have passed legislation specifically addressing same-sex relationships and some tribes specify that state law and jurisdiction govern tribal marriages.

Local laws prior to Obergefell v. Hodges[edit]

States and territories that fully licensed/recognized same-sex marriage[edit]

Note: This table shows only states that licensed and recognized same-sex marriages or had legalized them, before Obergefell v. Hodges. It does not include states that recognized same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions but did not license them.

States and territories with same-sex marriage before Obergefell v. Hodges.
State or territory Population[128] Date of Enactment/Ruling Date Effective Legalization method Details
Alaska 736,732 October 12, 2014 October 17, 2014 Federal court decision U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska ruling in Hamby v. Parnell.[129]
Arizona 6,731,484 October 17, 2014 October 17, 2014 Federal court decision U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona ruling in Connolly v. Jeanes and in Majors v. Horne .[130]
California 38,802,500 May 15, 2008 June 16, 2008 State court decision → (Overturned by constitutional ban) California Supreme Court ruling in In re Marriage Cases. Ceased via state constitutional amendment after Proposition 8 passed on November 5, 2008.
August 4, 2010 June 28, 2013 Federal court decision → legislative statute U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruling in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, finding Proposition 8 unconstitutional. Stayed during appeal, affirmed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals as Perry v. Brown. Certiorari granted and appealed as Hollingsworth v. Perry to the U.S. Supreme Court; the high court dismissed Hollingsworth for lack of standing and vacated the Ninth Circuit decision below, resulting with the original decision in Perry left intact.[131] Gender-neutral marriage bill passed by the California State Legislature and signed into law took effect January 1, 2015.[132]
Colorado 5,355,866 July 9, 2014 October 7, 2014 State court decision Colorado district court ruling in Brinkman v. Long
July 23, 2014 Federal court decision U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado ruling in Burns v. Hickenlooper
Connecticut 3,596,677 October 10, 2008 November 12, 2008 State court decision → legislative statute Connecticut Supreme Court ruling in Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health; incorporated into state statutes in April 2009.
Delaware 935,614 May 7, 2013 July 1, 2013 Legislative statute Passed by the Delaware General Assembly.
District of Columbia 658,893 December 18, 2009 March 9, 2010 Legislative statute Passed by the Council of the District of Columbia.
Florida 19,893,297 August 21, 2014 January 6, 2015 Federal court decision U.S. Northern District of Florida ruling in Brenner v. Scott. The case is under appeal.[citation needed]
Guam 165,124 (not included in population total) June 5, 2015 June 9, 2015 Binding federal court precedent → Actions of territorial officials → Federal court decision Attorney General Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson deferred to the controlling precedent set by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Latta v. Otter, ordering that marriage licenses for same-sex couples be processed immediately beginning April 15, 2015.[133] District Court of Guam ruling in Aguero v. Calvo upholding the earlier decision by the Ninth Circuit.[134]
Hawaii 1,419,561 November 13, 2013 December 2, 2013 Legislative statute Hawaii Marriage Equality Act passed by Hawaii State Legislature.
Idaho 1,634,464 October 7, 2014 October 15, 2014 Federal court decision U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho ruling in Latta v. Otter,[135] upheld by the Ninth Circuit.[136]
Illinois 12,880,580 November 20, 2013 June 1, 2014 Legislative statute Passed by the Illinois General Assembly.
Indiana 6,596,855 September 4, 2014 October 6, 2014 Federal court decision U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana ruling in Baskin v. Bogan. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court's ruling.[137]
Iowa 3,107,126 April 3, 2009 April 27, 2009 State court decision Iowa Supreme Court ruling in Varnum v. Brien. One same-sex couple obtained a marriage licensed and married before initial ruling was stayed.[138]
Maine 1,330,089 November 6, 2012 December 29, 2012 Initiative statute Proposed by initiative as referendum Question 1, approved.
Maryland 5,976,407 November 6, 2012 January 1, 2013 Legislative statute → referendum Civil Marriage Protection Act passed by the Maryland General Assembly; petitioned to referendum Question 6, upheld.
Massachusetts 6,745,408 November 18, 2003 May 17, 2004 State court decision Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health.
Minnesota 5,457,173 May 14, 2013 August 1, 2013 Legislative statute Passed by the Minnesota Legislature.
Montana 1,023,579 November 19, 2014 November 19, 2014 Federal court decision U.S. District Court for the District of Montana ruling in Rolando v. Fox.[32]
Nevada 2,839,099 October 7, 2014 October 9, 2014 Federal court decision Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in Sevcik v. Sandoval. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada's ruling.[139]
New Hampshire 1,326,813 June 3, 2009 January 1, 2010 Legislative statute Passed by New Hampshire General Court.
New Jersey 8,938,175 September 27, 2013 October 21, 2013 State court decision New Jersey Superior Court ruling in Garden State Equality v. Dow
New Mexico 2,085,572 December 19, 2013 December 19, 2013 State court decision New Mexico Supreme Court ruling in Griego v. Oliver.
New York 19,746,227 June 24, 2011 July 24, 2011 Legislative statute Marriage Equality Act passed by New York State Legislature.
North Carolina 9,943,964 October 10, 2014 October 10, 2014 Federal court decision U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina ruling in General Synod of the United Church of Christ v. Cooper.[140]
Oklahoma 3,878,051 July 18, 2014 October 6, 2014 Federal court decision U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma ruling in Bishop v. Oklahoma. The Tenth Circuit affirmed the ruling in Bishop v. Smith.[141]
Oregon 3,970,239 May 19, 2014 May 19, 2014 Federal court decision U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon ruling in Geiger v. Kitzhaber.
Pennsylvania 12,787,209 May 20, 2014 May 20, 2014 Federal court decision U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania ruling in Whitewood v. Wolf.
Rhode Island 1,055,173 May 2, 2013 August 1, 2013 Legislative statute Passed by the Rhode Island General Assembly.
South Carolina 4,832,482 November 12, 2014 November 20, 2014 Federal court decision U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina ruling in Condon v. Haley.[142]
Utah 2,942,902 June 25, 2014 October 6, 2014 Federal court decision U.S. District Court for the District of Utah ruling in Kitchen v. Herbert. Marriages licensed between December 20, 2013, and January 6, 2014. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court ruling in Kitchen v. Herbert.
Vermont 626,562 April 7, 2009 September 1, 2009 Legislative statute Passed by the Vermont General Assembly, overriding Governor Jim Douglas' veto.
Virginia 8,326,289 July 28, 2014 October 6, 2014 Federal court decision U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruling in Bostic v. Rainey.[143] The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the U.S. district court ruling in Bostic v. Schaefer.[144]
Washington (state) Washington 7,061,530 November 6, 2012 December 6, 2012 Legislative statute → referendum Passed by the Washington State Legislature; suspended by petition and referred to Referendum 74, approved.
West Virginia 1,850,326 October 9, 2014 October 9, 2014 Binding federal court precedent → Actions of state officials → Federal court decision Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, recognizing the precedent established by the Fourth Circuit ruling in Bostic v. Schaefer, dropped their defense of the state's same-sex marriage ban.[145] The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia in McGee v. Cole overturned West Virginia's statutory ban on same-sex marriage on November 7, 2014.[146]
Wisconsin 5,757,564 September 4, 2014 October 6, 2014 Federal court decision U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin ruling in Wolf v. Walker. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court's ruling.[147]
Wyoming 584,153 October 17, 2014 October 21, 2014 Federal court decision U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming ruling in Guzzo v. Mead.[148]
Total 221,434,635 (69.4% of the U.S. population)

States where same-sex marriage licensing was legally complicated[edit]

Note: This table shows only states that partially license same-sex marriages or where the legal situation is unclear.

States with same-sex marriage in part of their territory
State Population[128] Date of enactment/ruling Date partially effective Legalization method Details
1. Kansas 2,904,021 November 4, 2014 November 12, 2014 Federal court decision U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas ruling in Marie v. Moser. Stay denied by the Tenth Circuit and by the U.S. Supreme Court.[149][150] Only select counties are issuing licenses, and state officials continue to enforce Kansas' ban in all other respects during appeal.[151]
2. Missouri 6,063,589 November 5, 2014 November 5, 2014 State court decision Twenty-Second Judicial Circuit of Missouri ruling in Missouri v. Florida with no request for a stay.[152][153] The ruling applies to St. Louis City only.[154] St. Louis County is issuing based on its own interpretation of the state court ruling's effect and Jackson County is issuing in response to a federal court ruling that was stayed.
3. Alabama 4,849,377 January 23, 2015 February 9, 2015 Federal court decision U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama rulings in Searcy v. Strange and Strawser v. Strange.[155][156] As of February 13, most counties were issuing licenses to same-sex couples; a few were issuing no marriage licenses at all.[157][158] On March 3, the Alabama Supreme Court ordered probate judges to stop issuing same-sex marriage licenses, and they complied.[159] On May 21, the same judge who ruled on Searcy and Strawser issued an order clarifying that her ruling applied statewide and the state's actions were unconstitutional, but stayed the order until the Supreme Court rules.[160]
Total 13,816,987 (4.3% of the U.S. population)

Debate[edit]

Support[edit]

2011 protest in New Jersey by Garden State Equality in support of marriage equality and against deportation of LGBT spouses.

Same-sex marriage supporters make several arguments in support of their position. Gail Mathabane likens prohibitions on same-sex marriage to past U.S. prohibitions on interracial marriage.[161] Fernando Espuelas argues that same-sex marriage should be allowed because same-sex marriage extends a civil right to a minority group.[162] According to an American history scholar, Nancy Cott, "there really is no comparison, because there is nothing that is like marriage except marriage."[163]

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is one of the leading advocacy groups in support of same-sex marriage. According to the HRC's website, "Many same-sex couples want the right to legally marry because they are in love—many, in fact, have spent the last 10, 20 or 50 years with that person—and they want to honor their relationship in the greatest way our society has to offer, by making a public commitment to stand together in good times and bad, through all the joys and challenges family life brings."[164]

In the United States such professional organizations as the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, American Sociological Association, American Anthropological Association, American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Nursing, and National Association of Social Workers have said that claims that the legal recognition of marriage for same–sex couples undermines the institution of marriage and harms children are inconsistent with the scientific evidence which supports the conclusions: that homosexuality is a normal expression of human sexuality that is not chosen; that gay and lesbian people form stable, committed relationships essentially equivalent to heterosexual relationships; that same-sex parents are no less capable than opposite-sex parents to raise children; that no civilization or viable social order depends on an institution of exclusive heterosexual marriage; and that the children of same-sex parents are no less psychologically healthy and well-adjusted than children of opposite-sex parents.[165][166][167][168][169][170][171][172] The body of research strongly supports the conclusion that discrimination by the federal government between married same-sex couples and married opposite-sex couples in granting benefits unfairly stigmatizes same-sex couples. The research also contradicts the stereotype-based rationales advanced to support passage of DOMA that the Equal Protection Clause was designed to prohibit.[173]

The 2012 Democratic Party Platform used the term "marriage equality" in its expression of support.[174]

Role of social media[edit]

Supporters of the legalization of same-sex marriage have successfully used social media websites such as Facebook to help achieve that goal.[175][176][177] Some have argued that the successful use of social media websites by LGBT groups has played a key role in the defeat of religion-based opposition.[178]

One of the largest scale uses of social media to mobilize support for same-sex marriage preceded and coincided with the arrival at the US Supreme Court of high-profile legal cases for Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act in March 2013. The 'red equals sign' project started by the Human Rights Campaign was an electronic campaign primarily based on Facebook which encouraged users to change their profile images to a red equal sign to express support for same-sex marriage.[179] At the time of the court hearings it was estimated that approximately 2.5 million Facebook users changed their profile images to a red equals sign.[180]

Opposition[edit]

Rally for Prop. 8 in Fresno, California (October 2008).

Opponents of same-sex marriage in the United States ground their arguments on parenting concerns, religious concerns, concerns that changes to the definition of marriage would lead to the inclusion of polygamy or incest, natural law-based reasoning, and tradition.[181] The Southern Baptist Convention adopted a statement in June 2003 that legalizing same-sex relationships would "convey a societal approval of a homosexual lifestyle, which the Bible calls sinful and dangerous both to the individuals involved and to society at large".[182] The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Southern Baptist Convention, and National Organization for Marriage claim that children do best when raised by a mother and father, and that legalizing same-sex marriage is, therefore, contrary to the best interests of children.[183][184][185][186] Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage has raised concerns about the impact of same-sex marriage upon religious liberty and upon faith-based charities in the United States.[187] Opponents of same-sex marriage have claimed that redefining marriage to include same-sex relationships would have harmful effects on biological family, children's rights, and social welfare.[188][189] Stanley Kurtz of the Weekly Standard has written that same-sex marriage would eventually lead to the legalization of polygamy and polyamory, or group marriage, in the United States.[190]

The funding of the amendment referendum campaigns has been an issue of great dispute. Both judges[191][192] and the IRS[193] have ruled that it is either questionable or illegal for campaign contributions to be shielded by anonymity. In February 2012, the National Organization for Marriage vowed to spend in Washington legislative races to defeat the Republican state senators who voted for same-sex marriage.[194]

Politicians and media figures[edit]

President Barack Obama interviewed by Robin Roberts of ABC's Good Morning America, in the Cabinet Room of the White House, May 9, 2012.

President Obama's views on same-sex marriage have varied over the course of his political career and become more consistently supportive of same-sex marriage rights over time. In the 1990s, he had supported same-sex marriage while campaigning for the Illinois Senate.[195][196] During the 2008 presidential campaign, he said: "I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. For me as a Christian, it is a sacred union. You know, God is in the mix."[197] He opposed the 2008 California referendum that aimed at reversing a court ruling establishing same-sex marriage there.[198] In 2009, he opposed two opposing federal legislative proposals that would have banned or established same-sex marriage nationally, stating that each state had to decide the issue.[199][200] In December 2010, he expressed support for civil unions with rights equivalent to marriage and for federal recognition of same-sex relationships. He opposed a federal constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.[201] He also stated that his position on same-sex marriage was "evolving" and that he recognized that civil unions from the perspective of same-sex couples was "not enough".[202] On May 9, 2012, President Obama became the first sitting president to say he believed that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry. He still said the legal question belonged to the states.[9][203] In October 2014, Obama told an interviewer that his view had changed:[204]

Ultimately, I think the Equal Protection Clause does guarantee same-sex marriage in all fifty states. But, as you know, courts have always been strategic. There have been times where the stars were aligned and the Court, like a thunderbolt, issues a ruling like Brown v. Board of Education, but that's pretty rare. And, given the direction of society, for the Court to have allowed the process to play out the way it has may make the shift less controversial and more lasting.

Former presidents Bill Clinton[205] and Jimmy Carter,[206] former vice presidents Dick Cheney,[207] Al Gore,[208] Walter Mondale,[209] and current Vice President Joe Biden have voiced their support for legal recognition, as have former first ladies Laura Bush[210] and Hillary Clinton.[211] Former president George H. W. Bush and his wife Barbara have served as witnesses to a same-sex wedding, but neither has publicly stated whether this means they support same-sex marriage in general;[212] George W. Bush reportedly offered to officiate the same wedding,[213] but has similarly not made a public statement regarding his position on the issue (as president, he was opposed). Fifteen U.S. senators announced their support in the spring of 2013.[214] By April 2013 a majority of the Senate had expressed support for same-sex marriage.[215] Senator Rob Portman of Ohio became the first sitting Republican senator to endorse same-sex marriage in March 2013,[216] followed by Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois in April,[217] Lisa Murkowski of Alaska in June,[218] and Susan Collins of Maine a year later.[219]

During the 2008 presidential election campaign, Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin stated: "I have voted along with the vast majority of Alaskans who had the opportunity to vote to amend our Constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman. I wish on a federal level that that's where we would go because I don't support gay marriage."[220]

When a U.S. district court invalidated the California referendum that ended same-sex marriages there in 2008, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said it showed "an outrageous disrespect for our Constitution and for the majority of people of the United States who believe marriage is the union of husband and wife".[221] By the end of 2012, Gingrich was prepared to accept civil—but not religious—same-sex marriages and encouraged the Republican Party to accept the fact of same-sex marriage was certain to become legal in more and more states.[222]

In an interview on The O'Reilly Factor in August 2010, when Glenn Beck was asked if he "believe(s) that gay marriage is a threat to [this] country in any way", he stated, "No I don't. ... I believe that Thomas Jefferson said: 'If it neither breaks my leg nor picks my pocket what difference is it to me?'"[223][224]

On his radio show in August 2010, commentator Rush Limbaugh said: "Marriage? There's a definition of it, for it. It means something. Marriage is a union of a man and woman. It's always been that. If you want to get married and you're a man, marry a woman. Nobody's stopping you. This is about tearing apart an institution."[225]

Public opinion[edit]

A CNN poll in February 19, 2015 found that 63% of Americans believe gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry, up from 49% in August 2010.[226]

A Washington Post/ABC News poll from February–March 2014 found a record high of 59% of Americans approve of same-sex marriage, with only 34% opposed and 7% with no opinion.[227] In May 2013, a Gallup poll showed that 53% of Americans would vote for a law legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states. Three previous readings over the course of a year consistently showed support at 50% or above. Gallup noted: "Just three years ago, support for gay marriage was 44%. The current 53% level of support is essentially double the 27% in Gallup's initial measurement on gay marriage, in 1996."[228] Some commentators, however, have noted instances where polling data has understated voter opposition to referendums banning same-sex marriage.[229] One 2010 study concluded that "polls on gay marriage ballot initiatives generally under-estimate the opposition to gay marriage by about seven percentage points".[230]

As of 2013, public support for same-sex marriage in the United States has solidified above 50%.[231][232][233] Public support for same-sex marriage has grown at an increasing pace since the 1990s.[6] In 1996, just 25% of Americans supported legalization of same-sex marriage. Polls have shown that support is identical among whites and Hispanics, while support for same-sex marriage trails among blacks.[234] Polling trends in 2010 and 2011 showed support for same-sex marriage gaining a majority, although the difference is within the error limit of the analysis.[235] On May 20, 2011, Gallup reported majority support for same-sex marriage for the first time in the country.[236] In June 2011, two prominent polling organizations released an analysis of the changing trend in public opinion about same-sex marriage in the United States, concluding that "public support for the freedom to marry has increased, at an accelerating rate, with most polls showing that a majority of Americans now support full marriage rights for all Americans."[237]

Effects of same-sex marriage[edit]

Economic impact on same-sex couples[edit]

Until the Supreme Court's June 2013 ruling in United States v. Windsor required the federal government to treat legally married same-sex couples on an equal basis with heterosexual married couples, same-sex married couples faced severe disadvantages. The federal government did not recognize those marriages for any purpose. According to a 1997 General Accounting Office study, at least 1,049 U.S. federal laws and regulations include references to marital status.[238] A 2004 study by the Congressional Budget Office found 1,138 statutory provisions "in which marital status is a factor in determining or receiving 'benefits, rights, and privileges.'"[239] Many of these laws govern property rights, benefits, and taxation. Same-sex couples whose marriages are not recognized by the federal government are ineligible for spousal and survivor Social Security benefits and are ineligible for the benefits due the spouse of a federal government employee.[239] One study found that the difference in Social Security income for same-sex couples compared to opposite-sex married couples was per year.[240]

Compared to similarly situated opposite-sex married couples, same-sex couples faced the following financial and legal disadvantages:

  • Legal costs associated with obtaining domestic partner documents to gain legal abilities granted automatically by legal marriage, including power of attorney, health care decision-making, and inheritance[240]
  • A person can inherit an unlimited amount from a deceased spouse without incurring an estate tax, but is subject to taxes if inheriting from a same-sex partner[239]
  • Same-sex couples were not eligible to file jointly as a married couple and thus could not take the advantages of lower tax rates when the individual income of the partners differs significantly[239][j]
  • Employer-provided health insurance coverage for a same-sex partner incurred federal income tax[239]
  • Higher health costs associated with lack of insurance and preventative care: 20% of same-sex couples had a member who was uninsured compared to 10% of married opposite-sex couples[240]
  • Inability to protect jointly owned home from loss due to costs of potential medical catastrophe[240]
  • Inability of a U.S. citizen to sponsor a same-sex spouse for citizenship[240]

Some 7,400 companies were offering spousal benefits to same-sex couples as of 2008. In states that recognized same-sex marriages, same-sex couples could continue to receive those same benefits only if they married.[242] Only 18% of private employers offered domestic partner health care benefits.[240]

Same-sex couples face the same financial constraints of legal marriage as opposite-sex married couples, including the marriage penalty in taxation.[239] While social service providers usually do not count one partner's assets toward the income means test for welfare and disability assistance for the other partner, a legally married couple's joint assets are normally used in calculating whether a married individual qualifies for assistance.[239]

Economic impact on the federal government[edit]

The 2004 Congressional Budget Office study, working from an assumption "that about 0.6 percent of adults would enter into same-sex marriages if they had the opportunity" (an assumption in which they admitted "significant uncertainty") estimated that legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States "would improve the budget's bottom line to a small extent: by less than  billion in each of the next 10 years". This result reflects an increase in net government revenues (increased income taxes due to marriage penalties more than offsetting decreased tax revenues arising from postponed estate taxes). Marriage recognition would increase the government expenses for Social Security and Federal Employee Health Benefits but that increase would be more than made up for by decreased expenses for Medicaid, Medicare, and Supplemental Security Income.[239]

Mental health[edit]

Based in part on research that has been conducted on the adverse effects of stigmatization of gays and lesbians, numerous prominent social science organizations have issued position statements supporting same-sex marriage and opposing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation; these organizations include the American Psychoanalytic Association and the American Psychological Association.[173]

Several psychological studies[243][244][245] have shown that an increase in exposure to negative conversations and media messages about same-sex marriage creates a harmful environment for the LGBT population that may affect their health and well-being.

One study surveyed more than 1,500 lesbian, gay and bisexual adults across the nation and found that respondents from the 25 states that have outlawed same-sex marriage had the highest reports of "minority stress"—the chronic social stress that results from minority-group stigmatization—as well as general psychological distress. According to the study, the negative campaigning that comes with a ban is directly responsible for the increased stress. Past research has shown that minority stress is linked to health risks such as risky sexual behavior and substance abuse.[246]

Two other studies examined personal reports from LGBT adults and their families living in Memphis, Tennessee, immediately after a successful 2006 ballot campaign banned same-sex marriage. Most respondents reported feeling alienated from their communities. The studies also found that families experienced a kind of secondary minority stress, says Jennifer Arm, a counseling graduate student at the University of Memphis.[247]

At the Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial, expert witness Ilan Meyer testified that the mental health outcomes for gays and lesbians would improve if laws such as Proposition 8 did not exist because "when people are exposed to more stress...they are more likely to get sick..." and that particular situation is consistent with laws that say to gay people "you are not welcome here, your relationships are not valued." Such laws have "significant power", he said.[248]

Physical health[edit]

In 2009, a pair of economists at Emory University tied the passage of state bans on same-sex marriage in the US to an increase in the rates of HIV infection.[249][250] The study linked the passage of same-sex marriage ban in a state to an increase in the annual HIV rate within that state of roughly 4 cases per 100,000 population.

A study by the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health found that gay men in Massachusetts visited health clinics significantly less often following the legalization of same-sex marriage in that state.[251]

Case law[edit]

United States case law regarding same-sex marriage:

1970s[edit]

  • Baker v. Nelson, 191 N.W.2d 185 (Minn. 1971). Upholds a Minnesota law defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. (Overturned by Obergefell v. Hodges)
  • Jones v. Hallahan, 501 S.W.2d 588 (Ky. 1973). Upholds the denial of a marriage license to two women in Kentucky based on dictionary definitions of marriage, despite the fact that state statutes do not specify the gender of marriage partners.[252]
  • Singer v. Hara, 522 P.2d 1187 (Wash. Ct. App. 1974). A ban on same-sex marriage is a constitutional form of "gender discrimination"; the historical definition of marriage is between one man and one woman, and same-sex couples are inherently ineligible to marry.

1980s[edit]

  • Adams v. Howerton, 673 F.2d 1036 (9th Cir. 1982), cert. denied, 458 U.S. 1111. A same-sex marriage does not make one a "spouse" under the Immigration and Nationality Act.
  • De Santo v. Barnsley, 476 A.2d 952 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1984). Same-sex couples can not divorce because they cannot form a common law marriage.[253]

1990s[edit]

  • In re Estate of Cooper, 564 N.Y.S.2d 684 (Fam. Ct. 1990). The state has a compelling interest in fostering the traditional institution of marriage and prohibiting same-sex marriage.
  • Baehr v. Lewin, 852 P.2d 44 (Haw. 1993). A statute limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples violates the Hawaii constitution's equal-protection clause unless the state can show that the statute is both justified by compelling state interests and also narrowly tailored. This ruling prompted the adoption of Hawaii's constitutional amendment allowing the legislature to restrict marriage to different-sex couples and the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
  • Dean v. District of Columbia, 653 A.2d 307 (D.C. 1995). DC does not authorise same-sex marriage; denial of a marriage license does not violate the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution.
  • Storrs v. Holcomb, 645 N.Y.S.2d 286 (App. Div. 1996). New York does not recognize or authorize same-sex marriage. Overturned in part by Martinez v. County of Monroe in 2008.
  • In re Estate of Hall, 707 N.E.2d 201, 206 (Ill. App. Ct. 1998). Illinois does not recognize a same-sex marriage. The petitioner's claim to be in a same-sex marriage was not in a marriage recognized by law.
  • Baker v. Vermont, 170 Vt. 194; 744 A.2d 864 (Vt. 1999). The Common Benefits Clause of the state constitution requires that same-sex couples be granted the same legal rights as married persons, though it need not be called marriage.

2000s[edit]

  • Rosengarten v. Downes, 806 A.2d 1066 (Conn. Ct. App. 2002). Connecticut will not dissolve a Vermont civil union.
  • Burns v. Burns, 560 S.E.2d 47 (Ga. Ct. App. 2002). Marriage is the union of one man and one woman.
  • Frandsen v. County of Brevard, 828 So. 2d 386 (Fla. 2001). The Florida constitution will not be construed to recognize same-sex marriage; sex classifications not subject to strict scrutiny under the Florida constitution.
  • In re Estate of Gardiner, 42 P.3d 120 (Kan. 2002). A post-operative transgender woman, registered as male at birth certificate, may not marry a cisgender man, because the former is still male in the eyes of the law, and Kansas only recognizes the marriage of a man and a woman.
  • Standhardt v. Superior Court ex rel. County of Maricopa, 77 P.3d 451 (Ariz. Ct. App. 2003) The constitution of Arizona does not provide the right to same-sex marriage.
  • Morrison v. Sadler, 2003 WL 23119998 (Ind. Super. Ct. 2003). Indiana's Defense of Marriage Act is valid.
  • Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health, 798 N.E.2d 941 (Mass. 2003). The denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples violated provisions of the state constitution guaranteeing individual liberty and equality, and it was not rationally related to a legitimate state interest.
  • Langan v. St. Vincent's Hospital, 802 N.Y.S.2d 476 (App. Div. 2005). For the purposes of New York's wrongful death statute the survivor partner from a Vermont civil union lacks standing as a "spouse".
  • Citizens for Equal Protection v. Bruning, 455 F.3d 859 (8th Cir. 2006). Nebraska's Initiative Measure 416 does not violate Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause, was not a bill of attainder, and does not violate the First Amendment.[254]
  • Lewis v. Harris, 908 A.2d 196 (N.J. 2006). Prohibiting same-sex marriage does not violate the New Jersey constitution, but the state must extend all the rights and responsibilities of marriage to same-sex couples. The legislature has 180 days to amend the marriage laws or create a "parallel structure".
  • Andersen v. King County, 138 P.3d 963 (Wash. 2006). Washington's Defense of Marriage Act does not violate the state constitution.
  • Hernandez v. Robles, 855 N.E.2d 1 (N.Y. 2006). The New York State Constitution does not require that marriage rights be extended to same-sex couples.[255]
  • Conaway v. Deane, 932 A.2d 571 (Md. 2007). Upholds a Maryland law defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
  • Martinez v. County of Monroe, 850 N.Y.S.2d 740 (App. Div. 2008). Because New York recognizes the marriages of opposite-sex couples from other jurisdictions, it must do the same for same-sex couples.[256])
  • In re Marriage Cases, 183 P.3d 384 (Cal. 2008). Limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples is invalid under the equal protection clause of the California Constitution. Full marriage rights, not merely domestic partnership, must be offered to same-sex couples.[257]
  • Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health 957 A.2d 407 (Conn. 2008). The availability of civil unions but not marriage to same-sex partners is a violation of the equality and liberty provisions of the Connecticut Constitution.
  • Strauss v. Horton, 207 P.3d 48 (Cal. 2009). Proposition 8 was validly adopted, and marriages contracted before its adoption remain valid.[258]
  • Varnum v. Brien, 763 N.W.2d 862 (Iowa 2009). Barring same-sex couples from marriage violates the equal protection provisions of the Iowa Constitution. Equal protection requires full marriage, rather than civil unions or some other substitute, for same-sex couples.

2010s[edit]

Challenges to DOMA Section 3
California Proposition 8
  • Hollingsworth v. Perry (2009–2013). California's Proposition 8, a voter-endorsed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, is found unconstitutional in U.S. district court in Perry v. Schwarzenegger. The proposition's backers appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which upholds the district court's finding of unconstitutionality in Perry v. Brown. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the proposition's backers lacked standing to appeal and left the district court ruling intact.[260]
Same-sex marriage rights
  • Christiansen v. Christiansen. On June 6, 2011, the Supreme Court of Wyoming grants a divorce to two women who married in Canada, but says its decision does not apply "in any context other than divorce".[261]
  • Port v. Cowan (2010–2012). Maryland must recognize valid out-of-state same-sex marriages under doctrine of comity.[262]
  • Garden State Equality v. Dow (2011–2013), New Jersey's civil unions violate due process guarantees; denying same-sex marriage ruled unconstitutional in state superior court. The N.J. Supreme Court refuses to stay the ruling and the state defendants drop their appeal.
  • Griego v. Oliver, 316 P.3d 865 (N.M. 2013). the New Mexico Supreme Court rules that the state constitution requires marriage rights to be extended to same-sex couples.
  • Whitewood v. Wolf (Pennsylvania). On May 20, 2014, Judge John E. Jones III rules that Pennsylvania's same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional.[263]
  • Geiger v. Kitzhaber and Rummell v. Kitzhaber (Oregon). On May 19, 2014, District Judge Michael J. McShane declares Oregon's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional.[264]
  • Bostic v. Schaefer (Virginia). The Fourth Circuit on July 28, 2014, in a 2–1 decision, affirms a district court ruling that Virginia's denial of marriage righst to same-sex couples is unconstitutional.[265] The Supreme Court denied review on October 6.[266]
  • Baskin v. Bogan (Indiana) and Wolf v. Walker (Wisconsin). The Seventh Circuit consolidated these cases and on September 4, 2014, upheld two district court rulings that had found Indiana's and Wisconsin's bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.[267] The U.S. Supreme Court denied review on October 6.[266]
  • Bishop v. Smith (Oklahoma). On July 18, 2014, the Tenth Circuit upholds the district court ruling that Oklahoma's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.[268] The Supreme Court denied review on October 6.[266]
  • Kitchen v. Herbert (Utah). U.S. district court, 961 F. Supp. 2d 1181 (2013), rules the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals upholds that ruling upheld on June 25, 2014. All parties support review by the U.S. Supreme Court, and that court denied review on October 6.[266]
  • Barrier v. Vasterling (Missouri). State Circuit Judge J. Dale Youngs rules on October 3, 2014, that Missouri's refusal to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions violates the plaintiff same-sex couples' right to equal protection under both the state and federal constitutions.[269]
  • Caspar v. Snyder (Michigan). On January 15, 2015, U.S. District Judge Mark A. Goldsmith ruled that the state must recognize the validity of "window marriages" established on March 21 and 22, 2014, before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals stayed a district court ruling in DeBoer v. Snyder that found Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, despite the fact that DeBoer was later reversed.[270] The state chose not to appeal.[271]
  • Obergefell v. Hodges (2013-2015) U.S. Supreme Court case finding that state bans on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment. (Overturned Baker v. Nelson)

See also[edit]

Legislation
Organizations
Miscellaneous

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The rulings striking down same-sex marriage bans are from U.S. district courts in the following states: Utah,[10] Oklahoma,[11] Virginia,[12] Texas,[13] Michigan,[14] Idaho,[15] Oregon,[16] Pennsylvania,[17] South Dakota,[18] Wisconsin,[19] Indiana,[20] Kentucky,[21] Colorado,[22] Florida,[23] North Carolina,[24] Alaska,[25] Arizona,[26] Wyoming,[27] Kansas,[28] Missouri,[29] West Virginia,[30] South Carolina,[31] Montana,[32] Arkansas,[33] Mississippi,[34] South Dakota,[35] and Alabama.[36]
  2. ^ The cases (and states) are: Wright v. Arkansas (Arkansas),[37] In re Marriage of J.B. and H.B. and In the Matter of the Marriage of A.L.F.L. and K.L.L. (Texas),[38] Brinkman v. Long (Colorado),[39] Pareto v. Ruvin and Huntsman v. Heavilin (Florida),[40] In Re Costanza and Brewer (Louisiana),[41] and State v. Florida (Missouri).
  3. ^ Barrier v. Vasterling, Missouri Circuit Court, 16th Judicial Circuit[42]
  4. ^ Robicheaux v. Caldwell (Louisiana), Conde v. Rius (Puerto Rico)[43]
  5. ^ Borman v. Pyles-Borman (Tennessee)
  6. ^ The cases reversed (and affected states) are: Bourke v. Beshear and Love v. Beshear (Kentucky), DeBoer v. Snyder (Michigan), Obergefell v. Himes and Henry v. Himes (Ohio), and Tanco v. Haslam (Tennessee).
  7. ^ Alaska, Hamby v. Parnell;[45] Arizona, Connolly v. Roche;[46] Florida, Brenner v. Armstrong; Idaho, Latta v. Otter;[47] Kansas, Marie v. Moser;[48] Missouri, Lawson v. Kelly;[49] Montana, Rolando v. Fox;[50] Nevada, Sevcik v. Sandoval;[51] North Carolina, General Synod of the United Church of Christ v. Cooper;[52] and South Carolina, Condon v. Haley.[53]
  8. ^ Among many examples: (1) the U.S. District Court ruling in Bourke v. Beshear, which required Kentucky to recognize same-sex marriages from Canada and several U.S. states, was decided on equal protection grounds alone. The plaintiffs had claimed that Kentucky's ban violated the full faith and credit clause, but the court found it unnecessary to address that argument.[65] and (2) the plaintiffs in Robicheaux v. Caldwell, who sought Louisiana's recognition of their out-of-state marriages, argued only on the basis of equal protection and due process. One of the Louisiana statutes they challenged made clear the state's assertion of its right to deny recognition to the legal act of another state: "A purported marriage between persons of the same sex violates a strong public policy of the state of Louisiana". (emphasis added)[66]
  9. ^ Other cases that sought review by the U.S. Supreme Court were Golinski v. Office of Personnel Management, Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, Massachusetts v. United States Department of Health and Human Services, and Pedersen v. Office of Personnel Management.
  10. ^ In early 2013 the IRS recognized the community property and income of same-sex partners in community property states.[241]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ Liptak, Adam. "Same-Sex Marriage Is a Right, Supreme Court Rules, 5-4". New York Times. Retrieved 26 June 2015. 
  3. ^ "Obergefell et al. v. Hodges, Director, Ohio, Department of Health, et al." (PDF). supremecourt.gov. Retrieved 26 June 2015. 
  4. ^ Gumbel, Andrew. "The Great Undoing?". The Advocate. Retrieved July 9, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Same Sex Marriage Laws – History". National Conference of State Legislatures. Retrieved August 1, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b LAX, JEFFREY R. (August 2009). "Gay Rights in the States: Public Opinion and Policy Responsiveness" (PDF). American Political Science Review 103 (3): 67–86. doi:10.1017/S0003055409990050. Retrieved December 20, 2011. 
  7. ^ Silver, Nate (May 9, 2012). "Support for Gay Marriage Outweighs Opposition in Polls". New York Times. Retrieved October 28, 2012. 
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  9. ^ a b Staff, ABC News (May 9, 2012). "Obama Affirms Support for Same-Sex Marriage". ABC News. Retrieved March 20, 2013. 
  10. ^ Watkins, Tom (December 20, 2013). "In Utah, judge's ruling ignites same-sex marriage frenzy". CNN. Retrieved December 23, 2013. 
  11. ^ Brandes, Heide (January 14, 2014). "U.S. judge rules Oklahoma gay marriage ban unconstitutional". Chicago Tribune. Reuters. Retrieved January 15, 2014. 
  12. ^ Simpson, Ian (February 14, 2014). "Federal judge strikes down Virginia's ban on gay marriage". Reuters. Retrieved February 27, 2014. 
  13. ^ Calkins, Laurel (February 27, 2014). "Texas Gay-Marriage Ban Held Illegal as Judge Delays Order". Bloomberg. Retrieved February 27, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Deboer v. Snyder: Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law" (PDF). United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan Southern Division. March 15, 2014. Retrieved March 23, 2014. 
  15. ^ Staff reports (May 13, 2014). "Federal court strikes down Idaho gay marriage ban". LGBTQ Nation. Retrieved May 13, 2014. 
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  27. ^ "Order". Scribd.com. U.S. District Court for Wyoming. Retrieved October 17, 2014. 
  28. ^ Geidner, Chris (November 4, 2014). "Federal Judge Strikes Down Kansas Same-Sex Marriage Ban On Election Day". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved November 4, 2014. 
  29. ^ Geidner, Chris (November 7, 2014). "Missouri's Same-Sex Marriage Ban Is Unconstitutional, Federal Judge Rules". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 
  30. ^ Johnson, Curtis (November 7, 2014). "Fed judge declares W.Va. marriage ban unconstitutional". Herald-Dispatch. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 
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  34. ^ Geidner, Chris (November 25, 2014). "Mississippi's Same-Sex Marriage Ban Is Unconstitutional, Federal Judge Rules". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved November 25, 2014. 
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  36. ^ Mendoza, Jessica (January 24, 2015). "Judge strikes down Alabama gay marriage ban: Three things to know". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved January 26, 2015. 
  37. ^ DeMillo, Andrew. "Arkansas Judge Strikes Down Gay Marriage Ban". Associated Press. Retrieved May 9, 2014. 
  38. ^ Kuffner, Charles. "State court rules gay marriage ban is unconstitutional". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved May 11, 2014. 
  39. ^ Steffen, Jordan (July 9, 2014). "Adams judge tosses Colorado gay marriage ban but stays ruling". The Denver Post. 
  40. ^ Associated Press (July 17, 2014). "Ruling allows same-sex marriages for Florida Keys". USA Today. 
  41. ^ Geidner, Chris (September 22, 2014). "Louisiana Judge Rules Same-Sex Marriage Ban Unconstitutional, Clashing With Federal Court". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved September 22, 2014. 
  42. ^ Johnson, Chris (October 3, 2014). "Judge orders Missouri to recognize same-sex marriages". Washington Blade. Retrieved October 3, 2014. 
  43. ^ Associated Press (September 3, 2014). "Federal judge upholds La. gay-marriage ban". USA Today. Retrieved September 3, 2014. 
  44. ^ Thomaston, Scottie (November 6, 2014). "Sixth Circuit upholds same-sex marriage bans". Retrieved November 6, 2014. 
  45. ^ MacLean, Pamela A. (November 19, 2014). "Alaska Loses Round in Gay Marriage Appeal". Trial Insider. Retrieved November 20, 2014. 
  46. ^ Fischer, Howard (November 18, 2014). "State looks to cut cost of gay marriage court fight". Arizona Daily Star. Retrieved November 18, 2014. 
  47. ^ Snow, Justin (October 22, 2014). "Idaho asks federal appeals court to review same-sex marriage decision". Metro Weekly. Retrieved October 22, 2014. 
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