Same-sex marriage status in the United States by state

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Laws regarding same-sex partnerships in the United States
  Same-sex marriage1
  Unions granting rights similar to marriage1,2
  Legislation granting limited/enumerated rights1
  Same-sex marriages performed elsewhere recognized1
  No specific prohibition or recognition of same-sex marriages or unions
  State statute bans same-sex marriage
  State constitution bans same-sex marriage2
  State constitution bans same-sex marriage and some or all other kinds of same-sex unions

1May include recent laws or court decisions which have created legal recognition of same-sex relationships, but which have not entered into effect yet.
2See the article on same-sex marriage in California for the status in California. .

Same-sex unions have been on the political radar in the United States since the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled in 1993 that denying licenses to same-sex partners violated the Hawaii constitution unless there is a "compelling state interest." Since Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004, other states have redefined their own marriage laws, both for and against same-sex marriage.

This article tracks the status of those laws. It is intended only as a resource for the bottom line current legal status of same-sex unions right now regardless of pending litigation. See same-sex marriage legislation in the United States for the outcome of specific legislation and same-sex marriage law in the United States by state for detailed descriptions.

Marriage is defined as the union of one man and one woman in at least 42 states.[1] Currently, 31 states have added amendments banning same-sex unions to their constitutions. There are currently eight states that recognize or will soon recognize same-sex marriages, and a total of six (plus the District of Columbia) that recognize some form of same-sex civil unions or domestic partnerships.[2]

Contents

State-by-state listing

Below is the status of the law in each of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia.

StateMarriageSame-sex unionsNotes
DefinedResultCivil UnionsDomestic
Partnership
ConstitutionStatuteLicensesRecogn.Def.StatusDef.Status
Flag of Alabama.svg AlabamaYesYesBannedBannedNoNone
Flag of Alaska.svg AlaskaYesYesBannedNoNoneNoNonePetitions are made to start a ban ballot on civil unions too, but have all failed over the years.
Flag of Arizona.svg ArizonaYesYesBannedNoNoneNoNone
Flag of Arkansas.svg ArkansasYesYesBannedBannedNoNone
Flag of California.svg CaliforniaYesNo (°)Banned
Ban upheld by California Supreme Court.[3]
Ban overturned by the District Court for Northern California, ruling affirmed by Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Yes; ConditionalNoNone
NoYesMain article:
Same-sex marriage in California

Originally in 1999 under a passed law granting only hospital visitation rights, the scope of domestic partnerships was gradually expanded over the years that now has virtually nearly all the legal rights, duties and responsibilities of marriage in California - just as Nevada, Oregon and Washington state have done just next door. Now a domestic partnership in California is the same as another states civil union scheme (e.g. Hawaii, Delaware, Illinois, New Jersey and Rhode Island).

Flag of Colorado.svg ColoradoYesYesBannedNoProposed[4]Yesfew rights in a designated beneficiary agreementOn November 2006 ballot, Colorado banned marriage but rejected a referendum to allow a "civil union"-like domestic partnership, sustained by a constitutional amendment. See also this table. In both 2011 and 2012, the Civil Union Bill passed the state Senate by a vote of 23-12.[5] The three state House Committees approved the bill in 2012 (with one Republican in favor), then legislative time ran out by the time the bill reached the House floor, because the Republican party have a one-seat majority in the House and you can not debate and pass a bill in one day, according to House rules.[5]
Flag of Connecticut.svg ConnecticutNoNoLegal* by
Supreme
Court
decision, then by legislation.
YesConverted into civil marriage on 1 October 2010Converted into civil marriage on 1 October 2010NoneNoneMain article:
Same-sex marriage in Connecticut

Connecticut allows full civil marriage licences to same-sex couples since November 2008 and all civil unions converted into civil marriage on 1 October 2010.

Flag of Delaware.svg DelawareNoYesNot legalYes, only as civil unions, same-sex marriage banned under statute since 1997.YesYesNoNoneIn 2011, the Delaware state legislature passed and the Governor signed the Civil Union Act 2011 into law. The law commenced at 10am on 1.1.2012.
Flag of Washington, D.C..svg District of ColumbiaNoNoLegalYesNoNoneNoLegal*Main article: Same-sex marriage in the District of Columbia

Domestic partnerships were enacted in 1992; implemented from 2002 and then expanded over time to 2009. Same-sex marriages were legalized on December 18, 2009 and same-sex marriages began on March 9, 2010.

Flag of Florida.svg FloridaYesYesBannedBannedNoNone
Flag of Georgia (U.S. state).svg GeorgiaYesYesBannedBannedNoNone
Flag of Hawaii.svg HawaiiNoYesBan
permitted
Not legal.
Yes, only as civil unions, same-sex marriage banned under statute since 1998.YesYesLegal since 1997.Legal*Since 1997, there have been minimal benefits available to all adults (including relatives); official terminology is reciprocal beneficiary relationship*.[2]
In 2011, the Hawaii State Legislature passed and the Governor signed into law the Civil Union Act 2011 No 1. The law became effective from midnight 1.1.2012.
Flag of Idaho.svg IdahoYesYesBannedBannedBanned
Flag of Illinois.svg IllinoisNoYesNot legalYes, as civil unions onlyYes.YesNoNonePetitions are made to start a ban ballot have been unsuccessful in all Legislative sessions. The Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Bill passed the 2010 Illinois Legislature in just 2 days, was signed into law on January 28, 2011 by the Governor and became effective on June 1, 2011. See Civil union in the United States#Illinois.
Flag of Indiana.svg IndianaNoYesNot legalNot legalNoNoneNoNoneLegislative initiative to start a ban ballot voted on and passed in the 2011 Legislative session and must pass again in the same format in the next legislative session.
Flag of Iowa.svg IowaNoNoLegal* by
Supreme
Court
decision
YesNoNoneNoNoneMain article:
Same-sex marriage in Iowa

In August 2007, Polk County judge ruled Iowa's statutory ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, but ruling was quickly stayed and appealed. On appeal, the Iowa Supreme Court upheld the Polk County ruling in the case of Varnum v. Brien.

Legislative initiative to begin constitutional ban ballot process was unsuccessful in 2009. Republicans will continue to try to push for these ballot bans in the next Legislative sessions, while the Democrats will continue to oppose ballot bans in the next legislative sessions.

Flag of Kansas.svg KansasYesYesBannedBannedNone
Flag of Kentucky.svg KentuckyYesYesBannedBannedNoNone
Flag of Louisiana.svg LouisianaYesYesBannedBannedNoNone
Flag of Maine.svg MaineNoBanned by statute since 1997 and was rejected by "the people's veto" in 2009.No (rejected by "the people's veto" in 2009)No/Yes, only as domestic partnerships.NoNoneYes, limited rights (both opposite sex and same sex since 2004)Legal*Main article:
Domestic partnership in Maine

The Maine Domestic Partnership Act came into effect on July 30, 2004.[1]
Same-sex couple who married elsewhere may register their marriage as a domestic partnership. In 2009, the "people's veto" won by 52.9 percent in November and repealed the recently passed same sex marriage that passed the Maine Legislature and got signed into law. In 2012, a LGBT rights group called Equality Maine announced that in November 2012 voters will return be asked the same 2009 question at the ballot box.[6]

Flag of Maryland.svg MarylandNoYesNot yet in effect*Not legal, but recognised since 2010.NoNoneYes, limited rights (unregistered DPs are for both opposite sex and same sex since 2008)Legal*Main article:
Same-sex marriage in Maryland

"The first state law defining marriage as a union between a man and woman was adopted by Maryland in 1973."[1] Since 2010, same-sex marriage has been recognised in Maryland and for years bills have been introduced to the Maryland Legislature that allows same sex marriage. In 2012, the Maryland House by a vote of 72-67 passed the Civil Marriage Protection Bill 2012,[7] then a week later the same bill passed the Maryland Senate by a vote of 25-21.[8] The bill got signed into law on March 1, 2012 by Martin O’Malley.[9] Subject to a referendum in November, if approved the law becomes effective from 1.1.2013.

Flag of Massachusetts.svg MassachusettsNoNoLegal* by
Supreme
Court
decision
Yes.NoNoneNoNoneMain article:
Same-sex marriage in Massachusetts
Flag of Michigan.svg MichiganYesYesBannedBannedBanned* by
Supreme
Court
decision
Flag of Minnesota.svg MinnesotaNoYesNot legalNot legalNoNoneNoNoneLegislative initiative and petitions are made to start a ban ballot. Following the 2011 Minnesota Legislature vote, on November sixth, 2012, Minnesotans will be voting on a constitutional amendment. The question will read: "Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota?" If a majority of the voters vote "no" on this proposed amendment, Minnesota will be the first state to reject an amendment of this kind and uphold the State Constitution in its unaltered state.
Flag of Mississippi.svg MississippiYesYesBannedNoNoneNoNone
Flag of Missouri.svg MissouriYesYesBannedNoNoneNoNone
Flag of Montana.svg MontanaYesYesBannedNoNoneNoNone
Flag of Nebraska.svg NebraskaYesYesBannedBannedBanned
Flag of Nevada.svg NevadaYesNoBannedNoNoYesYesDomestic partnership legislation in Nevada is similar to CA, OR and WA models.
Flag of New Hampshire.svg New HampshireNoNoLegalYesConverted into civil marriage on 1 January 2011.Converted into civil marriage on 1 January 2011.NoNoneSince 1.1.2010, New Hampshire allows full civil marriage licences to same-sex couples and all civil unions automatically converted into civil marriage a year later.
Flag of New Jersey.svg New JerseyNoNo*ProposedAs civil
unions
NoLegalNoNo more
but
present
valid
ones
allowed.
Main article:
Same-sex marriage in New Jersey

The state of New Jersey has neither allowed nor recognized marriages between couples of the same-sex. However, the New Jersey Supreme Court, in Lewis v. Harris, required the New Jersey Legislature to change state law by April 24, 2007 to afford same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples.[10] A bill now allows civil unions that will supersede domestic partnerships. These are no more applied but may remain for the present ones. In 2012, A1 and S1 (also called the Marriage Equality and Religious Exemption Act) has been introduced. In February S1 passed the NJ Senate with a vote of 24-16.[11][12] Four days later the bill called A1 passed the NJ House with a vote of 42-33.[13] A day later both A1 and S1 bills got vetoed by Republican Governor Chris Christie[14]

Flag of New Mexico.svg New MexicoNoNoNoneNoneNoNoneNoNoneDoes not contain any public policy explicitly banning same-sex marriage nor defining marriage as between a man and a woman (effectively making the state neutral).
Flag of New York.svg New YorkYesYesLegalYes.NoNoneNoNoneMain article:
Same-sex marriage in New York The Marriage Equality Act 2011 passed the 2011 New York State Legislature (after a 33-29 vote in the NY state Senate) on 24/6/2011[15] and then two hours later the bill got signed into law by the Governor and became effective 30 days later.
Flag of North Carolina.svg North CarolinaYesYesBannedBannedBanned
Flag of North Dakota.svg North DakotaYesYesBannedBannedNoNone
Flag of Ohio.svg OhioYesYesBannedBannedNoNone
Flag of Oklahoma.svg OklahomaYesYesBannedBannedNoNone
Flag of Oregon.svg OregonYesNoBanned*NoLegal
NoYesMain article:
Same-sex marriage in Oregon

Domestic partnership legislation in Oregon is very similar to the CA, NV and WA models.

Flag of Pennsylvania.svg PennsylvaniaNoYesNot legalNot legalNoNoneNoNoneLegislative initiative to start a ban ballot voted on and passed in the 2011 Legislative session and must pass again in the same format in the next legislative session.
Flag of Rhode Island.svg Rhode IslandNoNoProposedYes, as civil unions.YesYesNoNoneDoes not contain any public policy explicitly banning same-sex marriage nor defining marriage as between a man and a woman (effectively making the state neutral). The state does not perform marriage licenses, but since 2012 does recognise same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions [14] and extend limited rights to same-sex couples.[2] The Civil Union Bill passed the Rhode Island Legislature on 28 June 2011 and was signed into law on July 2, 2011 by the Governor and was made retrospective from 1 July 2011.
Flag of South Carolina.svg South CarolinaYesYesBannedBannedYesNone
Flag of South Dakota.svg South DakotaYesYesBannedBannedBanned
Flag of Tennessee.svg TennesseeYesYesBannedNoNoneNoNone
Flag of Texas.svg TexasYesYesBannedBannedNoNone
Flag of Utah.svg UtahYesYesBannedBannedNoNone
Flag of Vermont.svg VermontNoNoLegal[16]YesNoBetween 2000 to 2009 only
but
present
valid
ones
allowed.
NoNoneVermont practically invented the term "civil union" in 1999 after the state court case of Baker v. Vermont. In 2000, the Vermont Legislature passed the Civil Union Bill and got signed into law by then Governor Howard Dean. In 2009, Vermont then allowed civil marriage licences to same-sex couples, after the Civil Marriage Equality And Religious Freedoms Bill passed the Vermont Legislature, then the Governor Jim Douglas vetoed the bill and then the veto was overridden. Civil unions are still recognised between 2000 to 2009, but after 2009 can not be performed - also there is no "conversion into civil marriage" as both the states of Connecticut and New Hampshire have done next door.
Flag of Virginia.svg VirginiaYesYesBannedBannedBanned
Flag of Washington.svg WashingtonNoYesNot in effect yet
*
Yes, as domestic partnerships.NoNoneYesLegalMain article:
Same-sex marriage in Washington

A law passed in 2007 to establish domestic partnerships similar to CA, OR and NV models and then in 2008 the domestic partnership law expanded. The 2009 reforms called the "all-but-marriage law" came into effect from December 3, 2009 was approved by 53 percent of voters under Washington Referendum 71 (2009). In July 2011, a law passed that will allow same-sex marriage and other same-sex unions (such as civil unions or domestic partnerships) from another state to be recognised as domestic partnerships under WA state law[17] In February 2012, the Washington state legislature passed SB6239[18] that deals with the legislation to allow same sex marriage and enhance religious freedoms. The bill got to the last stage with a signature from a Democrat Governor Christine Gregoire[19][20] Subject to a referendum in November, if approved the law becomes effective straight away.

Flag of West Virginia.svg West VirginiaNoYesNot legalNot legalNoNoneNoNonePetitions are made to start a ban ballot, however that is not possible due to the Democrats controlling both houses.
Flag of Wisconsin.svg WisconsinYesYesBannedBannedYes.LegalDomestic partnerships provide certain limited legal rights, just like the state of Maine.
Flag of Wyoming.svg WyomingNoYesNot legalNot legalNoNoneNoNoneState law pre-dates DOMA.[1]
StateMarriageSame-sex unionsNotes
DefinedResultCivil UnionsDomestic
Partnership
ConstitutionStatuteLicensesRecogn.Def.StatusDef.Status

See also

In general

In USA

References

  1. ^ a b c d Stateline.org 50-state rundown on gay marriage laws Accessed November 4, 2008
  2. ^ a b c Human Rights Campaign State by State Information Accessed November 14, 2006
  3. ^ "California high court upholds same-sex marriage ban - CNN.com". CNN. May 27, 2009. http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/05/26/california.same.sex.marriage/index.html. Retrieved 2010-05-23. 
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ a b [2]
  6. ^ [3]
  7. ^ [4]
  8. ^ [5]
  9. ^ [6]
  10. ^ http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/opinions/supreme/a-68-05.pdf
  11. ^ [7]
  12. ^ Zernike, Kate (13 February 2012). "New Jersey Senate Votes for Gay Marriage". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/14/nyregion/new-jersey-senate-votes-for-gay-marriage.html. 
  13. ^ [8]
  14. ^ [9]
  15. ^ "New York moves to become 6th state to legalize gay marriage". CNN. 25 June 2011. http://edition.cnn.com/2011/POLITICS/06/24/new.york.gay.marriage/. 
  16. ^ "Vermont Legalizes Gay Marriage". WCAX-TV. 2009-04-07. http://www.wcax.com/Global/story.asp?S=10143110. Retrieved 2009-04-07. 
  17. ^ [10]
  18. ^ [11]
  19. ^ [12]
  20. ^ [13]