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List of U.S. state laws on same-sex unions

State laws regarding same-sex marriage in the United States1
  Same-sex marriage legal2
  Same-sex marriage performed elsewhere recognized
  Same-sex marriage legalization pending3
  No prohibition or recognition of same-sex marriage
  Same-sex marriage ban overturned, decision stayed indefinitely
  Same-sex marriage banned

1 Native American tribal jurisdictions have laws pertaining to same-sex marriage independent of state law.
2 Same-sex marriage is legal in St. Louis, Missouri. Only select counties in Kansas issue licenses to same-sex couples; same-sex marriage is not recognized by the state government.
3 A ruling striking down Florida's same-sex marriage ban has been stayed until January 5, 2015.
State laws regarding same-sex unions similar to marriage in the United States1
  Domestic partnerships or civil unions allowed and recognized2
  Limited privileges granted by state to same-sex couples
  No prohibition or recognition of same-sex unions similar to marriage
  Same-sex unions ban overturned, decision stayed
  Same-sex unions similar to marriage banned

1Not recognized by the federal government. However, same-sex marriage is legal in most states and is recognized by the federal government.
2Domestic partnerships in Washington are only available when at least one of the partners is 62 years of age or older.

This article is intended as a resource for current legal status of same-sex unions. See same-sex marriage legislation in the United States and same-sex marriage law in the United States by state for more detailed descriptions, outcomes, and history of individual cases.

Same-sex unions have been on the political radar in the United States since the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled in 1993 that denying marriage licenses to same-sex partners violated the Hawaii constitution unless there is a "compelling state interest." Since Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004, other states have redefined their own marriage laws, both for and against same-sex marriage. As of June 6, 2014, all remaining state bans on same-sex marriage were being challenged in state or federal court.[1]

In keeping with the purpose of this article, cases will only be cited when there is a relevant ruling, or an unusual filing.

Contents

  • Marriage Summary 1
  • State, territory, and district listing 2
  • State, territory, and district status by federal circuit 3
  • See also 4
    • In general 4.1
    • In the United States of America 4.2
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Marriage Summary

Marriage is defined as the union of two U.S. citizens by the federal government as of June 26, 2013.
The federal government recognizes all same-sex marriages legally authorized under state, territory, or district law.

34 U.S. states and the District of Columbia fully recognize same-sex marriage and allow issuance of same-sex marriage licenses.

The ban on same-sex marriage in Kansas has been struck down, but application of the order is inconsistent; see below for more details.

15 U.S. states and 2 territories explicitly prohibit same-sex marriage in their constitutions and by statute, including:

  • Missouri, where the situation is complicated - see below;
  • Florida, where the stay on the order overturning the ban will expire on January 5, 2015, without U.S. Supreme Court intervention;[2]
  • Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas, where orders overturning the bans have been indefinitely stayed, pending actions by higher courts; a number of same-sex couples in Arkansas are in a legal limbo, as they were married legally between the overturning of the ban, and the issuance of a judicial stay.

3 territories (American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands) neither recognize nor prohibit same-sex marriage.

Alabama, Arkansas, South Dakota, and Texas are currently awaiting court rulings on same-sex marriage ().[3][4][5][6]

State, territory, and district listing

Below is the status of the law in each of the 50 U.S. states, 5 U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.

  • The blue shading indicates what is allowed and fully-recognized state-wide.
  • The khaki shading indicates that a judicial ruling overturning a state-wide ban is currently stayed pending appeal.
  • The clock symbol () indicates that parties are awaiting a court ruling.
State, territory, or district Civil marriage Other unions Notes
Restricted Same-sex marriage Civil Unions Domestic
Partnership
Constitution Statute Licenses Recognition
Alabama Yes Yes Banned - See Note Banned Banned "A decision by U.S. District Judge Ginny Granade is expected sometime this year, although both sides have indicated they would appeal if she doesn't rule in their favor." [3]
Alaska No No Yes Yes No No
American Samoa No No No No No American Samoa is outside of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals system. Federal cases have been heard in Hawaii and the District of Columbia. The High Court of American Samoa is subject to U.S. Supreme Court precedent.
Arizona No No Yes Yes No No
Arkansas Yes Yes Banned, pending final disposition of Arkansas Circuit Court and/or U.S. District Court decisions Banned Banned In Wright v. State of Arkansas, an Arkansas Circuit Court has ruled that the 2004 amendment that defined marriage as only allowable between a man and a woman, and related statutes, are unconstitutional.[7] The order has been stayed pending review by the Arkansas Supreme Court, which heard the case on November 20, 2014.[8]

The ban has also been struck down in U.S. District Court; a decision that has also been stayed.[9]

California No No Yes Yes No Yes
Colorado No No Yes Yes Yes No
Connecticut No No Yes Yes No No Civil unions were available between 2005 and 2010. All existing civil unions converted into civil marriages on October 1, 2010.
Delaware No No Yes Yes No No Civil unions were available between 2012 and 2013. All existing civil unions converted into civil marriages on July 1, 2014.
District of Columbia N/A No Yes Yes No Yes
Florida Yes Yes Banned, pending dissolution of temporary stay Banned Banned A U.S. District Court has ruled that Florida's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, but the order has been stayed, pending appeal, except in the case of one death certificate.[10][11] If no further action is taken, the stay will expire on January 5, 2015. On December 3, 2014, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals declined to extend the stay.[12]

Four Florida County Circuit Courts have ruled that the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The orders have been stayed pending appeal, and only apply to Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties.[13]

Georgia Yes Yes Banned Banned Banned
Guam No No No No No Guam is subject to the precedents set when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Latta v. Otter and reversed Sevcik v. Sandoval.
Hawaii No No Yes Yes Yes No
Idaho No No Yes Yes No No
Illinois No No Yes Yes Yes No
Indiana No No Yes Yes No No
Iowa No No Yes Yes No No
Kansas No No Limited Availability - See Note No - See Note No No Kansas is subject to the precedents set when the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Kitchen v. Herbert and Bishop v. Oklahoma.

A U.S. District Court issued a preliminary injunction against the state's ban on same-sex marriage, which became effective on November 12, 2014, after Supreme Court declined to intervene.[14] The case is still subject to appeal.

Some Kansas counties are issuing same-sex marriage licenses, but the state government is refusing any recognition until all appeals have been exhausted.[15] The original complaint has been amended, in an attempt to compel state recognition.[16]

Kentucky Yes Yes Banned - See Note Banned Banned The ban has been upheld by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.[17] A request for Supreme Court review of the Sixth Circuit decision (a petition for writ of certiorari) has been filed.[18]
Louisiana Yes Yes Banned - See Note Banned No A state court has ruled that the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, but the ruling only applies to Lafayette, Acadia and Vermilion parishes, and has been stayed pending appeal.[19]

Louisiana's ban has been upheld in U.S. District Court, and an appeal of the ruling is scheduled to be heard by Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on January 9, 2015.[20] Plaintiffs have also filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court.[21]

Maine No No Yes Yes No Limited
Maryland No No Yes Yes No Limited
Massachusetts No No Yes Yes No No
Michigan Yes Yes Banned - See Note Banned Banned The ban has been upheld by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.[17] A petition for writ of certiorari for Supreme Court review of the Sixth Circuit decision has been filed.[18]
Minnesota No No Yes Yes No No
Mississippi Yes Yes Banned, pending final disposition of U.S. District Court decision No No The ban was struck down in U.S. District Court on 25 November 2014.[22] The order has been stayed by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.[23]

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has announced that the appeal will be heard on January 9, 2015, by the same panel as the Louisiana and Texas cases.[24]

Missouri Yes Yes Limited Availability -
See Note
Yes - See Note No No A state circuit court struck down the ban on same-sex marriage, in a ruling that explicitly applies to the city of St. Louis, but two counties have issued same-sex marriage licenses on their own volition.[25] The state has announced that it will appeal the ruling, but will not seek a stay.[26]

As a result of a state court decision, Missouri also recognizes legally enacted same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.[27] The Speaker of the State House and President Pro Tem of the State Senate are seeking to intervene in the case, in order to appeal the ruling.[28]

In Lawson v. Kelly, the state-wide ban on same-sex marriage was struck down in U.S. District Court, but the ruling has been stayed pending action by higher courts.[29]

Montana No No Yes Yes No No Montana is subject to the precedents set when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Latta v. Otter and reversed Sevcik v. Sandoval.

The ban has been struck down in U.S. District Court.[30] The ruling is subject to appeal.

Nebraska Yes Yes Banned Banned Banned
Nevada No No Yes Yes No Yes
New Hampshire No No Yes Yes No No Civil unions were available between 2009 and 2009. All existing civil unions converted into civil marriages on January 1, 2011.
New Jersey No No Yes Yes Yes No
New Mexico No No Yes Yes No No
New York No No Yes Yes No No
North Carolina No No Yes Yes No No North Carolina was subject to the precedent set when the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Bostic v. Rainey. The ban was struck down by U.S. District Court Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr. on October 10, 2014.[31] Four days later, U.S. District Court Judge William L. Osteen, Jr. made a concurring order.[32] Judge Osteen's order is open to appeal.
North Dakota Yes Yes Banned Banned Banned
Northern Mariana Islands No No No No No Northern Mariana Islands is subject to the precedents set when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Latta v. Otter and reversed Sevcik v. Sandoval.
Ohio Yes Yes Banned - See Note Banned Banned The ban has been upheld by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.[17] A petition for writ of certiorari for Supreme Court review of the Sixth Circuit decision has been filed.[18]

In some cases, divorces have been granted to same-sex couples.[33]

Oklahoma No No Yes Yes No No
Oregon No No Yes Yes No Yes
Pennsylvania No No Yes Yes No No
Puerto Rico Yes Yes Banned - See Note No No Puerto Rico's ban has been upheld in U.S. District Court, and an appeal has been filed with the First Circuit Court of Appeals.
Rhode Island No No Yes Yes No No Civil unions were only available between 2011 and 2013, and did not convert into civil marriages.
South Carolina No No Yes Yes No No South Carolina was subject to the precedent set when the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Bostic v. Rainey.

The ban was struck down in U.S. District Court, and the order became effective on November 20, 2014.[34] The order is still open to appeal.

South Dakota Yes Yes Banned - See Note Banned Banned Plaintiffs and South Dakota have requested that U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier rule on the motions, without a trial.[5]
Tennessee Yes Yes Banned - See Note No No The ban has been upheld by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.[17] A petition for writ of certiorari for Supreme Court review of the Sixth Circuit decision has been filed.[18]
Texas Yes Yes Banned, pending final disposition of U.S. District Court decision and/or Texas Supreme Court decision Banned Banned The United States District Court for the Western District of Texas issued a preliminary injunction that Article 1, Section 32, and related statutes, are unconstitutional in De Leon v. Perry.[35] The decision is stayed, pending an appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is scheduled for January 9, 2015.[20]

On November 5, 2013, the Texas Supreme Court heard arguments in two cases where same-sex couples married elsewhere were seeking divorce in Texas.[6]

U.S. Virgin Islands Yes Yes Banned No No
Utah No No Yes Yes No No
Vermont No No Yes Yes No No Civil unions were only available between 2000 and 2009, and did not convert into civil marriages.
Virginia No No Yes Yes No No
Washington No No Yes Yes No Limited
West Virginia No No Yes Yes No No
Wisconsin No No Yes Yes No Limited
Wyoming No No Yes Yes No No
State, territory, or district Civil marriage Other unions Notes
Restricted Same-sex marriage Civil Unions Domestic
Partnership
Constitution Statute Licenses Recognition

State, territory, and district status by federal circuit

*A bold circuit court indicates circuit precedent in favor of same-sex marriage.
Circuit Civil marriage for same-sex couples Notes
Banned Ban overturned,
but order stayed
Banned contrary to
circuit precedent
Legal

First
Puerto Rico Maine
Massachusetts
New Hampshire
Rhode Island
Puerto Rico's ban has been upheld in U.S. District Court, and an appeal has been filed with the First Circuit Court of Appeals.

Second
Connecticut
New York
Vermont

Third
U.S. Virgin Islands Delaware
New Jersey
Pennsylvania
Fourth* Maryland
North Carolina
South Carolina
Virginia
West Virginia

Fifth
Louisiana Mississippi
Texas
Appeals of cases from all three states will be heard by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on January 9, 2015.

Plaintiffs in the Louisiana case have also filed a petition for writ of certiorari for Supreme Court review.


Sixth
Kentucky
Michigan
Ohio
Tennessee
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the bans in all four states. Petitions for writ of certiorari for Supreme Court review of the Sixth Circuit decision have been filed from cases in all four states.[18]
Seventh Illinois
Indiana
Wisconsin

Eighth
Nebraska
North Dakota
South Dakota
Arkansas
Missouri
Iowa
Minnesota
Arkansas's ban has been struck down in state and federal courts.

As a result of state court actions, Missouri recognizes legally enacted same-sex marriages performed elsewhere, and the ban on same-sex marriage has been struck down in the city of St. Louis. The ban has also been struck down in U.S. District Court; this is the order that has been stayed, pending action by higher courts.


Ninth
Alaska
Arizona
California
Hawaii
Idaho
Montana
Nevada
Oregon
Washington
Guam and Northern Mariana Islands are subject to Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals precedent though they do not currently recognize or prohibit same-sex marriage.
Tenth Colorado
Kansas
New Mexico
Oklahoma
Utah
Wyoming
The ban in Kansas has been struck down in U.S. District Court, but while some counties are issuing same-sex marriage licenses, the state government is refusing any recognition until all appeals have been exhausted.[15] The original complaint has been amended, in an attempt to force state recognition.[16]

Eleventh
Alabama
Georgia
Florida The stay on the order overturning the ban in Florida will expire on January 5, 2015, without U.S. Supreme Court intervention;[36]

District of Columbia
District of Columbia

Federal Circuit
Recognizes same-sex marriages legally authorized under state, territory, or district law.
Circuit Civil marriage for same-sex couples Notes
Banned Ban overturned,
but order stayed
Banned contrary to
circuit precedent
Legal

See also

In general

In the United States of America

References

  1. ^ "Lawsuit Filed to Block Nation's Last Unchallenged Same-Sex Marriage Ban in North Dakota - abcnews.go.com". AP. June 6, 2014. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Appeals Court Refuses To Stop Florida Same-Sex Marriages After Jan. 5 - buzzfeed.com". BuzzFeed News. December 3, 2014. Retrieved December 3, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Lesbian couple embroiled in federal lawsuit 'optimistic' as judge weighs options - al.com". AL.com. November 20, 2014. Retrieved November 20, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Courts make no decision on gay marriage arguments - westport-news.com". AP. November 20, 2014. Retrieved November 20, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "Both Sides Want Judge To Rule On Gay Marriage - kdlt.com". AP. November 25, 2014. Retrieved December 2, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "Texas high court to consider state jurisdiction over same-sex divorces - lgbtqnation.com". AP. August 24, 2013. Retrieved December 2, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Gay Marriages Cleared In Arkansas, But On Hold In Idaho - WSIU.org". WSIU. May 15, 2014. Retrieved May 15, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Arkansas Supreme Court takes up gay marriage case - timesunion.com". AP. November 20, 2014. Retrieved November 20, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Federal Judge Overturns Arkansas' Gay Marriage Ban - arkansasbusiness.com". AP. November 25, 2014. Retrieved November 25, 2014. 
  10. ^ "BREAKING: Federal Judge Strikes Down Florida Gay Marriage Ban - wfsu.org". WFSU. August 21, 2014. Retrieved August 21, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Death Certificate Recognizing Her Marriage to Partner of 47 Years - aclu.org". ACLU Press Release. October 8, 2014. Retrieved October 8, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Appeals Court Refuses To Stop Florida Same-Sex Marriages After Jan. 5 - buzzfeed.com". BuzzFeed News. December 3, 2014. Retrieved December 3, 2014. 
  13. ^ "4th judge overturns Fla. same-sex marriage ban - miamiherald.com". AP. August 5, 2014. Retrieved August 5, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Supreme Court allows gay marriage to proceed in Kansas - kfgo.com". Reuters. November 12, 2014. Retrieved November 12, 2014. 
  15. ^ a b "Kansas agencies not recognizing gay marriages yet - ljworld.com". AP. November 20, 2014. Retrieved November 20, 2014. 
  16. ^ a b "ACLU amends same-sex marriage lawsuit - 6lawrence.com". AP. November 26, 2014. Retrieved November 28, 2014. 
  17. ^ a b c d "Gay marriage bans in four states upheld on appeal - usatoday.com". USA Today. November 6, 2014. Retrieved November 6, 2014. 
  18. ^ a b c d e "Same-sex marriage: A simple appeal - scotusblog.com". SCOTUSblog. November 18, 2014. Retrieved November 23, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Louisiana same-sex marriage ruling stayed pending appeal, attorney general says - nola.com". Times-Picayune. September 26, 2014. Retrieved September 26, 2014. 
  20. ^ a b "Texas gay-marriage case to be heard Jan. 9 - statesman.com". American-Statesman. November 20, 2014. Retrieved November 20, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Supreme Court asked to rule on Louisiana same-sex marriage case - jurist.org". Jurist. November 21, 2014. Retrieved November 23, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Mississippi’s Same-Sex Marriage Ban Is Unconstitutional, Federal Judge Rules - buzzfeed.com". BuzzFeed. November 25, 2014. Retrieved November 25, 2014. 
  23. ^ "Federal appeals court stays Miss. marriage ruling - washingtonblade.com". Washington Blade. December 4, 2014. Retrieved December 4, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Speedy appeal granted in Mississippi gay marriage case - clarionledger.com". AP. December 4, 2014. Retrieved December 4, 2014. 
  25. ^ "Gay marriage now legal in Missouri - but only in St Louis - gaystarnews.com". Gay Star News. November 5, 2014. Retrieved November 5, 2014. 
  26. ^ "St. Louis Judge Rules Missouri Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional - ozarksfirst.com". Ozarks First. November 5, 2014. Retrieved November 5, 2014. 
  27. ^ "Koster won't appeal same-sex marriage ruling - news-leader.com". AP. October 6, 2014. Retrieved October 6, 2014. 
  28. ^ "Missouri lawmakers try to appeal gay marriage case - sfgate.com". AP. December 3, 2014. Retrieved December 5, 2014. 
  29. ^ "Missouri ban on gay marriage unconstitutional-federal judge - townhall.com". Reuters. November 7, 2014. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 
  30. ^ "Breaking Montana gay marriage ban struck down; ruling takes effect immediately - latimes.com". LA Times. November 19, 2014. Retrieved November 19, 2014. 
  31. ^ "Judge strikes down NC gay marriage ban - waff.com". AP. October 10, 2014. Retrieved October 10, 2014. 
  32. ^ "Second judge nullifies North Carolina marriage ban - scotusblog.com". SCOTUSblog. October 14, 2014. Retrieved October 14, 2014. 
  33. ^ "Ohio judges divided on same-sex divorce - norwalkreflector.com". MCT Regional News. October 14, 2014. Retrieved October 14, 2014. 
  34. ^ "US Supreme Court refuses to block SC gay marriages - charlotteobserver.com". AP. November 20, 2014. Retrieved November 20, 2014. 
  35. ^ "Read the federal judge's decision striking down Texas's gay marriage ban - apps.washingtonpost.com". Washington Post. February 26, 2014. Retrieved February 26, 2014. 
  36. ^ "Appeals Court Refuses To Stop Florida Same-Sex Marriages After Jan. 5 - buzzfeed.com". BuzzFeed News. December 3, 2014. Retrieved December 3, 2014. 

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