Same-sex marriage legislation in the United States
In response to court action in a number of states, the United States federal government and a number of state legislatures passed or attempted to pass legislation either prohibiting or allowing same-sex marriage or other types of same-sex unions.
On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges that a fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples by the Fourteenth Amendment, and that states must allow same-sex marriage.
- 1 Federal level
- 2 State level
- 2.1 Efforts to enable same-sex unions
- 2.2 Efforts to prohibit same-sex unions
- 2.3 Attempts to establish same-sex unions via initiative or statewide referendum
- 2.4 Efforts to enable ban amendment
- 2.5 Efforts to ban same-sex unions by constitutional amendment
- 2.6 Recent, pending, or proposed attempts to constitutionally block same-sex unions
- 2.7 Efforts to ban same-sex unions by statute
- 2.8 Lawsuits seeking to overturn statutory bans
- 3 See also
- 4 References
In 1996, the United States Congress passed and President Bill Clinton signed Public Law 104-199, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Section 3 of DOMA defines "marriage" and "spouse" for purposes of both federal law and any ruling, regulation, or interpretation by an administrative bureau or agency of the United States government. The impact of Section 2 of DOMA, which relieves jurisdictions within the United States of any obligation to recognize same-sex relationships legally established in any other jurisdiction, is less clear.
In United States v. Windsor, the Supreme Court was asked to determine the constitutionality of Section 3 of DOMA, which defines marriage for federal purposes as the union of a man and a woman. On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court ruled by a 5-4 vote that the Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional.
The State Marriage Defense Act, introduced in the House of Representatives on January 9, 2014, would require the federal government to recognize the validity of a marriage based on a person's legal residence (place of domicile), rather than on the validity of the marriage when and where it was solemnized (place of celebration). The Obama administration has generally used the latter standard. Its sponsors described it as a way to clarify the federal government's response to Windsor and restore the ability of the a state to control the definition of marriage within its borders.
In Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court was asked to determine the constitutionality of state bans on same-sex marriage licenses as well as state bans on recognition of same-sex marriages from other states. On June 26, 2015, the court ruled by a 5-4 vote that the Fourteenth Amendment obliges states to license same-sex marriages and to recognize same-sex marriages from other states.
Efforts to enable same-sex unions
Votes by state legislatures to recognize various types of same-sex unions, sorted by date:
|State||Date||Type of same-sex union||Upper House||Lower house||Governor||Final
|District of Columbia||June 1992||Domestic partnership||N/A||Passed||Signed||Yes|
|California||September 1994||Domestic partnership||21||17||41||26||Vetoed||No|
|Hawaii||March 1996||Domestic partnership||14||11||Failed||—||No|
|Hawaii||June 1997||Reciprocal beneficiary relationship||24||7||43||27||Signed||Yes|
|California||September 1998||Domestic partnership||21||17||41||36||Vetoed||No|
|California||October 1999||Domestic partnership||23||13||41||38||Vetoed||No|
|California||October 1999||Domestic partnership||22||14||41||36||Signed||Yes|
|Vermont||April 2000||Civil union||19||11||79||68||Signed||Yes|
|California||August 2001||Domestic partnership (expansion)||22||12||41||27||Signed||Yes|
|California||October 2001||Domestic partnership (expansion)||23||11||41||32||Signed||Yes|
|California||September 2002||Domestic partnership (expansion)||26||11||41||31||Signed||Yes|
|California||September 2002||Domestic partnership (expansion)||23||13||43||27||Signed||Yes|
|California||September 2003||Domestic partnership (expansion)||23||14||41||33||Signed||Yes|
|New Jersey||January 2004||Domestic partnership||23||9||41||28||Signed||Yes|
|Maine||April 2004||Domestic partnership||18||14||84||58||Signed||Yes|
|California||September 2004||Domestic partnership (expansion)||23||12||46||29||Signed||Yes|
|Connecticut||April 2005||Civil union||27||9||85||63||Signed||Yes|
|Maryland||May 2005||Domestic partnership||31||16||83||50||Vetoed||No|
|California||September 2005||Domestic partnership (expansion)||23||15||47||28||Signed||Yes|
|California||September 2005||Domestic partnership (expansion)||21||14||47||32||Signed||Yes|
|California||September 2006||Domestic partnership (expansion)||24||15||46||29||Signed||Yes|
|California||September 2006||Domestic partnership (expansion)||23||15||47||31||Signed||Yes|
|New Jersey||December 2006||Civil union||23||12||56||19||Signed||Yes|
|New Hampshire||April 2007||Civil union||—||—||Failed||—||No|
|Washington||April 2007||Domestic partnership||28||19||63||35||Signed||Yes|
|Oregon||May 2007||Domestic partnership||21||9||34||26||Signed||Yes|
|New Hampshire||May 2007||Civil union||14||10||243||129||Signed||Yes|
|New York||June 2007||Marriage||—||—||85||61||—||No|
|California||October 2007||Domestic partnership (expansion)||Passed||Passed||Signed||Yes|
|New Hampshire||January 2008||Contractual cohabitation||Failed||—||—||—||No|
|New Mexico||February 2008||Domestic partnership||—||—||33||31||—||No|
|Washington||March 2008||Domestic partnership (expansion)||29||20||62||32||Signed||Yes|
|Maryland||May 2008||Domestic partnership||30||17||88||46||Signed||Yes|
|District of Columbia||May 2008||Domestic partnership (expansion)||N/A||Passed||Signed||Yes|
|New Mexico||February 2009||Domestic partnership||17||25||—||—||—||No|
|Vermont||April 2009||Marriage||23||5||100||49||Vetoed 1||Yes|
|Colorado||April 2009||Designated beneficiary agreement||23||10||41||24||Signed||Yes|
|Connecticut||April 2009||Marriage (codification)||28||7||100||44||Signed||Yes|
|District of Columbia||May 2009||Marriage (recognition only)||N/A||Passed||Signed||Yes|
|Washington||May 2009||Domestic partnership (expansion)||30||18||62||35||Signed||Yes3|
|Nevada||May 2009||Domestic partnership||14||7||28||14||Vetoed1||Yes|
|New Hampshire||June 2009||Marriage||14||10||198||176||Signed||Yes|
|Oregon||June 2009||Domestic partnership (expansion)||27||0||41||8||Signed||Yes|
|Wisconsin||June 2009||Domestic partnership||17||16||50||48||Signed||Yes|
|California||October 2009||Out-of-state pre-proposition 8 marriage recognition||24||14||44||27||Signed||Yes|
|New York||December 2009||Marriage||24||38||89||52||—||No|
|District of Columbia||December 2009||Marriage||N/A||11||2||Signed||Yes|
|Rhode Island||January 2010||Domestic partnership (only 1 entitlement)||31||3||67||3||Vetoed1||Yes|
|New Jersey||January 2010||Marriage||14||20||—||—||—||No|
|Minnesota||May 2010||Domestic partnership (only 1 entitlement)||41||24||78||55||Vetoed||No|
|Hawaii||July 2010||Civil union||18||7||31||20||Vetoed||No|
|New York||July 2010||Domestic partnership (only 1 entitlement)||50||11||127||26||Signed||Yes|
|California||September 2010||Domestic partnership (expansion)||23||12||53||24||Signed||Yes|
|Illinois||January 2011||Civil union||32||24||61||52||Signed||Yes|
|Hawaii||February 2011||Civil union||18||5||31||19||Signed||Yes|
|New Hampshire||March 2011||Domestic union||—||—||Failed||—||No|
|Colorado||March 2011||Civil union||23||12||—||—||—||No|
|Washington||April 2011||Recognition of out-of-state union as domestic partnership||28||19||58||39||Signed||Yes|
|Delaware||May 2011||Civil union||13||6||26||15||Signed||Yes|
|New York||June 2011||Marriage||33||29||80||63||Signed||Yes|
|Rhode Island||July 2011||Civil union||21||16||62||11||Signed||Yes|
|California||September 2011||Domestic partnership (expansion)||22||13||52||25||Signed||Yes|
|California||October 2011||Domestic partnership (expansion)||25||15||Passed||Signed||Yes|
|California||October 2011||Domestic partnership (expansion)||24||13||Passed||Signed||Yes|
|New Jersey||February 2012||Marriage||24||16||42||33||Vetoed||No|
|Colorado||May 2012||Civil union||23||12||—||—||—||No|
|Wyoming||January 2013||Domestic partnership||—||—||24||35||—||No|
|Colorado||March 2013||Civil union||21||14||39||26||Signed||Yes|
|Rhode Island||May 2013||Marriage||26||12||56||15||Signed||Yes|
|California||July 2014||Marriage (codification)||25||10||51||11||Signed||Yes|
|Virginia||February 2015||Marriage (codification)||20||18||—||—||—||No|
|Oregon||July 2015||Marriage (codification)||18||11||40||18||Signed||Yes|
|Guam||August 2015||Marriage (codification)||N/A||13||2||N/A4||Yes|
|Oregon||March 2016||Marriage (codification)||18||11||43||13||Signed||Yes|
|Colorado||June 2016||Conversion of civil union into marriage||34||0||52||13||Signed||Yes|
|California||June 2016||Marriage and domestic partnership (codification)||34||0||63||1||Signed||Yes|
|North Dakota||January 2017||Marriage (codification)||15||31||—||—||—||No|
|Nevada||May 2017||Marriage (statutory codification)||20||1||28||10||Signed||Yes|
|Nevada||May 2017||Marriage (constitutional codification)||19||2||27||14||N/A|
|Puerto Rico||2017||Marriage (codification)||Pending|
- 1Veto overridden
- 2People's veto (Maine Question 1, 2009)
- 3People's veto failed (Washington Referendum 71, Washington Referendum 74, Maryland Question 6)
- 4The bill was allowed to lapse into law.
Efforts to prohibit same-sex unions
Votes by state legislatures to prohibit recognition of various types of same-sex unions, sorted by date:
|State||Date||Type of same-sex union||Upper House||Lower house||Governor||Final
|New Hampshire||July 1987||Marriage||Passed||Passed||Signed||Yes2|
|New Hampshire||March 1994||Recognition of out-of-state marriage||11||12||—||—||—||No|
|South Dakota||January 1996||Marriage||26||8||49||18||Signed||Yes|
|Idaho||March 1996||Recognition of out-of-state marriage||28||4||59||6||Signed||Yes|
|Alaska||May 1996||Marriage and civil union||16||3||31||9||N/A3||Yes|
|South Carolina||May 1996||Marriage||Passed||82||0||Signed||Yes|
|Michigan||June 1996||Recognition of out-of-state marriage||Passed||74||28||Signed||Yes|
|North Carolina||June 1996||Marriage and recognition of out-of-state marriage||41||4||98||10||Signed||Yes|
|North Dakota||February 1997||Marriage||43||6||73||18||Signed||Yes|
|Virginia||March 1997||Recognition of out-of-state marriage||40||0||87||9||Signed||Yes|
|Montana||April 1997||Marriage and civil union||45||5||73||23||Signed||Yes|
|Florida||May 1997||Recognition of out-of-state marriage and civil union||33||5||97||19||N/A3||Yes|
|Washington||February 1998||Marriage||34||11||65||28||Vetoed 4||Yes2|
|Kentucky||April 1998||Marriage and recognition out-of-state marriage||32||2||84||9||Signed||Yes|
|Puerto Rico||March 1999||Marriage||Passed||Passed||Signed||Yes|
|Louisiana||July 1999||Marriage and recognition of out-of-state marriage||32||0||95||0||Signed||Yes|
|West Virginia||March 2000||Marriage||Passed||96||3||Signed||Yes|
|New Hampshire||March 2000||Recognition of out-of-state marriage||—||—||128||232||—||No|
|New Hampshire||March 2001||Recognition of out-of-state civil union||—||—||88||276||—||No|
|American Samoa||March 2003||Marriage||Failed||—||—||—||No|
|New Hampshire||March 2003||Recognition of out-of-state civil union||—||—||Failed||—||No|
|Texas||May 2003||Recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriage and civil union||Passed||Passed||Signed||Yes|
|Ohio||February 2004||Marriage, recognition of out-of-state marriage, and civil union||72||22||18||15||Signed||Yes|
|Utah||March 2004||Civil union||Passed||Passed||Signed||Yes|
|Virginia||April 2004||Civil union||27||12||69||30||N/A3||Yes|
|New Hampshire||May 2004||Recognition of out-of-state marriage||16||7||215||137||Signed||Yes2|
|Wyoming||February 2007||Recognition of out-of-state marriage||21||8||—||—||—||No|
|New Hampshire||March 2008||Recognition of out-of-state union||—||—||Failed||—||No|
|New Hampshire||March 2009||Civil union||—||—||136||205||—||No|
|New Hampshire||February 2010||Marriage||—||—||109||210||—||No|
|Wyoming||March 2011||Recognition of out-of-state marriage||14||16||31||28||—||No|
|New Hampshire||March 2012||Marriage||—||—||116||211||—||No|
|Wyoming||February 2014||Recognition of out-of-state marriage||—||—||29||31||—||No|
- 1 On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges that a fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples by the Fourteenth Amendment, and that states must allow same-sex marriage.
- 2 Subsequently repealed.
- 3 The bill was allowed to lapse into law.
- 4 Veto overridden.
Attempts to establish same-sex unions via initiative or statewide referendum
|State||Intended date||Same-sex union||Description||Outcome|
|Maine||November 2012||Marriage||Initiative to establish same-sex marriage.||Yes|
Efforts to enable ban amendment
|State||Date||Type of same-sex union||Upper House||Lower house||Final
|Hawaii||1998||Marriage ban permitted||Passed||Passed||Placed on Ballot|
|November 1998||Referendum (69.18%)||Yes|
|Alaska||1998||Same-sex marriage||14||6||28||12||Placed on Ballot|
|November 1998||Referendum (68.1%)||Yes|
|Indiana||February 2004||Same-sex marriage||42||7||—||—||No|
|Missouri||2004||Same-sex marriage||Passed||Passed||Placed on Ballot|
|August 2004||Referendum (70.6%)||Yes|
|Louisiana||May/June 2004||Same-sex marriage and civil unions||31||6||64||29||No|
|87||11||Placed on Ballot|
|September 2004||Referendum (77.79%)||Yes|
|Mississippi||2004||Same-sex marriage||Passed||Passed||Placed on Ballot|
|November 2004||Referendum (86.01%)||Yes|
|Georgia||February/March 2004||Same-sex marriage and civil unions||40||14||117||50||No|
|122||52||Placed on Ballot|
|November 2004||Referendum (76.2%)||Yes|
|Utah||March 2004||Same-sex marriage and civil unions||20||7||58||14||Placed on Ballot|
|November 2004||Referendum (65.86%)||Yes|
|Kentucky||April 2004||Same-sex marriage and civil unions||33||5||85||11||Placed on Ballot|
|November 2004||Referendum (74.55%)||Yes|
|Oklahoma||April 2004||Same-sex marriage and civil unions||26||19||92||4||Placed on Ballot|
|November 2004||Referendum (75.58%)||Yes|
|Kansas||January/February 2005||Same-sex marriage and civil unions||28||11||86||37||Placed on Ballot|
|April 2005||Referendum (69.94%)||Yes|
|Texas||May 2005||Same-sex marriage and civil unions||21||8||101||29||Placed on Ballot|
|November 2005||Referendum (76.25%)||Yes|
|Alabama||March 2005||Same-sex marriage and civil unions||30||0||85||7||Placed on Ballot|
|June 2006||Referendum (81.2%)||Yes|
|South Carolina||2005||Same-sex marriage and civil unions||Passed||Passed||Placed on Ballot|
|November 2006||Referendum (77.97%)||Yes|
|South Dakota||February 2005||Same-sex marriage and civil unions||20||14||55||14||Placed on Ballot|
|November 2006||Referendum (51.83%)||Yes|
|Wisconsin||March 2004||Same-sex marriage and civil unions||20||13||68||27||Advanced|
|February 2006||19||14||62||31||Placed on Ballot|
|November 2006||Referendum (59.4%)||Yes|
|Tennessee||May 2004||Same-sex marriage||28||1||85||5||Advanced|
|March 2005||29||3||88||7||Placed on Ballot|
|November 2006||Referendum (81.25%)||Yes|
|Idaho||February 2006||Same-sex marriage and civil unions||26||9||53||17||Placed on Ballot|
|November 2006||Referendum (63.4%)||Yes|
|Virginia||March 2006||All types of same-sex unions||28||11||85||12||Placed on Ballot|
|November 2006||Referendum (57.06%)||Yes|
|Pennsylvania||June 2006||Same-sex marriage||38||12||136||61||Advanced|
|Arizona||May/June 2008||Same-sex marriage||14||11||35||25||No|
|16||4||Placed on Ballot|
|November 2008||Referendum (56.2%)||Yes|
|Wyoming||February 2009||Same-sex marriage||—||—||25||35||No|
|West Virginia||March 2009||Same-sex marriage||—||—||30||67||No|
|Indiana||January 2010||Same-sex marriage and civil unions||38||10||—||—||No|
|New Hampshire||February 2010||Same-sex marriage||—||—||135||201||No|
|Wyoming||January 2011||Same-sex marriage||20||10||—||—||No|
|Iowa||February 2011||Same-sex marriage||—||—||62||37||No|
|North Carolina||September 2011||Same-sex marriage and civil unions||30||16||75||42||Placed on Ballot|
|May 2012||Referendum (61.04%)||Yes|
|Minnesota||May 2011||Same-sex marriage||37||27||70||62||Placed on Ballot|
|November 2012||Referendum (47.44%)||No|
|Indiana||March 2011||Same-sex marriage and civil unions||40||10||70||26||No, Bill was amended|
|Indiana||February 2014||Same-sex marriage||32||17||57||40||Advanced|
Efforts to ban same-sex unions by constitutional amendment
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The following table shows all popular vote results regarding state constitutional amendments concerning same-sex marriage, and in some cases civil unions and domestic partnerships. The Hawaii amendment is different in that it granted the legislature authority to "reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples" (which the legislature had already done).
|State||Initiative||Ban on||Date||Yes vote||No vote||Total votes||Voter turnout||Electorate||Final
|Alabama||Amendment 774||Marriage and
|June 6, 2006||697,591||81.2%||161,694||18.8%||859,285||25.73%||3,338,467||Yes|
|Alaska||Ballot Measure 2||Marriage||November 3, 1998||152,965||68.1%||71,631||31.9%||224,596||50.11%||453,332||Yes|
|Arizona||Proposition 107||Marriage and
|November 7, 2006||721,789||48.2%||775,498||51.8%||1,496,987||38.15%||3,923,786||No|
|Arizona||Proposition 102||Marriage||November 4, 2008||1,258,355||56.2%||980,753||43.8%||2,239,078||55.33%||2,987,451||Yes|
|Arkansas||Constitutional Amendment 3||Marriage and
|November 2, 2004||753,770||74.95%||251,914||25.04%||1,005,684||51.07%||1,969,208||Yes|
|California||Proposition 8||Marriage||November 4, 2008||7,001,084||52.24%||6,401,482||47.76%||13,743,177||61.73%||22,261,504||Yes2|
|Colorado||Amendment 43||Marriage||November 7, 2006||855,126||55.02%||699,030||44.98%||1,554,156||47.13%||3,297,308||Yes|
|Florida||Amendment 2||Marriage and
|November 4, 2008||4,890,883||61.92%||3,008,026||38.08%||8,456,329||66.65%||12,687,407||Yes|
|Georgia||Constitutional Amendment 1||Marriage and
|November 2, 2004||2,454,930||76.2%||768,716||23.8%||3,223,646||54.84%||5,878,186||Yes|
|Hawaii||Constitutional Amendment 2||Marriage ban
|November 3, 1998||285,384||69.18%||117,827||28.56%||403,211||Yes3|
|Idaho||Amendment 2||Marriage and
|November 7, 2006||282,386||63.4%||163,384||36.6%||445,770||49.04%||908,925||Yes|
|Kansas||Proposed amendment 1||Marriage and
|April 5, 2005||417,675||69.94%||179,432||30.06%||597,107||Yes|
|Kentucky||Constitutional Amendment 1||Marriage and
|November 2, 2004||1,222,125||74.55%||417,097||25.45%||1,639,222||53.6%||3,057,741||Yes|
|Louisiana||Constitutional Amendment 1||Marriage and
|September 18, 2004||619,908||77.79%||177,067||22.21%||796,975||25.04%||3,182,762||Yes|
|Michigan||State Proposal - 04-2||All types of same-sex unions||November 2, 2004||2,698,077||58.63%||1,904,319||41.37%||4,602,396||63.36%||7,263,024||Yes|
|Minnesota||Amendment 1||Marriage||November 6, 2012||1,399,916||47.44%||1,550,864||52.56%||2,950,780||76.11%||3,876,752||No|
|Mississippi||Amendment 1||Marriage||November 2, 2004||957,104||86.01%||155,648||13.99%||1,112,752||53.78%||2,068,766||Yes|
|Missouri||Constitutional Amendment 2||Marriage||August 3, 2004||1,055,771||70.6%||439,529||29.4%||1,495,300||35.76%||4,180,960||Yes|
|Montana||Initiative 96||Marriage||November 2, 2004||295,070||66.55%||148,263||33.45%||443,333||63.41%||699,114||Yes|
|Nebraska||Initiative Measure 416||All types of same-sex unions||November 7, 2000||450,07||70.36%||189,555||29.64%||639,628||52.24%||1,224,178||Yes|
|Nevada||Question 2||Marriage||November 7, 2000||412,688||69.62%||180,077||30.38%||592,765||44.03%||1,346,116||Yes|
|Nevada||Question 2||Marriage||November 7, 2002||337,197||67.20%||164,573||32.80%||501,770||42.61%||1,391,100||Yes|
|North Carolina||Amendment 1||Marriage and
|May 8, 2012||1,317,178||61.04%||840,802||38.96%||2,157,980||34.66%||6,296,759||Yes|
|North Dakota||Constitutional Measure 1||Marriage and
|November 2, 2004||223,572||73.23%||81,716||26.77%||305,288||63.24%||482,722||Yes|
|Ohio||State Issue 1||Marriage and
|November 2, 2004||3,329,335||61.71%||2,065,462||38.29%||5,394,797||64.01%||8,427,696||Yes|
|Oklahoma||State Question 711||Marriage and
|November 2, 2004||1,075,216||75.58%||347,303||24.42%||1,422,519||56.65%||2,510,823||Yes|
|Oregon||Measure 36||Marriage||November 2, 2004||1,028,546||56.63%||787,556||43.37%||1,816,102||71.19%||2,550,887||Yes|
|South Carolina||Amendment 1||Marriage and
|November 7, 2006||829,360||77.97%||234,316||22.03%||1,063,676||33.74%||3,152,046||Yes|
|South Dakota||Amendment C||All types of same-sex unions||November 7, 2006||172,305||51.83%||160,152||48.17%||332,457||57.26%||580,592||Yes|
|Tennessee||Amendment 1||Marriage||November 7, 2006||1,419,434||81.3%||327,536||18.7%||1,746,970||39.4%||4,433,921||Yes|
|Texas||Proposition 2||Marriage and
|November 8, 2005||1,723,782||76.25%||536,913||23.74%||2,260,695||17.97%||12,577,545||Yes|
|Utah||Constitutional Amendment 3||Marriage and
|November 2, 2004||593,297||65.86%||307,488||34.14%||900,785||57.21%||1,574,463||Yes4|
|Virginia||Marshall-Newman Amendment||All types of same-sex unions||November 7, 2006||1,328,537||57.06%||999,687||42.94%||2,328,224||43.23%||5,385,522||Yes|
|Wisconsin||Referendum 1||Marriage and
|November 7, 2006||1,264,310||59.4%||862,924||40.6%||2,127,234||52.33%||4,064,432||Yes|
- 1 On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges that a fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples by the Fourteenth Amendment, and that states must allow same-sex marriage.
- 2 On June 26, 2013, the United States Supreme Court ruled that supporters of the measure did not have standing in federal court to defend the August 2010 ruling by Northern District of California's Chief Judge Vaughn Walker that the amendment was unconstitutional under both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment, effectively killing the ballot initiative.
- 3 Does not explicitly define marriage, but allows the legislature to define marriage.
- 4 On December 20, 2013, Judge Robert J. Shelby of Federal District Court for the District of Utah, issued a 53-page ruling that said Utah’s law, which was passed by voters in 2004, violated the US Constitutional rights of gay and lesbian couples to due process and equal protection under the 14th Amendment.
Recent, pending, or proposed attempts to constitutionally block same-sex unions
|Delaware||2009||A proposed constitutional amendment, Senate Bill 27, to ban same-sex marriage failed.||Failed|
|2014||On February 15, 2011, the Indiana House approved a ban on civil unions and marriage (70-26). The bill passed the Indiana Senate by a 40-10 vote. According to state law, the bill must now be approved by the next, separately elected legislature before voters will see the measure on the 2014 ballot. On January 27, 2014, the Indiana House voted 52-43 to remove the ban on civil unions from the proposed measure. On January 28, 2014, the Indiana House voted 57-40 in favor of the amended measure. On February 17, 2014, the Indiana Senate voted 32-17 approving the House-amended version of the ban on gay marriage. The measure will now need to be approved by the next, separately elected legislature before voters are allowed to decide its fate in 2016.||Failed|
|After the Iowa Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal in 2009, a backlash quickly developed that resulted in three of the justices losing their seats in the 2010 election. Additionally, Republicans took control of the House and fell one seat short of taking over the Senate. For a proposed constitutional amendment to come before Iowa voters, it has to be approved in exactly the same form by two consecutive general assemblies.||Failed|
|2011||A bill was sponsored in 2009 but failed to be brought up for a vote. An amendment was introduced again in 2011. The House and Senate bills passed. Both are referred to other area.[clarification needed] The bill would have been approved by majority by both the Senate and house by May 23, 2011.[clarification needed] On May 11, 2011, the Senate passed the bill 38-27. On May 22, 2011, an amendment was passed by the house by a vote of 70-62, and was placed on the ballot in the November 2012 election.||Failed|
|2010||On February 17, 2010, a proposed constitutional amendment failed in the house by a 201-135 margin. Constitutional amendments in New Hampshire require two-thirds approval from voters.||Failed|
|2010||Bills to place an amendment on the ballot have all failed in the House or Senate Judiciary Committee.||Failed|
|2014||A joint resolution was prefiled in the New Mexico legislature for the 2014 session. The resolution would define marriage as one man and one woman for the state of New Mexico.||Failed|
|A joint resolution was introduced in the house of representatives with record low sponsorship on May 8, 2013. The bill would ban same-sex marriages and civil unions. Pennsylvania would become the first northeastern state with a marriage amendment. According to state law, the amendment must receive a majority vote from both chambers of the legislature in two consecutive sessions before voters are allowed to decide its fate. The soonest voters could see the measure is in 2015.||Failed|
|West Virginia senators proposed a constitutional amendment for the 2010 ballot that would have defined marriage as "a union between and man and a woman". The amendment was defeated. Another proposition was introduced in January 2011 but failed to advance.||Failed|
|Wyoming||2009||2011||In 2009, the house of representatives considered an amendment to the state constitution, House Joint Resolution 17 (also known as the "Defense of Marriage" resolution), defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The measure was defeated in the house on February 6, with 35 votes against and 25 in favor. On January 27, 2011, the Senate approved an amendment, but it died in the house.||Failed|
Efforts to ban same-sex unions by statute
The following consists of votes by statutory initiatives that ban same-sex marriage and/or civil unions and domestic partnerships:
|State||Date||Yes vote||No vote||Description||Final outcome|
|California||March 2000||61% (4,618,673)||39% (2,909,370)||Proposition 22. Amend the Family Code to say: Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.1||Yes but ruled unconstitutional.2|
- 1 There is a debate as to whether the adoption of Prop 22 only prohibited California from recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states.
- 2 In March 2005, Judge Richard Kramer ruled there appeared to be no rational state compelling interest in limiting marriage to heterosexual couples. His ruling was appealed to the California Court of Appeal for the 1st District, which upheld Proposition 22 on October 5, 2006. The Supreme Court of California ruled on May 15, 2008, that Proposition 22 is unconstitutional and it was struck down by the state's highest court.
Lawsuits seeking to overturn statutory bans
||This article may be confusing or unclear to readers. (October 2009) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
The following lists cases seeking to overturn marriage bans:
|State||Case||Date||Vote for||Vote against||Description||Restrictions unconstitutional?||Final outcome|
|Minnesota||Richard John Baker v. Gerald R. Nelson||October 15, 1971||0||7||Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that Minnesota's marriage statute applied only to opposite-sex couples. The case was appealed to the United States Supreme Court, but dismissed on October 10, 1972.||No||No|
|Kentucky||Jones v. Callahan||November 9, 1973||0||7||Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled that Kentucky's marriage statute applied only to opposite-sex couples.||No||No|
|Washington||Singer v. Hara||October 1974||Failed||Washington Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of same-sex couple who were denied a marriage license by their county clerk. Washington Court of Appeals's decision stating that state marriage statutes only applied to opposite-sex couples upheld.||No||No|
|District of Columbia||Dean v. District of Columbia'||January 1995||0||9||District of Columbia Court of Appeals ruled that District's marriage statute applied only to opposite-sex couples.||No||No|
|Hawaii||Baehr v. Miike||December 9, 1999||0||5||Hawaii Supreme Court ruled on May 5, 1993, in a 3 in favor to 1 against decision, that state must provide a compelling interest to restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples. Remanded case to lower courts for trial on the subject. On December 3, 1996, Judge Chang ruled that the state had not established any compelling interest in denying same-sex couples the ability to marry and that, even if it had, it failed to prove that the Hawaii statute was narrowly tailored to avoid unnecessary abridgement of constitutional rights. He enjoined the state from refusing to issue marriage licenses to otherwise-qualified same-sex couples. The following day Chang stayed his ruling, acknowledging the "legally untenable" position couples would be in should the Supreme Court reverse him on appeal. Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that plaintiffs' arguments were moot in light of 1998 state constitutional amendment.||No||No|
|Vermont||Baker v. Vermont||December 20, 1999||5||0||Vermont Supreme Court rules that same-sex marriage or something similar must be implemented in 100 days.||Yes||Legalized civil unions in Vermont by Vermont General Assembly|
|Alaska||Brause v. Alaska Dept of Health & Social Services||April 17, 2001||0||5||Alaska Supreme Court ruled that plaintiffs' arguments were moot in light of 1998 state constitutional amendment.||No||No|
|Massachusetts||Goodridge v. Department of Public Health||November 18, 2003||4||3||Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rules that same-sex marriages must be legal in 180 days.||Yes||Legalized same-sex marriage in Massachusetts on May 17, 2004|
|Arizona||Harold Donald Standhardt and Tod Alan Keltner v. State of Arizona||May 25, 2004||Failed||Arizona Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of a unanimous Arizona Appellate Court ruling upholding statutory marriage ban.||No||No|
|Louisiana||Forum for Equality v McKeithen||January 19, 2005||0||7||District Judge William Morvant of Baton Rouge struck down the constitutional amendment on the grounds that it violated a provision of the state constitution requiring that an amendment cover only one subject. The Louisiana Supreme Court however upheld the constitutional amendment.||No||No|
|Oregon||Mary Li and Rebecca Kennedy et al. v. State of Oregon et al.||April 2005||0||7||Oregon Supreme Court ruled that plaintiffs' arguments were moot in light of 2004 state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.||No||No|
|New York||Hernandez v. Robles||July 6, 2006||2||4||New York Court of Appeals upheld New York's marriage statute did not allow same-sex marriage, and that there is no constitutional right to same-sex marriage.||No||No|
|Georgia||Perdue v. O'Kelley||July 7, 2006||0||7||On May 16, 2006, Constance C. Russell of Fulton County Superior Court struck down the constitutional amendment on the grounds that it violated a provision of the state constitution requiring that an amendment cover only one subject. The Georgia Supreme Court however upheld the constitutional amendment.||No||No|
|Washington||Andersen v. King County||July 26, 2006||4||5||Washington Supreme Court upholds Washington's statute banning same-sex marriage.||No||No|
|New Jersey||Lewis v. Harris||October 25, 2006||7||0||New Jersey Supreme Court rules that same-sex marriage or something similar must be implemented in 100 days.||Yes||Legalized civil unions in New Jersey by New Jersey General Assembly|
|Maryland||Conaway v. Deane & Polyak||September 2007||3||4||Maryland Court of Appeals upholds Maryland's statute banning same-sex marriage.||No||No|
|Michigan||Pride at Work v. Granholm||May 7, 2008||5||2||Michigan Supreme Court ruled that Michigan's constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and civil unions also applies to domestic partner benefits.||No||Constitution of Michigan prohibits domestic partner benefits for same-sex couples|
|California||In re Marriage Cases||May 15, 2008||4||3||California Supreme Court overturns Proposition 22 and rules that in 30 days, same-sex marriages must be legal.||Yes|| Same-sex marriage licenses issued in California from June 17, 2008 to November 5, 2008
On November 5, 2008, Proposition 8 goes into effect banning same-sex marriage in the Constitution of California
|Connecticut||Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health||October 10, 2008||4||3||Connecticut Supreme Court rules that same-sex marriages must be legal in 30 days.||Yes||Legalized same-sex marriage in Connecticut on November 12, 2008|
|Iowa||Varnum v. Brien||April 2009||7||0||Iowa Supreme Court rules that same-sex marriages must be legal in 27 days.||Yes||Legalized same-sex marriage in Iowa on April 27, 2009|
|California||Strauss v. Horton||May 26, 2009||1||6||California Supreme Court upholds Proposition 8; however, same-sex marriages performed before November 5, 2008, are also upheld.||No|| California Supreme Court upholds Proposition 8; however, same-sex marriages performed before November 5, 2008, are also upheld.
|New York||Lewis v. New York State Department of Civil Service||November 2009||3||2||The case challenging the recognition of same-sex marriages in the state of New York was heard by New York Court of Appeals and upheld the rights that came with the recognition of same-sex marriages.||Recognition upheld||Continuing the recognition of same-sex marriages abroad.|
|Wisconsin||McConkey v. Van Hollen||June 30, 2010||0||7||Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds constitutional amendment.||No||No|
|Wyoming||Christiansen v. Christiansen||June 2011||Allowed||Wyoming Supreme Court allows two Wyoming residents to dissolve a legal relationship created under the laws of Canada.||Yes||Couple can divorce in Wyoming|
|Maryland||McConkey v. Van Hollen||May 18, 2012||7||0||Maryland Court of Appeals upholds Maryland's recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages.||Recognition upheld||Continuing the recognition of same-sex marriages abroad.|
|Wisconsin||Appling v. Doyle||July 31, 2014||7||0||On November 4, 2009, Wisconsin Supreme Court declined to hear the challenge to Wisconsin's domestic partnership. On June 20, 2011, the Circuit court Judge Dan Moeser ruled that the domestic partnership registry does not violate the state constitution, finding that the state "does not recognize domestic partnership in a way that even remotely resembles how the state recognizes marriage". On December 21, 2012, District 4 Court of Appeals affirms Judge Moeser's decision in a unanimous ruling. On July 31, 2014, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the domestic partnership law does not violate the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.||Recognition upheld||Wisconsin's domestic partnership law is upheld.|
|Montana||Donaldson and Guggenheim v. State of Montana||December 2012||3||4||Montana Supreme Court affirmed a lower court's dismissal of this case because the plaintiffs had not identified specific state statutes in their complaint. They did not seek the right to marry, but equal treatment for same-sex couples with respect to inheritance rights, health care decisions, and parenting. The Court invited the plaintiffs to file an amended complaint citing specific statutes, which the plaintiffs, did on April 16, 2013.||No||Pending (Lewis and Clark County District Court)|
|New Mexico||Griego v. Oliver||December 19, 2013||5||0||On 21 March 2013 ACLU filed a lawsuit in the Albuquerque District court on behalf of two New Mexico couples who are seeking the right to marry. On 19 December 2013 New Mexico's Supreme Court declared that denying marriage to same-sex couples is unconstitutional in the state.||Yes||Legalized same-sex marriage in New Mexico on December 19, 2013|
|Texas||In Re Marriage of J.B. and H.B.||June 19, 2015||n/a||n/a||County judge ruled statutory and constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in violation of the US constitution; appealed to 5th Texas Court of Appeals. The court says Texas's same-sex marriage ban is constitutional. The Fifth Circuit denied en banc review. J.B. sought review from the Texas Supreme Court in February 2011 and that court requested briefs in October. On July 3, 2013, the Texas Supreme Court sua sponte ordered supplemental merits briefing in light of United States v. Windsor.||Case dismissed on June 19, 2015 because a Petitioner died.|
|Texas||Texas v. Naylor||June 19, 2015||5||3||On January 7, 2011, the Third Court of Appeals in Austin in the case of State of Texas v. Angelique S. Naylor and Sabina Daly rejected, on procedural grounds, the Texas attorney general's appeal of a divorce granted by a lower court to a same-sex couple married in Massachusetts. The appeal was still pending in December 2012.||Third Court of Appeals upheld in a 5-3 decision on June 19, 2015. The Court ruled that the Texas government had no standing to intervene in the divorce.|
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- Same-sex marriage status in the United States by state
- Same-sex marriage law in the United States by state
- Same-sex union legislation
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- California Assembly Bill 205, 2003
- New Jersey Domestic Partnership Act
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