Update: Same-Sex Marriage

In the US, nineteen states, as well as the District of Columbia, have all legalized same-sex marriage, either through legislation or judicial review. This accounts for approximately 137.5million Americans, or 43.5% of the population.

Even with most Americans now favoring marriage equality, a large portion of the electorate is still against any recognition of marriage beyond one man and one woman.

As many of you were aware, last weekend, the final weekend of June, a global parade marching across several major cities celebrated Gay Pride.

And while there has been significant improvement for same-sex marriage, there is still need for more.

In 2014 alone, bans or constitutional amendments prohibiting same-sex marriage are currently pending review in Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Texas, Michigan, Arkansas, Idaho, Wisconsin, Colorado, Kansas, Wyoming and Indiana.

The overturns have all been stayed pending further appeal, but many are being fast-tracked through the courts with some decisions expected as early as this summer.

It’s undeniable both sides are aiming for a US Supreme Court intervention to finally end the question on same-sex marriage. However, any Supreme Court involvement isn’t likely to occur until the summer of 2015 at the earliest.

Should the highest court refuse to hear any appeals, however, the number of states legalizing equal marriage would drastically increase with decisions being delegated to several circuit court chambers.

Whilst equal marriage is only one aspect of the troubles facing gay and lesbian Americans across all fifty states, legal recognition clearly demonstrates a level of acceptance and understanding from the leaders of the Free World.

To celebrate this Pride weekend, here is an update of where all the states currently stand with legalizing of equal marriage.

Samesex_marriage_in_USA

Image Courtesy of Lokal_Profil

Alabama

State Constitution bans same-sex marriage.

Currently there are lawsuits challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Alaska

State Constitution bans same-sex marriage.

Arizona

State Constitution bans same-sex marriage.

An ongoing lawsuit is currently challenging a 2009 statute preventing domestic partners of state employees from receiving health benefits.

Arkansas

Same-sex marriage legalized, stayed pending appeal.

On May 9, 2014, Sixth Judicial Circuit Judge Chris Piazza ruled the ban was unconstitutional, legalizing equal marriage, although the ruling has been stayed pending appeal.

CALIFORNIA

Same-sex marriage legalized.

Effective: June 26, 2013.

Colorado

Same-sex marriage ban under review.

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on April 10, 2014, regarding a case questioning Utah’s constitutional ban. On June 25, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court’s judgement but stayed their mandate pending petition for writ of certiorari from the Supreme Court. The ruling applies to all states in its jurisdiction, including Colorado.

CONNECTICUT

Same-sex marriage legalized.

Effective: November 12, 2008.

DELAWARE

Same-sex marriage legalized.

Effective: July 1, 2013.

DISTRICT of COLUMBIA

Same-sex marriage legalized.

Effective: March 9, 2010.

Florida

State Constitution bans same-sex marriage.

Georgia

State Constitution bans same-sex marriage.

HAWAII

Same-sex marriage legalized.

Effective: December 2, 2013.

Idaho

Same-sex marriage ban overturned, stayed pending appeal.

The Idaho constitutional amendment restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples, as well as statute restrictions, were all struck down on May 13, 2014 in the case Latta v. Otter, subject a stay and appeal by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

ILLINOIS

Same-sex marriage legalized.

Effective: June 1, 2014. 

Indiana

Same-sex marriage ban overturned, stayed pending appeal.

Prohibited by state statutes, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana in the case of Baskin v. Bogan declared restrictions were unconstitutional. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit granted an emergency stay of the district court’s ruling, pending appeal.

IOWA

Same-sex marriage legalized.

Effective: April 27, 2009.

Kansas

Same-sex marriage ban under review.

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on April 10, 2014, regarding a case questioning Utah’s constitutional ban. On June 25, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court’s judgement but stayed their mandate pending petition for writ of certiorari from the Supreme Court. The ruling applies to all states in its jurisdiction, including Kansas.

Kentucky

State Constitution bans same-sex marriage; out-of-state marriage recognition pending appeal.

In a decision issued February 12 2014, Judge John G. Heyburn II said Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions because it violates the US Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection. The decision was stayed pending appeal.

***UPDATE***

Judge Heyburn has ruled Kentucky’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage violates the equal protection clause as defined in the US Constitution.

The decision, however, has been stayed pending review from the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which will be hearing arguments on August 6, 2014, regarding Kentucky and three other states.

Louisiana

State Constitution bans same-sex marriage.

Active lawsuits are currently challenging Louisiana’s ban against recognition of same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions.

MAINE

Same-sex marriage legalized.

Effective: December 29, 2012.

MARYLAND

Same-sex marriage legalized.

Effective: January 1, 2013.

MASSACHUSETTS

Same-sex marriage legalized.

Effective: May 17, 2004.

Michigan

Same-sex marriage ban overturned, stayed pending appeal.

On March 21, 2014, US District Judge Bernard Friedman voided the ban, declaring it unconstitutional. On March 22 around 300 marriage licenses were issued before Attorney General Bill Schuette filed an emergency stay, indefinitely placed until review. The US federal government will recognize those marriages already performed.

MINNESOTA

Same-sex marriage legalized.

Effective: August 1, 2013.

Mississippi

State Constitution bans same-sex marriage.

Although a lesbian couple married in California are challenging the amendment in order to have their divorce legally recognized in Mississippi.

Missouri

State Constitution bans same-sex marriage.

Montana

State Constitution bans same-sex marriage.

Nebraska

State Constitution bans same-sex marriage.

In March 2014, the Nebraska Supreme Court accepted a petition to hear a case of a married couple, wed in Iowa, who were seeking recognition of their marriage in order to divorce.

Nevada

State Constitution bans same-sex marriage.

Whilst lawsuits challenging the ban are seeking appeal, the state legislature in 2013 began work on repealing the amendment in order to replace it with a “gender neutral” definition of marriage. Approved by the Senate and the Assembly, the 2015 Nevada Legislature must vote on exactly the same resolution again before being passed on to voters in November 2016.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Same-sex marriage legalized.

Effective: January 1, 2010.

NEW JERSEY

Same-sex marriage legalized.

Effective: October 21, 2013.

NEW MEXICO

Same-sex marriage legalized.

Effective: December 19, 2013.

NEW YORK

Same-sex marriage legalized.

Effective: July 24, 2011.

North Carolina

State Constitution bans same-sex marriage.

North Dakota

State Constitution bans same-sex marriage.

Ohio

State Constitution bans same-sex marriage.

On April 14, 2014, United States District Court Judge Timothy Black declared Ohio’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional emphasising that Ohio must recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions. On April 16 he stayed enforcement of his ruling except for the death certificates sought by the plaintiffs. The case is currently being appealed by Attorney General Mike DeWine.

Oklahoma

Same-sex marriage ban under review.

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on April 10, 2014, regarding a case questioning Utah’s constitutional ban. On June 25, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court’s judgement but stayed their mandate pending petition for writ of certiorari from the Supreme Court. The ruling applies to all states in its jurisdiction, including Oklahoma.

OREGON

Same-sex marriage legalized.

Effective: May 19, 2014.

PENNSYLVANIA

Same-sex marriage legalized.

Effective: May 20, 2014.

RHODE ISLAND

Same-sex marriage legalized.

Effective: August 1, 2013.

South Carolina

State Constitution bans same-sex marriage.

South Dakota

State Constitution bans same-sex marriage.

Tennessee

State Constitution bans same-sex marriage.

Chattanooga, Collegedale and Knoxville have all enacted city benefits for domestic partnerships, scheduled to become effective in 2014.

Texas

Same-sex marriage ban overturned, stayed pending appeal.

On February 26 and April 23, 2014, US District Court Judge Orlando Luis Garcia and 45th Judicial District Court Judge Barbara Nellermore, respectively, both found Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional. Both cases are being appealed by Attorney General Greg Abbott.

Utah

Same-sex marriage ban overturned, stayed pending appeal.

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on April 10, 2014 regarding a case questioning Utah’s constitutional ban. On June 25, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court’s judgement but stayed their mandate pending petition for writ of certiorari from the Supreme Court. The ruling applies to all states in its jurisdiction.

VERMONT

Same-sex marriage legalized.

Effective: September 1, 2009.

Virginia

Same-sex marriage ban overturned, stayed pending appeal.

In January 2014, newly elected Attorney General Mark Herring concluded that Virginia’s laws denying same-sex couples the right to marry violated the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution. In February, a federal court decision found Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, but stayed enforcement of that decision pending appeal.

WASHINGTON

Same-sex marriage legalized.

Effective: December 6, 2012.

West Virginia

State Statutes ban same-sex marriage.

Wisconsin

Same-sex marriage ban overturned, stayed pending appeal.

On June 6, 2014, US District Court Judge Barbara Crabb struck down the ban for violating the Constitution of the United States. A week later she stayed the decision pending appeal.

Wyoming

Same-sex marriage ban under review.

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on April 10, 2014, regarding a case questioning Utah’s constitutional ban. On June 25, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court’s judgement but stayed their mandate pending petition for writ of certiorari from the Supreme Court. The ruling applies to all states in its jurisdiction, including Wyoming.

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