In the United States, same-sex marriages are recognized by the U.S. federal government and are legal in 36 U.S. states,[a] the District of Columbia, and 21 Native American tribal jurisdictions. Same-sex marriage is also legal in St. Louis, Missouri but is licensed without explicit legality in two other jurisdictions in Missouri; the entire state recognizes same-sex marriages established in jurisdictions where it is legal. Marriage licenses are widely available to same-sex couples in Kansas, though the state does not recognize their validity. Including states in which same-sex marriage is only legal in some jurisdictions, same-sex marriage is legal in 37 states. More than eight hundred marriage licenses were issued to same-sex couples in Michigan and Arkansas between the time their bans were struck down by federal or state courts and when those rulings were stayed. More than 70% of Americans live in a jurisdiction where same-sex couples can legally marry.
The movement to obtain civil marriage rights and benefits for same-sex couples in the United States began in the 1970s, but became increasingly prominent in U.S. politics following the 1993 Hawaii Supreme Court decision in Baehr v. Lewin that declared that state's prohibition to be unconstitutional. During the 21st century, public support for same-sex marriage has grown considerably, 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. On May 9, 2012, Barack Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to publicly declare support for the legalization of same-sex marriage. 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[b] and state courts in six states,[c] plus one state court ruling addressing only the recognition of same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions,[d] have found that same-sex marriage bans violate the U.S. Constitution, while two U.S. district courts[e] and one state court[f] 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.[g] Most court-ordered injunctions that enforce the right to same-sex marriage, where the court has ruled in favor of such, have taken effect. The main exceptions are from U.S. district court cases in Texas and Mississippi on appeal to the Fifth Circuit,[h] U.S. district court cases from Arkansas and Missouri pending resolution in the Eighth Circuit,[i] and in one case each before the Arkansas Supreme Court and Louisiana Supreme Court[j]—those have been stayed indefinitely.
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, as well as 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 affected Alaska, Arizona, and Montana. Litigation seeking to reverse court decisions that resulted in the legalization of same-sex marriage continues in 10 states.[k]
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 and/or refuse to recognize such marriages legally performed in another state. Final briefs are due April 17. The cases are: Obergefell v. Hodges (Ohio), Tanco v. Haslam (Tennessee), DeBoer v. Snyder (Michigan), and Bourke v. Beshear (Kentucky).
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.
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. Even before DOMA, however, states sometimes refused to recognize a marriage from another jurisdiction if it was counter to its "strongly held public policies". 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.[l]
As a result of the Windsor decision, married same-sex couples–regardless of domicile–have tax benefits (including the ability to file joint federal income tax returns), military benefits, federal employment benefits, and immigration benefits. 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. Likewise in June 2014, family medical leave benefits under the Family Medical Leave Act 1975 were extended to married same-sex couples. 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.
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 and Utah. It has yet to take a position with respect to similar marriages in Arkansas, Indiana, and Wisconsin.
In 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court declined an appeal in Baker v. Nelson, a same-sex marriage case from Minnesota, "for want of a substantial federal question." The Baker precedent for many years closed the federal courts to legal advocacy on behalf of same-sex marriage rights. Since the Supreme Court decision in Windsor, however, most federal courts that have considered same-sex marriage cases have held that Baker is no longer binding precedent, because, as a district judge in Pennsylvania wrote in November 2013, "[t]he jurisprudence of equal protection and substantive due process has undergone what can only be characterized as a sea change since 1972".
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. 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.
State laws regarding same-sex marriage in the United States1
Same-sex marriage legal2,3
Same-sex marriage legalization pending4
Same-sex marriage not prohibited or recognized
Same-sex marriage ban overturned, decision stayed indefinitely
Same-sex marriage banned
1Native American tribal jurisdictions have laws pertaining to same-sex marriage independent of state law. The federal government recognizes legally performed same-sex marriages, regardless of the current state of residence. 2 Many jurisdictions in Kansas issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but same-sex marriage is not recognized by the state government. 3 Same-sex marriages are licensed in three jurisdictions in Missouri, but is only legal in St. Louis. All legal same-sex marriages are recognized by the state government. The state's same-sex marriage ban was overturned, but the decision is stayed indefinitely. 4 Rulings striking down Alabama's same-sex marriage ban have been stayed until February 9, 2015.
Prior to 2004, same-sex marriage was not performed in any U.S. jurisdiction. It has since been legalized in different jurisdictions through legislation, court rulings, tribal council rulings, and popular vote in statewide referenda.
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,
As of January 6, 2015, jurisdictions that issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples include 36 states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, 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) and the District of Columbia, except that in Kansas marriage licenses are not available in all counties. All those jurisdictions recognize the validity of their licenses, again except for Kansas, where the state government refuses 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 is also the only one of those jurisdictions that fails to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions.
Same-sex marriage in Missouri has a singularly complicated status. A state court ruling striking down Missouri's same-sex marriage ban required St. Louis, an independent city, to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. St. Louis County and Jackson County also issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The state also recognizes same-sex marriages established in other jurisdictions.
Thirteen states (Alabama, 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), prohibit the licensing of same-sex marriages and their recognition from other jurisdictions.
Three territories (American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands) do not have any law prohibiting or recognizing same-sex marriage.[n] Even with no prohibition, none of these territories license same-sex marriage or recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions.
Five states (Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, South Dakota, and Texas) have one or more state or federal court rulings striking down their same-sex marriage bans that have been stayed pending appeal. federal court rulings striking down Alabama's ban takes effect on February 9, 2015. In Louisiana, a state court judge's decision striking down the state's ban, affecting 3 parishes, has been stayed pending appeal.
The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in 1971 that Minnesota's laws prohibiting marriages between same-sex partners did not violate the federal constitution. In 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider the case, Baker v. Nelson, "for want of a substantial federal question."
In April 1993, as part of the demonstrations surrounding the gay rights march in Washington, D.C., about 1,500 same-sex couples staged a mass wedding ceremony with "a dozen ministers, organ music, photographers and rice" at the National Museum of Natural History to call for marriage rights for gays and lesbians.
In 1998, in response to the Hawaii Supreme Court's ruling in Baehr v. Miike, Hawaii voters approved a state constitutional amendment allowing their legislature to ban same-sex marriage. This constitutional amendment was unique due to the fact it did not explicitly ban same-sex marriage, it simply allowed the legislature the option. Every other constitutional ban passed by states explicitly banned same-sex marriage.
The next decade saw lasting change. In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Texas' "Homosexual Conduct" law in Lawrence v. Texas. The ruling rendered same-sex sodomy laws in Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri and broader sodomy laws in nine other states unenforceable.
On May 15, 2008, the Supreme Court of California issued a decision that legalized same-sex marriage in California, holding that California's existing opposite-sex definition of marriage violated the constitutional rights of same-sex couples. To overturn the decision, opponents of same-sex marriage placed a state constitutional amendment on the November ballot. Known as Proposition 8, it passed in November 2008, as did similar marriage-restriction amendments in Florida and Arizona. Thus gay marriage started and stopped in California in 2008.
On August 4, 2010, a decision by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in Perry v. Schwarzenegger ruled that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional. The decision in that case was upheld at appeal and – as the State of California decided not to appeal or defend Proposition 8 – the voters who initially instigated the initiative appealed to the Supreme Court, which asked to be briefed for arguments concerning the appellants' standing, and heard oral arguments on March 26, 2013. The Supreme Court dismissed the case for lack of standing on June 26, 2013, after which same-sex marriage once again became legal in California. Same-sex marriages resumed on June 28, 2013.
On October 10, 2008, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that the state's civil unions statute discriminated against same-sex couples and required the state to recognize same-sex marriages. On November 12, 2008, the first marriage licenses to same-sex couples were issued and the following year, the state enacted gender-neutral marriage legislation.
On April 3, 2009, a unanimous Iowa Supreme Court ruling upheld a lower court ruling in Varnum v. Brien that denying marriage rights to same-sex couples violated the state constitution, and licenses became available on April 27.
By 2009, New England became the center of an organized campaign to legalize same-sex marriage. On April 7, 2009, Vermont legalized same-sex marriage through legislation. The Governor of Vermont had previously vetoed the measure, but the veto was overridden by the Legislature. Vermont was the first state in the United States to legalize same-sex marriage through legislative means rather than litigation. On May 6, 2009, Maine Governor John Baldacci signed a law legalizing same-sex marriage, becoming the first state governor to do so. Nonetheless, the legislation was stayed pending a vote and never went into effect. It was repealed by referendum in November 2009. On June 3, 2009, New Hampshire became the sixth state nationally to legalize same-sex marriage.Rhode Island legalized same-sex marriage in 2013, the sixth and last state in that region to do so.
As of January 2010[update], 29 states had constitutional provisions restricting marriage to one man and one woman, while 12 others had statutes that did so. Nineteen states banned any legal recognition of same-sex unions that would be equivalent to civil marriage. Voters approved 28 out of 30 popular referenda in which states asked voters to adopt a constitutional amendment or initiative defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.[o] Arizonans voted down one such amendment in 2006, but approved a different amendment to that effect in 2008. In 2012, Minnesota became the second state to reject an amendment to its state constitution banning same-sex marriage. A bill that would have legalized same-sex marriage in New Jersey was vetoed by Governor Chris Christie on February 17, 2012.
Prior to the November 2012 election, Maryland recognized same-sex marriages formed in other jurisdictions, but did not license such marriages. Similarly, New York did not issue marriage license to same-sex couples but its courts had mandated the recognition of same-sex marriages established elsewhere, a situation which changed when its legislature legalized same-sex marriage in 2011.
In the regular November 2012 elections, voters for the first time approved the legalization of same-sex marriage by popular vote in three states: Maine, Maryland, and Washington. Maine's law took effect on December 29, 2012. Maryland started allowing same-sex marriages on January 1, 2013, In Washington state, the first licenses were distributed on December 6, with the first marriages on December 9 following the mandatory three day waiting period. In the same election, Minnesota became the first state to reject a statewide constitutional ban that banned same-sex marriage (but not any other type of union) by a popular vote. Arizona was the first state that rejected an amendment in 2006 that banned same-sex marriage and all other forms of same-sex unions, but they also approved an amendment in 2008 to ban only same-sex marriage. This puts Minnesota as the first state to reject a constitutional ban to same-sex marriage.
Several jurisdictions enacted same-sex marriage in 2013. The Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians of Michigan voted in March 2013 to legalize same-sex marriages under their tribal jurisdiction, although the state maintained that it would not recognize the marriages.Rhode Island enacted legislation on May 2, which took effect August 1; Delaware enacted legislation on May 7, which took effect July 1; and Minnesota enacted legislation on May 14, which took effect August 1. In July 2013, a court clerk in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, with the rationale that the state marriage statutes were unconstitutional, but his action was overruled by a state intermediate appellate court in September and he was ordered to cease issuing the licenses.
New Jersey began issuing same-sex marriage licenses on October 21, 2013, following a September 27 state superior court decision that found an equal protection right of same-sex couples to marry. Governor Chris Christie filed an appeal to the New Jersey Supreme Court, but withdrew it after the court declined to stay the lower court's ruling.
In October and November 2013, the Hawaii legislature enacted legislation legalizing same-sex marriage, which Governor Neil Abercrombie signed on November 13. The law took effect on December 2, 2013. The Illinois General Assembly passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage on November 5, 2013. The House of Representatives narrowly passed an amended version of an earlier Senate bill 61–54–2 with the Senate approving the House version 32–21 only about an hour later. Governor Pat Quinn signed the legislation on November 20. On February 21, 2014 U.S District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman ruled that same-sex couples in Cook County, which includes Illinois' largest city Chicago, can obtain marriage licenses immediately and need not wait until the law's June 1 effective date. On February 26, 2014, a Champaign County clerk began issuing same-sex marriage licenses after consulting the State's Attorney and concluding that the Cook County order is applicable.
In 2013, certain New Mexico counties, either on the basis of a court decision or their clerks' own volition, began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. In August 2013, Doña Ana County and Santa Fe County began issuing same-sex marriage licenses, the latter through a court order. Although opponents filed for an injunction, same-sex marriage expanded to a total of eight New Mexico counties. On December 19, 2013, the state Supreme Court ruled unanimously that, effective immediately, same-sex marriage would be permitted throughout the state.
On December 20, 2013, Judge Robert J. Shelby of the U.S. District Court for Utah struck down Utah's same-sex marriage ban as unconstitutional in Kitchen v. Herbert.Salt Lake County began issuing marriage licenses immediately, followed by other counties. After failing to get the District Court or the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals to stay the decision pending appeal, Utah state officials asked for a stay from the United States Supreme Court, which granted the request on January 6, 2014. The stay allowed Utah to reinstate its ban on same-sex marriage and deny state services to married same-sex couples. On January 10, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the federal government would recognize the marriages of same-sex couples who married in Utah between December 20, 2013, and January 6, 2014. The Tenth Circuit ordered the appeals process to be heard on an expedited basis.
On February 12, U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn declared Kentucky's refusal to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions unconstitutional. On February 27, he ordered the state to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions, but the next day he stayed that order until March 20, and on March 19, he stayed it pending action by the Sixth Circuit. On July 1, a judge ruled in Love v. Beshear that Kentucky's refusal to license same-sex marriages was unconstitutional and stayed that ruling.
On February 26, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia ruled in De Leon v. Perry that Texas's ban on same-sex marriage is an unconstitutional "state-imposed inequality". He immediately stayed his ruling, pending an appeal.
On March 4, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan issued an opinion that a recent court decision ordering Cook County to issue marriage licenses immediately did not apply to all county clerks, but advised clerks that they should find the decision "persuasive as you evaluate whether to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples." Governor Pat Quinn then announced that the Illinois Department of Public Health would record marriages issued by any county clerk. Several of the state's 102 county clerks began, or announced plans to begin, issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in March.
On March 21, U.S. District Court Judge Bernard A. Friedman found Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. He did not stay enforcement of his decision. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette filed an emergency request with the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals for a stay pending appeal. Hundreds of same-sex couples obtained marriage licenses and some married in Michigan on the morning of March 22 before the appeals court temporarily stayed enforcement of the ruling. On March 26, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder said the Sixth Circuit's stay meant that "the rights tied to these marriages are suspended". On April 14, the ACLU filed a lawsuit, Caspar v. Snyder, asking the court to require the state to continue to recognize those marriages.
On May 9, 2014, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza struck down Arkansas' constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in Wright v. Arkansas. As the details of his ruling and requests for a stay were considered, approximately 450 same-sex marriage licenses were issued. The Arkansas Supreme Court stayed enforcement of his ruling pending appeal on May 16.
On May 13, U.S. District Magistrate Judge Candy Dale in Latta v. Otter issued a ruling striking down Idaho's ban on marriage for same-sex couples. She ordered the state to allow same-sex couples to marry and to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions. On May 20, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay pending appeal.
On June 25, 2014, the Tenth Circuit Court affirmed Judge Robert Shelby's ruling striking Utah's same-sex marriage ban. It was the first time a federal appeals court recognized that same-sex couples have a fundamental right to marry. The judgment was stayed pending review from the Supreme Court. Boulder County in Colorado, a state in the Tenth Circuit's jurisdiction, began issuing licenses despite the stay until ordered by the Colorado Supreme Court to stop. The same day, a federal district court in Indiana ruled Indiana's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Judge Richard L. Young did not issue a stay on his ruling and instructed all state agencies to provide marital benefits to same-sex couples. Two days later, the order was stayed by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals pending appeal.
On July 9, 2014, a state judge struck down Colorado's same-sex marriage ban in Brinkman v. Long, staying the decision pending appeal. A number of county clerks issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples on July 29, 2014, before an order from the Colorado Supreme Court halted the practice a month after a handful of county clerks had defied a ban in the State Constitution. On July 23, in Burns v. Hickenlooper, U.S. District Judge Raymond P. Moore also ruled that Colorado's ban against same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. On August 21, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the enforcement of Burns pending action by the U.S. Supreme Court on petitions for certiorari in similar cases.
In July and August 2014, several state judges in Florida found the state constitution's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional; all their orders were stayed. On August 21, 2014, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle made a similar ruling and stayed enforcement pending further appeals. On July 28, 2014, the Fourth Circuit affirmed the unconstitutionality of Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage in Bostic v. Schaefer. The U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay on August 20, 2014, one day before the Fourth Circuit's mandate was to go into effect. On September 4, 2014, a three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed the unconstitutionality of Indiana and Wisconsin's bans on same-sex marriage in Baskin v. Bogan. The Court stayed its decision before it took effect, pending action by U.S. Supreme Court.
On October 6, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take action on all five cases it had been asked to consider from appellate courts in the Fourth, Seventh, and Tenth Circuits, allowing the circuit court decisions striking down marriage bans to stand. The Tenth Circuit, lifting its stays in two cases that same day, ordered Oklahoma and Utah to recognize same-sex marriage, as did the Fourth Circuit for Virginia. The stays in the Seventh Circuit's cases expired automatically with the Supreme Court's dismissal of the certiorari petitions, allowing its rulings that Indiana and Wisconsin must recognize same-sex marriage to take effect. Same-sex marriage bans were expected to end in the six other states in those circuits that still banned same-sex marriage–Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming–as courts implemented the rulings in their circuits, but officials in South Carolina, Wyoming, and Kansas said they would continue to defend their states' bans. Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, by contrast, asked the Tenth Circuit to dismiss his appeal and lift its stay in Burns v. Hickenlooper. He asked the State Supreme Court to lift a stay preventing certain clerks from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Both courts lifted their stays on October 7, 2014, and Suthers ordered all county clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. As of October 6, 2014, most Americans live in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage.
On October 7, 2014, the Ninth Circuit ruled in two cases, overturning a district court in Nevada that had found that state's ban on same-sex marriage constitutional and affirming the decision of a district court in Idaho that had found that state's ban unconstitutional. In the case of Idaho, it issued the lower court's order requiring Idaho to cease enforcing its ban on same-sex marriage immediately. In the case of Nevada, the Ninth Circuit said it was ordering the district court in Nevada to issue a similar order with respect to that state. In a joint statement, Nevada's Governor Brian Sandoval and Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto said the state would not appeal the decision. It said: "Same sex marriage is now law in Nevada".
On October 8, 2014, Idaho officials asked that the Ninth Circuit allow enforcement of Idaho's same-sex marriage ban to continue while they sought rehearing en banc. They also asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stay implementation of the Ninth Circuit's decision while they sought rehearing by the Ninth Circuit or consideration by the Supreme Court. They cited a circuit split on the question of whether government actions that make distinctions on the basis of sexual orientation require review under the "heightened scrutiny" standard, to which few circuits have adopted. Justice Anthony Kennedy granted an emergency stay, which he withdrew when the full Supreme Court denied the stay request. Idaho Governor Butch Otter announced the state would no longer attempt to preserve the state's denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples, but Idaho sought another stay from the Ninth Circuit, which rejected the request on October 15.
Also on October 8, 2014, the chief judge of the state district court for Johnson County, Kansas, the most populous in the state, directed the court's clerk to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. On October 10, Kansas Chief Justice Lawton Nuss ordered all court clerks not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but allowed the acceptance of applications for marriage licenses to continue. Also on October 8, 2014, in South Carolina, some same-sex couples obtained marriage licenses, but the South Carolina Supreme Court ordered a halt to their issuance the next day.
On October 9, West Virginia Governor Ray Tomblin announced he was ordering state agencies to act in compliance with the recent decisions of federal courts on the unconstitutionality of same-sex marriage bans. On October 10, District Court Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr., ruling in General Synod of the United Church of Christ v. Cooper, struck down North Carolina's ban on same-sex marriage, citing the Fourth Circuit's ruling in Bostic v. Schaefer. Some North Carolina clerks began issuing marriage license to same-sex couple immediately. The ban in West Virginia was officially declared unconstitutional on November 7, 2014, by U.S. District Judge Robert C. Chambers.
The ACLU filed a lawsuit, Marie v. Moser, in U.S. district court in Kansas on October 10 on behalf of two lesbian couples who had been refused marriage licenses in the last few days. The suit named as defendants Robert Moser, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and two district court clerks.
On October 12, 2014, Judge Timothy M. Burgess ruled that Alaska's denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples is unconstitutional and issued an injunction to prevent state officials from continuing to enforce it. Alaska Governor Sean Parnell immediately stated his intention to appeal the decision, and the head of the state Bureau of Vital Statistics said, "We expect our office will be busy tomorrow, (October 13) but we will make every effort to help customers as quickly as possible."
On October 13, 2014, the Ninth Circuit lifted the stay it had imposed on May 20, 2014, in Latta v. Otter, allowing the district court decision to take effect, preventing further enforcement of Idaho's ban on same-sex marriage as of October 15, 2014. Also on October 13, the Coalition for the Protection of Marriage asked the Ninth Circuit to rehear Sevciken banc, charging that the Ninth Circuit's assignment of judges to cases that raise LGBT rights issues "did not result from a neutral judge-assignment process."
On October 17, 2014, U.S. District Judge John W. Sedwick declared Arizona's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional and enjoined the state from enforcing its ban, effective immediately. Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne said the state would not appeal the ruling and instructed county clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. On the same day, U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl ruled for the plaintiff same-sex couples in Wyoming in Guzzo v. Mead, but stayed enforcement of his ruling until October 23 or until the defendants informed the court that they will not appeal to the Tenth Circuit. The stay was lifted on October 21 when the state notified the court it would not appeal, ending enforcement of Wyoming's ban on same-sex marriage.
On November 4, 2014, U.S. District Judge Daniel D. Crabtree ruled in Marie v. Moser that Kansas' ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional and stayed enforcement of his ruling against state officials until 5 pm CST on November 11 unless the state defendants inform the court before then that they will not appeal the decision. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced the state planned to appeal and seek an initial hearing en banc from the Tenth Circuit. He sought a temporary stay from the Tenth Circuit without success and then asked Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, as Circuit Justice for the Tenth Circuit, to issue a stay pending appeal. On November 10 she granted a temporary stay pending consideration of their request. She referred the matter to the full court, which on November 12, with Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissenting, declined to issue a stay and lifted Sotomayor's temporary stay, leaving Judge Crabtree's order against the enforcement of Kansas' ban on same-sex marriage in place.
On November 5, 2014, a state judge in St. Louis ruled Missouri's ban unconstitutional. Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced plans to appeal the ruling to the Missouri Supreme Court, but not to seek a stay of the ruling's implementation because "[f]ollowing decisions in Idaho and Alaska, the United States Supreme Court has refused to grant stays on identical facts." The ruling directed St. Louis to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and the city's marriage license department immediately complied.St. Louis County, where an official said "We believe it's a county-by-county decision", began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples the next day. Koster and the Recorders' Association of Missouri said the decision only applied to the city of St. Louis.
On November 6, 2014, the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in a 2-1 decision, upheld the same-sex marriage bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. Attorneys for the plaintiffs in all six of the cases planned to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court rather than ask the Sixth Circuit to rehear the case en banc.
On November 7, a U.S. District Court judge ruled in Lawson v. Jackson County that Missouri's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. He stayed enforcement of his ruling pending appeal, and the Attorney General announced plans to appeal to the Eighth Circuit. In Jackson County, which includes Kansas City, officials began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples the same day.
On November 12, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Gergel ruled South Carolina's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional in Condon v. Haley. He issued a temporary stay of his ruling until noon on November 20.
Several of Kansas's 105 counties began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples for the first time on November 13, though the state attorney general contended that the federal court order in Marie v. Moser only applied to two counties. The Kansas Supreme Court's temporary order in State v. Moriarty that one judicial district not issue such licenses remained in place, until November 18, when the court ruled that Judge Moriarty was "within his jurisdiction" in ordering the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples and lifted its stay. By that date, 19 Kansas counties were issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. By November 20, 25 counties comprising more than two-thirds of the state's population were doing so.
On November 20, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a request for a stay in a South Carolina case, allowing the district court's order prohibiting enforcement of the state's ban on same-sex marriage to take effect. That same day, lawyers for the plaintiffs in a Louisiana case, Robicheaux v. Caldwell filed a petition for certiorari before judgment with the U.S. Supreme Court, citing the recent conflicting opinions on same-sex marriage in the federal circuit courts.
On December 8, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear joined Michigan officials in supporting plaintiffs' petitions for certiorari that ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review DeBoer v. Snyder and related cases in which the Sixth Circuit held bans on same-sex marriage constitutional. Ohio did the same on December 12. On December 15, Tennessee opposed Supreme Court review of Tanco v. Haslam.
On December 15, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi asked the Supreme Court for an extension of the district court's temporary stay in Brenner v. Scott. The U.S. Supreme Court denied the request on December 19. It was the first time that the Supreme Court refused to stay a marriage equality ruling by a district court within a circuit that has not yet ruled on marriage equality.
On January 1, 2015, Judge Robert L. Hinkle explained the scope of his injunction in Brenner v. Scott, writing that the Constitution rather than his order authorizes all Florida clerks to issue licenses to same-sex couples and that while clerks are free to interpret his ruling differently they should anticipate lawsuits if they fail to issue such licenses. In response, the law firm advising the Florida Association of Court Clerks reversed its earlier position and recommended that all clerks issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. A state court ruling in Pareto v. Ruvin on January 5 allowed same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses in Miami-Dade County that afternoon, and same-sex marriage became legal throughout Florida when Hinkle's injunction took effect at midnight.
On January 12, a retired minister of the United Church of Christ sued Michigan in federal court, challenging the state statute that makes performing a same-sex wedding ceremony a crime punishable by a fine.
On January 15, 2015, U.S. District Judge Mark A. Goldsmith ruled that Michigan must recognize the validity of more than 300 marriages of same-sex couples married the previous March in the time between a district court found the state's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals stayed that ruling. He stayed implementation of his ruling for 21 days.
On January 16, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear four cases on appeal from the Sixth Circuit, consolidating them as one and setting a briefing schedule to be completed April 17. The cases were: Obergefell v. Hodges (Ohio), Tanco v. Haslam (Tennessee), DeBoer v. Snyder (Michigan), and Bourke v. Beshear (Kentucky). Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Department of Justice would file an amicus brief in the case asking the court to "make marriage equality a reality for all Americans".
On January 23, U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. Granade ruled in Searcy v. Strange that Alabama's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. The Alabama Probate Judges Association issued a statement on January 24 that said "There is nothing in the judge's order that requires probate judges in Alabama to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples", On January 25, Judge Granade stayed her ruling for 14 days at the request of Attorney General Luther Strange to allow him to seek a longer stay from the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. On January 26, Strange asked the Eleventh Circuit for a stay of the district court's ruling pending appeal. On January 27, Judge Granade ruled in Strawser v. Strange in favor of a male couple seeking the right to marry on Alabama. She stayed her ruling to coincide with her stay in Searcy. The same day, Roy Moore, Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, praised the Probate Judges Association's stance and described federal court ruling's invalidating state bans on same-sex marriage as "judicial tyranny". On January 28, Judge Granade, in response to a request from the plaintiffs, clarified her order in Searcy, quoting at length from a recent Florida case Brenner v. Scott that those who fail to comply will bear the costs of additional suits that will produce the same result and that the question of whether all state officials are required to abide by her ruling is "beyond debate". In response, the Probate Judges Association acknowledged that her order in Searcy, if lifted, requires them to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and said it would encourage its members to comply.
States that fully license same-sex marriage
Note: This table shows only states that license same-sex marriages or have legalized it. It does not include states that recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions but do not license them.
Twenty-Second Judicial Circuit of Missouri ruling in Missouri v. Florida covering St. Louis City with no request for a stay. The ruling only applies to St. Louis City.St. Louis County is issuing because of their own interpretation of the state court ruling's effect and Jackson County is issuing in response to a federal court ruling that was stayed.
8,967,610 (70002800000000999992.8% of the U.S. population)
States with stayed rulings for same-sex marriage
Note: This table only lists states where a court has ruled the state's denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples unconstitutional while staying enforcement of its ruling pending appeal.
Enforcement temporarily stopped on May 14, 2014, after the Arkansas Supreme Court stated that Judge Piazza's order was silent about the state statutory same-sex marriage ban.
02014-05-15-0000May 15, 2014
02014-05-16-0000May 16, 2014
Trial judge issued a clarified order on May 15, 2014, preventing enforcement of any ban on same-sex marriage in the state. Licenses issued to same-sex couples again that day. The state appealed to the Arkansas Supreme Court, which entered a stay on May 16, 2014.
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.Fernando Espuelas argues that same-sex marriage should be allowed because same-sex marriage extends a civil right to a minority group. According to an American history scholar, Nancy Cott, "there really is no comparison, because there is nothing that is like marriage except marriage."
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."
The 2012 Democratic Party Platform used the term "marriage equality" in its expression of support.
Role of social media
Supporters of the legalization of same-sex marriage have successfully used social media websites such as Facebook to help achieve that goal. 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.
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. 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.
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, and in natural law-based reasoning. 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".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.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. 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. 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.
The funding of the amendment referendum campaigns has been an issue of great dispute. Both judges and the IRS 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.
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. 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." He opposed the 2008 California referendum that aimed at reversing a court ruling establishing same-sex marriage there. 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. 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. 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". 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. In October 2014, Obama told an interviewer that his view had changed:
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.
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."
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". 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.
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?'"
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."
This section is outdated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.(October 2014)
Public opinion of same-sex marriage in the United States of America
A poll reports a significant finding that a majority of that state's population supports same-sex marriage. (95% significant: Result is > 0.653 of the 95% sampling error (> 1.28σ) above 50%.)
A poll shows at least a plurality, and possibly a majority, of that state's population supports same-sex marriage.
A poll shows a statistical tie between support of and opposition to same-sex marriage. (Statistical tie: Not distinguishable at 95% confidence. Difference between support and opposition is < 0.842 of the 95% sampling error (< 1.65σ).)
A poll shows at least a plurality, and possibly a majority, of that state's population opposes same-sex marriage.
A poll reports a significant finding that a majority of that state's population opposes same-sex marriage. (95% significant: Result is > 0.653 of the 95% sampling error (> 1.28σ) above 50%.
No polling data within the past two years.
When a jurisdiction is striped with light gray and another color, the color it's striped with indicates the result of the last poll for that jurisdiction, in the absence of data within the past two years. A state that is split into two colors indicates recent polls with conflicting results.
As of 2013[update], public support for same-sex marriage in the United States has solidified above 50%. Public support for same-sex marriage has grown at an increasing pace since the 1990s. 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. 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. On May 20, 2011, Gallup reported majority support for same-sex marriage for the first time in the country. 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."
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. 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." Some commentators, however, have noted instances where polling data has understated voter opposition to referendums banning same-sex marriage. One 2010 study concluded that "polls on gay marriage ballot initiatives generally under-estimate the opposition to gay marriage by about seven percentage points".
Effects of same-sex marriage
Economic impact on same-sex couples
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. 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.'" 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. One study found that the difference in Social Security income for same-sex couples compared to opposite-sex married couples was per year.
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
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
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[p]
Employer-provided health insurance coverage for a same-sex partner incurred federal income tax
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
Inability to protect jointly owned home from loss due to costs of potential medical catastrophe
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. Only 18% of private employers offered domestic partner health care benefits.
Same-sex couples face the same financial constraints of legal marriage as opposite-sex married couples, including the marriage penalty in taxation. 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.
Economic impact on the federal government
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.
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.
Several psychological studies 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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
United States case law regarding same-sex marriage:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 2002). 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".
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.
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.)
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.
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.
Golinski v. Office of Personnel Management (2010–2013). Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act is found unconstitutional in U.S. district court, which determines that sexual orientation is a quasi-suspect classification requiring the court to apply intermediate scrutiny, that is, to determine whether Section 3 relates to an important government interest. On appeal the case is held in abeyance pending the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Windsor, which settles the issues raised in Golinski, the appeal of which to the Supreme Court is then denied.
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.
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.
State v. Schmidt, Opinion No. 6898 (Alaska, April 25, 2014). The Supreme Court of Alaska finds that same-sex couples, defined as "two people of the same biological sex who are in a long-term, committed, intimate domestic partnership, and who", but if for Alaska law, "would marry if they could" are entitled to the full benefit of the state's tax exemption programs.
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. The Supreme Court denied review on October 6.
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. The U.S. Supreme Court denied review on October 6.
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. The Supreme Court denied review on October 6.
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.
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.
Litigation against same-sex marriage bans in the United States
Same-sex marriage legal (Litigation to reinstate SSM ban continues in several states.)
Ruling against a SSM ban or recognition of SSM ban, stayed pending appeal
Current litigation in US Supreme Court
Current litigation in circuit court
Current litigation in federal district court
Only the case before the highest court is coded per state.
Lawsuits have been filed in state and federal courts to challenge same-sex marriage bans in every state that prohibits the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples or the recognition of same-sex marriages performed elsewhere, as well as in Puerto Rico.
U.S. Supreme Court
On October 6, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari without recorded dissent in all the cases it had been asked to consider from appellate courts in the Fourth, Seventh, and Tenth Circuits, allowing the circuit court decisions striking down marriage bans to stand. The cases were: Bogan v. Baskin (Indiana); Walker v. Wolf (Wisconsin); Herbert v. Kitchen (Utah); McQuigg v. Bostic (Virginia); Rainey v. Bostic (Virginia); Schaefer v. Bostic (Virginia); and Smith v. Bishop (Oklahoma). On November 13, commenting in an unrelated case on behalf of himself and Justice Antonin Scalia, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the Supreme Court "often review[s] decisions striking down state laws, even in the absence of a disagreement among lower courts.... But for reasons that escape me, we have not done so with any consistency, especially in recent months". He referenced denials of certiorari or denials of a stay in Herbert, Bishop, Bostic, Walker v. Wolf, Otter v. Latta, and Parnell v. Hamby.
The Supreme Court rejected a petition for certiorari before judgment in Robicheaux v. George (Louisiana) on January 12, 2015, and on January 16 agreed to hear the appeal in the four cases from the Sixth Circuit, consolidating them as one case. It set a briefing schedule to be completed April 17, 2015. It stated these questions to be addressed:
1) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?
2) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?
Filed on July 26, 2013; the U.S. district court found the state's refusal to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions an unconstitutional violation of the equal protection clause and stayed enforcement of its decision during appeal. After additional plaintiffs joined the lawsuit to challenge the state's denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples, the court divided the case. Love continued in district court as to the state marriage license issue, while the out-of-state recognition issue was appealed. On July 1, 2014, U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II found in favor of the intervening plaintiffs and ruled that Kentucky's denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples violates the equal protection clause. He found that homosexual persons constitute a suspect class deserving heightened scrutiny and suggested the Sixth Circuit should adopt that standard of review. He found Kentucky's ban did not withstand even rational basis review. He stayed his ruling pending appeal. The Sixth Circuit consolidated Love v. Beshear with Bourke v. Beshear. The Sixth Circuit reversed the district court and upheld Kentucky's ban on same sex marriage on November 6. The couples filed an application for certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court on November 17. On December 9, Governor Beshear supported that petition.
Filed on January 23, 2012; the U.S. district court found that the state ban violates the equal protection clause, 973 F. Supp. 2d 757 (E.D. Mich.) and issued a permanent injunction against enforcement of the state's same-sex marriage ban on March 21, 2014. The Sixth Circuit issued a stay pending appeal, on a 2–1 vote agreed to expedite the appeal, and denied the state's petition for an initial hearing en banc. The Sixth Circuit reversed the district court and upheld Michigan's ban on same sex marriage on November 6 and the same-sex couples filed an application for certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court on November 17. On November 24, Attorney General Bill Schuette filed a brief with the Supreme Court supporting the same-sex couples' petition for certiorari. The Eagle Forum Education and Legal Defense Fund, a conservative legal advocacy group, filed an amicus brief asking the court to hear the case in order to clarify whether the "domestic-relations exception" prevents federal courts from taking jurisdiction in a marriage case like DeBoer.
In a case filed on July 19, 2013, originally Obergefell v. Wymyslo, the U.S. district court found that the state ban on same-sex marriage violates the due process clause, for the limited purpose of issuing death certificates. On February 10, 2014, four same-sex couples legally married in other states filed suit in U.S. district court asking that Ohio be required to record the names of both same-sex parents on their children's birth certificates. They amended their suit to challenge the state's denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples. On April 14, 2014, District Court Judge Timothy Black, ruling in Henry v. Himes, ordered the state to record the plaintiffs' names on their children's birth certificates, but stayed further enforcement of his decision pending appeal. On May 29, 2014, the Sixth Circuit consolidated Obergefell and Henry. The Sixth Circuit reversed the district court and upheld Ohio's ban on same sex marriage on November 6, and the same-sex couples filed an application for certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court on November 14. Ohio state officials endorsed the couples' request on December 12.
Filed on October 21, 2013; the U.S. district court granted a preliminary injunction on March 14, 2014, after finding the equal protection analysis in Bourke persuasive. The injunction required Tennessee to recognize the three plaintiff same-sex couples' out-of-state marriages until the court disposes of the case; it also indicated that the couples are likely to succeed on the merits of their case. The district judge denied Tennessee's motion to stay the injunction, reasoning that unlike Kitchen v. Herbert (where the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay) this injunction covers only three couples and not the entire state. The Sixth Circuit granted a stay at the request of the state defendants and ordered expedited assignment to a panel of judges for consideration on the merits. The Sixth Circuit reversed the district court and upheld Tennessee's ban on same sex marriage on November 6, and the same-sex couples filed an application for certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court on November 14. Tennessee officials filed a brief in opposition to the plaintiffs' petition on December 15.
Courts of Appeals
Federal courts of appeal (numbered) and federal district courts (dashed lines and state boundaries)
The plaintiffs in Bradacs v. Haley seek to require South Carolina to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions. On November 18, U.S. District Court Judge J. Michelle Childs struck down the state's same-sex marriage ban on Fourteenth Amendment grounds and issued a permanent injunction against enforcement of the ban. The state filed notice of appeal on December 5.
On October 15, 2014, a lesbian couple represented by Lambda Legal and South Carolina Equality filed suit, Condon v. Haley, in federal district court seeking the right to marry. Judge Richard Gergel ruled for the plaintiffs on November 12 and stayed his ruling until noon on November 20. The state defendants asked the Fourth Circuit for a stay, which the Fourth Circuit denied on November 18. Attorney General Alan Wilson asked Chief Justice John Roberts, as Circuit Justice for the Fourth Circuit, for an emergency stay pending appeal later that day. He referred the request to the full court, which denied it on November 20 with Justices Scalia and Thomas dissenting.
On December 16, the Fourth Circuit consolidated these cases and put proceedings on hold pending action by the U.S. Supreme Court on cert petitions in DeBoer. On January 14, 2015, two state legislative leaders petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case, bypassing consideration by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
On April 28, 2014, the United Church of Christ and a coalition of Baptists and Lutherans filed a lawsuit arguing that North Carolina is unconstitutionally restricting religious freedom by criminalizing its clergy members for blessing same-sex marriages. On October 10, District Court Judge Max O. Cogburn ruled the state's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. On December 12, Thom Tillis and Phil Berger, the leaders of the state legislature, asked the Fourth Circuit to suspend proceedings in their appeal because they plan to apply to the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari before judgment. The Fourth Circuit denied their request on January 5, 2015. The Fourth Circuit has consolidated this case with related North Carolina cases as General Synod v. Tillis.
The Campaign for Southern Equality and two lesbian couples filed suit in federal district court on October 20, 2014, challenging Mississippi's statutory and constitutional denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples. On November 25, Judge Carlton W. Reeves ruled for the plaintiffs, staying his decision for 14 days to allow the defendants to request a longer stay from the Fifth Circuit or the U.S. Supreme Court. On December 4, the Fifth Circuit issued a stay pending appeal as the state defendants had requested.
Filed on October 28, 2013; preliminary injunction granted in U.S. district court on February 26, 2014. The district judge issued a stay pending appeal. On December 12, the district court denied the plaintiffs' request to life its stay tough the U.S. Supreme Court had denied stays in similar cases and dissolved stays by denying cert in several more.
A marriage recognition case, filed in July 2013. On September 3, 2014, U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman ruled against the plaintiffs, upholding Louisiana's ban on same-sex marriage. On January 12, 2015, the Supreme Court denied a petition for certiorari before judgment that both parties had supported.
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in cases from four states (DeBoer, Obergefell and Henry, Bourke and Love, and Tanco) on August 6, 2014. On November 6, it upheld bans on same-sex marriage in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. The U.S. Supreme Court has accepted all these cases for review.
In this case filed on July 15, 2013, by same-sex couples seeking the right to marry in Arkansas and recognition of their out-of-state marriages by the state, Judge Kristine G. Baker ruled for the plaintiffs on November 25, 2014, and stayed her ruling pending appeal. The state filed notice of appeal in the Eighth Circuit on December 23.
Lawson was filed by the ACLU in state circuit court on June 24, 2014, on behalf of two same-sex couples who had been denied marriage licenses. Attorney General Chris Koster intervened and had the case moved to federal court. On November 7, 2014, District Judge Ortrie Smith ruled for the plaintiffs and declared Missouri's ban unconstitutional, but stayed the ruling pending final judgement. The state has announced that it plans to appeal. On November 21, the plaintiffs asked Judge Smith to lift his stay in light of State of Missouri v. Florida, noting that the state has no position on the request. On November 25, Judge Smith set his stay to expire on December 9 if an appeal is not filed before then. Attorney General Koster filed notice of appeal in the Eighth Circuit on December 5. On December 8, the same-sex couples also filed notice of appeal to contest the district court's rejection of their claim of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. On January 22, 2015, the Eighth Circuit agreed to expedite the case as the couples had requested, while refusing their request to lift the district court's stay and rejecting the state's request to suspend proceedings pending action in similar cases by the U.S. Supreme Court.
On October 12, 2014, Judge Timothy M. Burgess ruled the Alaska ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. The injunction was not stayed. State officials have appealed and the Ninth Circuit has set a briefing schedule to be completed in February 2015. On October 22, the appellants asked the Ninth Circuit for an initial hearing en banc, This was denied on November 18, when no Circuit Judge called for a vote on the motion within the time period set by circuit rules.
In a single decision on October 7, 2014, the Ninth Circuit ruled that Idaho's and Nevada's bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. Nevada began licensing and recognizing same-sex marriages on October 9, Idaho on October 15. Attempts by other parties to intervene and requests for rehearing en banc have not succeeded. On December 30, Idaho filed a petition for certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court.
Same-sex marriage case filed in Great Falls on May 21, 2014. On October 15, citing the recent Ninth Circuit decision in Latta, the plaintiffs asked the court for summary judgment. U.S. District Judge Brian Morris scheduled a hearing for November 20 and then cancelled it, as the parties to the lawsuit agreed he had enough information to make a decision. He ruled for the plaintiffs on November 19 and did not stay the implementation of his decision. Licenses were issued to same-sex couples that day, as the Attorney General said he would appeal the decision to the Ninth Circuit.
The ACLU filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District of Kansas on October 10, 2014, on behalf of two lesbian couples who had been refused marriage licenses. The suit named as defendants Robert Moser, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and two district court clerks. On November 4, 2014, Judge Daniel D. Crabtree ruled Kansas' ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, but temporarily stayed enforcement of his ruling for one week. Kansas officials appealed the ruling to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals and asked for a stay pending appeal. On November 7, the Tenth Circuit declined to grant that stay. The state defendants then petitioned Justice Sonia Sotomayor, as Circuit Justice for the Tenth Circuit, to issue a stay pending appeal. On November 10, Sotomayor granted a temporary stay pending consideration of the request. She referred the matter to the full court, which, on November 12, with Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissenting, declined to issue a stay and lifted the district court's temporary stay. This allowed the injunction in Marie to take effect.
On November 26, the plaintiffs amended their complaint to add three same-sex couples as plaintiffs and three defendants: the Secretary of the Kansas Department of Revenue, the Director of the Division of Vehicles, and the Director of the State Employee Health Plan, and asked the court to extend its injunction to those new defendants. On December 2, the Tenth Circuit denied the request of the state defendants for an initial hearing en banc of their appeal.
Two same-sex marriage cases, Brenner v. Scott and Grimsley v. Scott, were consolidated on April 21, 2014. On August 21, 2014, U.S. District Judge Robert Lewis Hinkle found that the state's constitutional and statutory bans on same-sex marriage violate the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses. He stayed enforcement of his ruling temporarily. The state defendants have appealed the case, now Brenner v. Armstrong, to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The state's requests to have the district court's injunction stayed pending appeal were rejected by the Eleventh Circuit on November 19 and by the Supreme Court on December 19. On December 23, the Washington County Clerk of Court, a named defendant whom Hinkle's injunction orders to issue a marriage license to one of the plaintiff couples, filed an emergency request asking Hinkle if she was also required to issue marriage licenses to all qualified same-sex couples once his injunction takes effect. After briefing by all the parties, on January 1, 2015, Judge Hinkle clarified his injunction, writing that his order applied only to the named defendants, but that his ruling explained that the U.S. Constitution required all clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. He warned them of the many expensive lawsuits that would ensue if any refused to do so.
Plaintiffs filed a lawsuit, originally Searcy v. Bentley, on May 7, 2014, seeking recognition of their out-of-state marriage and step-parent adoption for their minor daughter. On January 23, 2015, Judge Callie V.S. Granada ruled that Alabama's ban was unconstitutional. She stayed her ruling on January 25 at the request of Attorney General Luther Strange, setting it to be lifted on February 9. On January 27, she issued a similar ruling in Strawser v. Strange in which a same-sex couple sought the right to marry in Alabama, and stayed it to expire on February 9 as well.
Same-sex marriage class-action lawsuit filed on April 22, 2014. On January 8, 2015, Judge William S. Duffey Jr. denied the defendants' motion to dismiss. His ruling left the plaintiffs with a claim of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and the state defendants with the need to demonstrate how Georgia's ban on same-sex marriage promotes the state's interest in "child welfare and procreation" under rational basis review. On January 20, 2015, the defendants filed an unopposed motion to suspend proceedings until the U.S. Supreme Court rules in pending same-sex marriage cases.
Eight same-sex couples represented by the ACLU filed suit in U.S. district court on July 25, 2014, seeking recognition of their so-called "window marriages" established on March 21 and 22, 2014, before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals stayed a district court ruling–later reversed–in DeBoer v. Snyder that found Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. The state has asked the district court to suspend proceedings pending final resolution of DeBoer or to find those marriages invalid. On January 15, 2015, U.S. District Judge Mark A. Goldsmith ruled that the state must recognize those marriages, but stayed implementation of his ruling for 21 days.
The ACLU filed a lawsuit on November 17, 2014, on behalf of seven same-sex couples. Plaintiffs are seeking to overturn the Nebraska same-sex marriage ban and to have their out-of-state marriages recognized. On January 27, Senior Judge Joseph F. Bataillon denied the state's request to suspend proceedings and scheduled oral argument for February 19.
On June 6, 2014, private counsel filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in North Dakota on behalf of six same-sex couples married in other jurisdictions and one unmarried same-sex couple that challenged the state's ban on same-sex marriage. On January 20, 2015, the court suspended proceedings until the U.S. Supreme Court rules in pending same-sex marriage cases.
Five plaintiff couples, who filed suit on May 22, 2014, have valid out-of state marriages, and a sixth was denied a license in South Dakota. On January 12, 2015, U.S. District Court Judge Karen Schreier ruled for the plaintiffs, finding that South Dakota was depriving them of their "fundamental right to marry". She stayed implementation of her ruling pending appeal.
Note: In the United States, the name of the court where a civil complaint or a petition is initially filed, and the trial is held, varies by state. The term used may be county court, circuit court, district court, or superior court.
A circuit court judge issued a ruling on May 9, 2014, striking down the state constitution's same-sex marriage ban. On May 15, 2014, the judge clarified his order, striking down the statutory ban as well. The next day the Arkansas Supreme Court stayed enforcement of his ruling pending appeal. On October 7, the plaintiffs filed a petition for summary judgment citing actions by the U.S. Supreme Court the day before and asking for expedited consideration, which the court granted. The court heard oral arguments on November 20.
Same-sex marriage recognition case filed in state district court, where the plaintiffs are seeking recognition of their out-of-state marriage licenses for the purpose of filing a joint state income tax return.
A lesbian couple who married in California sought to have their marriage recognized for the purpose of adoption. On February 5, 2014, Judge Edward Rubin ruled in for the plaintiffs in In Re Costanza and Brewer and authorized the adoption in a separate action, without ruling on their challenge to Louisiana's ban on same-sex marriage. On September 22, Rubin found Louisiana's ban an unconstitutional violation of the equal protection, the due process, and the full faith and credit clauses of the U.S. Constitution. He ordered the state to allow the plaintiffs to file a joint state income tax return and to allow their adoption to proceed. He enjoined the state from enforcing laws that "prohibit a person from marrying a person of the same sex". State officials announced plans to appeal directly to the Louisiana Supreme Court and he stayed enforcement of his ruling.
Same-sex divorce case; dismissed for lack of jurisdiction on December 2, 2013 (Chancery Ct. Dist. 3). Appeal filed three weeks later in state appellate court; briefing concluded November 29, 2014. Oral argument is scheduled for January 21.
In June 2014, St. Louis officials licensed four same-sex marriages in order to provide the basis for a lawsuit when the state ordered them to stop the practice. St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison held a hearing in the suit on September 29 in state circuit court. He ruled for the plaintiffs on November 5, finding that Missouri's refusal to license same-sex marriages violates the Missouri and federal constitutions.
^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. 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)
^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". The Guam Code Annotated requires that the parties to a marriage "declare in the presence of the person solemnizing the marriage that they take each other as husband and wife."
^Schlesinger, Richard (June 26, 2003). "High Court Rejects Sodomy Law". CBS News. Of the 13 states with sodomy laws, four—Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri—prohibit oral and anal sex between same-sex couples. The other nine ban consensual sodomy for everyone: Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia. Thursday's ruling apparently invalidates those laws as well.
^ abcU.S. Census estimate, 2014: "State Totals: Vintage 2014". Annual Population Estimates. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 26, 2014. The Census Bureau population estimate for 2014 was 318,857,056 for the states and the District of Columbia.
^Dang, Alain, and M. Somjen Frazer. "Black Same-Sex Couple Households in the 2000 U.S. Census: Implications in the Debate Over Same-Sex Marriage." Western Journal of Black Studies 29.1 (Spring2005 2005): 521–530. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. September 30, 2009
^Barkacs, L. L. (2008). "Same sex marriage, civil unions, and employee benefits: Unequal protection under the law – when will society catch up with the business community?", Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues, 11(2), 33–44.
^Potoczniak, Daniel J.; Aldea, Mirela A.; DeBlaere, Cirleen "Ego identity, social anxiety, social support, and self-concealment in lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals." Journal of Counseling Psychology, Vol 54(4), October 2007, 447–457.
^Balsam, Kimberly F.; Mohr, Jonathan J. "Adaptation to sexual orientation stigma: A comparison of bisexual and lesbian/gay adults." Journal of Counseling Psychology, Vol 54(3), July 2007, 306–319.
^Rostosky, Sharon Scales; Riggle, Ellen D. B.; Gray, Barry E.; Hatton, Roxanna L. "Minority stress experiences in committed same-sex couple relationships." Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, Vol 38(4), August 2007, 392–400.
^Szymanski, Dawn M.; Carr, Erika R. "The roles of gender role conflict and internalized heterosexism in gay and bisexual men's psychological distress: Testing two mediation models." Psychology of Men & Masculinity, Vol 9(1), January 2008, 40–54.
^"Florida: Judge Clarifies Ruling on Marriages". New York Times. Associated Press. January 1, 2015. Retrieved January 1, 2015. A federal judge said Thursday that Florida’s county court clerks have a legal duty to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but he stopped short of ordering them to do so.