Same-sex marriage in the United States: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Same-sex marriage ceremony

Same-sex marriage, also referred to as gay marriage, is marriage between two persons of the same sex. The federal government of the United States does not recognize the marriages of same-sex couples and is prohibited from doing so by the Defense of Marriage Act. Nationwide, same-sex marriage is legal in three states as a result of a court ruling and in two others plus a district through a vote in their respective legislatures.

Same-sex marriages are currently granted by six of the 50 states, one Indian tribe, and one federal district:

State(s) which previously granted same-sex marriage licenses:

  • In California, same-sex marriages were performed between June 16, 2008 and November 4, 2008, after the California Supreme Court held the statutes limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples violated the state constitution; however, the California electorate then approved a voter initiative that reinstated the ban on same-sex marriage as part of California's constitution. The California Supreme Court upheld the voter-approved constitutional ban. Today, all same-sex unions are given the benefits of marriage under California law, although only those performed as marriages before November 5, 2008 are granted the designation "marriage".[1]

States which recognize same-sex marriage but do not grant same-sex marriage licenses:

The movement to obtain marriage rights and benefits for same-sex couples in the United States began in the early 1970s. The issue became even more prominent in U.S. politics in the mid-1990s with a public backlash toward the idea evidenced by Congress' passage of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. In the late 2000s, New England became the center of an organized push to legalize same-sex marriage in the U.S., with four of the six states comprising that region granting same-sex couples the legal right to marry. The issue remains politically divisive in the United States.

Legal recognition of
same-sex couples
Same-sex marriage


South Africa

Performed in some jurisdictions

Mexico: DF
United States: CT, DC, IA, MA, NH, VT, Coquille

Recognized, not performed

Aruba (Dutch only)
Netherlands Antilles (Dutch only)
United States: CA (conditional), MD, NY, RI

Civil unions and
registered partnerships

Czech Republic

New Caledonia
New Zealand
Wallis and Futuna
United Kingdom

Performed in some jurisdictions

Argentina: BA, RC, RN, VCP
Australia: ACT, TAS, VIC
Mexico: COA
United States: CA, CO, HI, ME, NJ, NV, OR, WA, WI
Venezuela: ME

Recognized, not performed

Isle of Man (UK only)

Unregistered co-habitation



In some regions

United States: MD, RI

Jurisdictions with current or recent debates on SSUs

China (PRC)
ROC (Taiwan)
Congo (DRC)
Costa Rica
Dominican Republic
El Salvador
Faroe Islands

Netherlands Antilles
South Korea

United States: AL, AS, AZ, DE, FL, GU, IL, LA, MI, MN, MT, NM, NC, OH, PA, PR, SC, UT, WV, WY, Native Americans

See also

Same-sex marriage
Same-sex marriage legislation
Timeline of same-sex marriage
Civil union
Domestic partnership
Registered partnership
Civil partnership
Listings by country

LGBT portal


Legal issues

Federal law

The legal issues surrounding same-sex marriage in the United States are complicated by the nation's federal system of government. Traditionally, the federal government did not attempt to establish its own definition of marriage; any marriage recognized by a state was recognized by the federal government, even if that marriage was not recognized by one or more other states (as was the case with interracial marriage before 1967 due to anti-miscegenation laws). With the passage of the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, however, a marriage was explicitly defined as a union of one man and one woman for the purposes of federal law. (See 1 U.S.C. § 7.) Thus, no act or agency of the federal government currently recognizes same-sex marriage.

According to the federal government's Government Accountability Office (GAO), more than 1,138 rights and protections are conferred to U.S. citizens upon marriage by the federal government; areas affected include Social Security benefits, veterans' benefits, health insurance, Medicaid, hospital visitation, estate taxes, retirement savings, pensions, family leave, and immigration law.

However, many aspects of marriage law affecting the day to day lives of inhabitants of the United States are determined by the states, not the federal government, and the Defense of Marriage Act does not prevent individual states from defining marriage as they see fit.

The United States Supreme Court in 1972 dismissed Baker v. Nelson, a case originating in Minnesota, "for want of a substantial federal question". The Defense of Marriage Act, as well as marriage laws in 45 states, could be affected by the outcome of Perry v. Schwarzenegger, a case challenging the validity of California's Proposition 8 under the United States Constitution.[5]

State law

Laws regarding same-sex partnerships in the United States      Same-sex marriage      Unions granting rights similar to marriage,2      Legislation granting limited/enumerated rights      Same-sex marriages performed elsewhere recognized1      No specific prohibition or recognition of same-sex marriages or unions      Statute bans same-sex marriage      Constitution bans same-sex marriage      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.
2Same-sex marriage laws in California are complicated, please see the article on same-sex marriage in California.

See Same-sex marriage law in the United States by state

Five state governments offer same-sex marriage: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, and New Hampshire.[6] In all five cases this has been achieved through legislation or court ruling.[6] As of November 2009, when legislation legalizing same-sex marriage in Maine was defeated by referendum, same-sex marriage had been defeated in all 31 states in which it had been directly put to a popular vote.[6] Thirty states have passed constitutional amendments prohibiting same-sex marriage.[6]

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Massachusetts since November 18, 2003; in Connecticut since October 10, 2008 (having previously legalized civil unions in October 2005);[7] in Iowa since April 27, 2009;[8][9] in Vermont since September 1, 2009; and in New Hampshire since January 1, 2010.

Same-sex marriage is recognized only at the state level, as the federal Defense of Marriage Act explicitly bars federal recognition of such marriages.

Opponents of same-sex marriage have attempted 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 Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee, on a party-line vote, and was debated by the full United States Senate, but was ultimately defeated in both houses of Congress.[10]

The right to marry was first extended to same-sex couples by a United States jurisdiction on November 18, 2003, in Massachusetts by a state Supreme Judicial Court ruling.[11]

On May 15, 2008, the Supreme Court of California issued a decision in which it effectively legalized same-sex marriage in California, holding that California's existing opposite-sex definition of marriage violated the constitutional rights of same-sex couples.[12][13] Same-sex marriage opponents in California placed a state constitutional amendment known as Proposition 8 on the November ballot for the purpose of restoring an opposite-sex definition of marriage;[14] Proposition 8 was passed on Election Day 2008, as were proposed marriage-limiting amendments in Florida and Arizona.[15] The California amendment was challenged in a court proceeding, but was upheld by the state supreme court, in a 6-1 vote, on May 26, 2009. The court ruled, however, that the approximately 18,000 same-sex marriages that took place in 2008 would remain valid. On October 12, 2009, Governor Schwarzenegger signed SB 54, which allowed all out-of-state same-sex marriages to be given the benefits of marriage under California law, although only those performed before November 5, 2008 will be granted the designation "marriage". The validity of Proposition 8 under the United States Constitution is currently being challenged in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, which could potentially have an effect on all same-sex marriage bans nationwide.

On October 10, 2008, the Connecticut Supreme Court overturned the state's civil-unions statute (2005), as unconstitutionally discriminating against same-sex couples, and required the state to recognize same-sex marriages.

Same-sex marriage was legalized in Iowa following the unanimous ruling of the Iowa Supreme Court in Varnum v. Brien on April 3, 2009.[16] This was initially to take effect on April 24, but the date was changed to April 27 for administrative reasons.[9]

On April 7, 2009, Vermont legalized same-sex marriage through legislation. The Governor had previously vetoed the measure, but the veto was overridden by the Legislature. Vermont became the first state in the United States to legalize same-sex marriage through legislation, as opposed to litigation, albeit without the governor's signature. On the same day, the City Council of the federal District of Columbia passed a bill by a 12–1 vote that recognizes same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.[17]

On May 6, 2009, Maine became the fifth state to legalize same-sex marriage.[18] The legislation was overturned by referendum in November 2009.[6]

On June 3, 2009, New Hampshire became the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage.[19]

As of June 1, 2009, New Jersey has created legal unions that, while not called marriages, are explicitly defined as offering all the rights and responsibilities of marriage under state (though not federal) law to same-sex couples. Colorado, Hawaii, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Wisconsin, and Washington have created legal unions for same-sex couples that offer varying subsets of the rights and responsibilities of marriage under the laws of those jurisdictions.

As of January 1, 2009, thirty states have constitutional amendments explicitly barring the recognition of same-sex marriage, defining civil marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman.[20] More than forty states explicitly restrict marriage to two persons of the opposite sex, including some of those that have created legal recognition for same-sex unions under a name other than "marriage", e.g., civil unions and domestic partnerships.[citation needed] Nineteen states ban any legal recognition of same-sex unions that would be equivalent to civil marriage.[21] New York courts have ruled that same-sex marriages conducted in states where they are legal must be recognized by those states, but that the state statutes do not allow the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses — as a result New York now has same-sex divorces without allowing same-sex weddings.[22] New Jersey only recognized same-sex marriages for the purpose of divorce, otherwise they are converted to Civil Unions.[23]

Pennsylvania state senator John Eichelberger plans to introduce a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania. However, Senator Daylin Leach has introduced a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage.[24][25]

International recognition of marriages

Same-sex marriage conducted abroad is recognized in the U.S. States of New York, California, Rhode Island, and Maryland, and in Washington, D.C..

The nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage in Canada has raised questions about U.S. law, because of Canada's proximity to the U.S. and the fact that Canada has no citizenship or residency requirement to receive a marriage certificate (unlike Belgium and the Netherlands). Canada and the U.S. have a history of respecting marriages contracted in either country.

Immediately after the June 2003 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in Ontario, a number of American couples went or planned to go to the province in order to get married. A coalition of American national gay rights groups issued a statement asking couples to contact them before attempting legal challenges, so that they might be coordinated as part of the same-sex marriage movement in the United States.[citation needed]


Barack Obama has stated that he is against same-sex marriage[26] while remaining sympathetic to human-rights.[27] The president "supports full civil unions and federal rights for LGBT couples and opposes a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage."[27] He opposes a federal mandate for same-sex marriage, but also opposes the proposed federal ban[28] on gay marriage, arguing that the individual states should decide.[29][30] Obama opposed Proposition 8—California's constitutional ban on gay marriage—in 2008, and may have made comments in support of same-sex marriage during his Illinois Senate race in the 1990s,[31] while he subsequently opposed same-sex marriage in the 2008 presidential election.[32]


T-shirt reading "If your marriage needs protecting you need a therapist not an amendment" (May 2009, Fresno, California)

Same-sex marriage supporters make several arguments in support of their position. Gail Mathabane likens prohibitions on same-sex marriage to past prohibitions on interracial marriage.[33] Fernando Espuelas argues that same-sex marriage should be allowed because same-sex marriage extends a civil right to a minority group.[34]

Christopher Ott argues against the position that same-sex marriage would devalue marriage as a whole by referencing other historical events such as allowing women to vote and describes the prohibition of same-sex marriage as devaluing the American principle of equal treatment.[35]


Rally for Prop 8 in Fresno, California (October 2008)

David Blankenhorn holds that same-sex marriage harms the family structure of society, and that same-sex marriages deprive children of either a mother or a father.[36] Maggie Gallagher takes the view that same-sex relationships are intrinsically different from marriages, and that any comparison with interracial marriage is unjustified.[37] Some opponents to same-sex marriage argue that judicial rulings such as the California Supreme Court's decision in the In re Marriage Cases has amounted to unconstitutional judicial activism.[citation needed]

Popular opinion

Effects of same-sex marriage

Economic impact on same-sex couples

Dr. M. V. Lee Badgett, an economist and associate professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has studied the impact of same-sex legal marriage on same-sex couples. According to a 1997 General Accounting Office study requested by Rep. Henry Hyde (R), at least 1,049 U.S. Federal laws and regulations include reference to marital status.[38] A later 2004 study by the Congressional Budget Office finds 1,138 statutory provisions "in which marital status is a factor in determining or receiving 'benefits, rights, and privileges.'"[39] Many of these laws govern property rights, benefits, and taxation. Same-sex couples are ineligible for spousal and survivor Social Security benefits.[39] Badgett's research finds the resulting difference in Social Security income for same-sex couples compared to opposite-sex married couples is US$5,588 per year. The federal ban on same-sex marriage and benefits through the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) extends to federal government employee benefits.[39] According to Badgett's work, same-sex couples face other financial challenges against which legal marriage at least partially shields opposite-sex couples.[40]

  • potential loss of couple's home from medical expenses of one partner caring for another gravely ill one[40]
  • costs of supporting two households, travel, or emigration out of the U.S. for an American citizen unable to legally marry a non-U.S. citizen[40]
  • higher cost of purchasing private insurance for partner and children if company is not one of 18% that offer domestic partner benefits[40]
  • higher taxes: unlike a company's contribution to an employee's spouse's health insurance, domestic partner benefits are taxed as additional compensation[39]
  • legal costs associated with obtaining domestic partner documents to gain some of the power of attorney, health care decision-making, and inheritance rights granted through legal marriage[40]
  • higher health costs associated with lack of insurance and preventative care: 20% of same-sex couples have a member who is uninsured compared to 10% of married opposite-sex couples[40]
  • current tax law allows a spouse to inherit an unlimited amount from the deceased without incurring an estate tax but an unmarried partner would have to pay the estate tax on the inheritance from her/his partner[39]
  • same-sex couples are not eligible to file jointly or separately as a married couple and thus cannot take the advantages of lower tax rates when the individual income of the partners differs significantly[39]

While state laws grant full marriage rights (Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont) or some or all of the benefits under another name (New Jersey, Washington, California, etc.), these state laws do not extend the benefits of marriage on the Federal level, and most states do not currently recognize same-sex marriages, domestic partnerships, or civil unions from other states.

One often overlooked aspect of same-sex marriage are the potential negative effects on same-sex couples. While the legal benefits of marriage are numerous, same-sex couples would face the same financial constraints of legal marriage as opposite-sex married couples. Such potential effects include the marriage penalty in taxation.[39] Similarly, 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.[39]

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 $1 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.[39]

Mental health

Several psychological studies[41][42][43] 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.[44]

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, afraid that they would lose custody of their children and that they might become victims of violence. 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.[45]

Physical health

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.[46][47] 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.

Timeline of major events

  • October 10, 1972: The United States Supreme Court dismisses appeal in Baker v. Nelson "for want of a substantial federal question".
  • May 5, 1993: The Hawaii State Supreme Court rules that statute limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples is presumed to be unconstitutional unless the state can show that it is (1) justified by compelling state interests and (2) narrowly drawn to avoid unnecessary abridgements of rights under the Hawaii Constitution. The case is sent back to the lower courts for a trial on these two issues.
  • September 21, 1996: President Bill Clinton signs into law the Defense of Marriage Act, denying federal recognition of same-sex marriages.
  • December 3, 1996: A Hawaii trial-court judge holds that no compelling interests support Hawaii's statute limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples. He stays the decision pending review by the Hawaii Supreme Court.[48][49]
  • November 3, 1998: Hawaii voters amend the Hawaii Constitution to give the Hawaii State Legislature the power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples.
  • December 9, 1999: In light of the constitutional amendment, the Hawaii Supreme Court dismisses the case challenging Hawaii's law limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples. The court thus never decided whether the law was constitutional.[50]
  • December 20, 1999: The Vermont Supreme Court holds that exclusion of same-sex couples from benefits and protections incident to marriage under state law violated the common-benefits clause of the Vermont Constitution.
  • November 18, 2003: The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court gives the state legislature 180 days to enact same-sex marriage.
  • February 11, 2004: The Massachusetts General Court (legislature) completes the first step in a process that would ban same-sex marriage. The process is not continued.
  • February 12 – March 11, 2004: San Francisco issues same-sex marriage licenses.
  • May 17, 2004: Same-sex marriage starts in Massachusetts.
  • August 12, 2004: The California Supreme Court rules that the San Francisco marriages are void.
  • September 29, 2005: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoes a same-sex marriage bill.
  • October 12, 2007: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoes same-sex marriage bill.
  • May 15, 2008: The Supreme Court of California overturns the state's ban on same-sex marriage.
  • June 16, 2008: Same-sex marriage starts in California.
  • September 10, 2008: HB436, a bill that seeks to "eliminates the exclusion of same gender couples from marriage", is submitted to the New Hampshire House of Representatives.
  • October 10, 2008: The Supreme Court of Connecticut orders same-sex marriage legalized.
  • November 4, 2008: California voters pass Proposition 8, amending the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage.
  • November 5, 2008: Proposition 8 takes effect in California, stopping new same-sex marriage licenses from being issued after this date.
  • November 12, 2008: Same-sex marriage starts in Connecticut.
  • March 26, 2009: HB436 supporting same-sex marriage passes the New Hampshire House of Representatives.
  • April 3, 2009: The Iowa Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage.
  • April 6, 2009: A same-sex marriage bill is passed by the Vermont General Assembly and then vetoed by the governor.
  • April 7, 2009: The Vermont General Assembly overrides the governor's veto of the same-sex marriage bill.
  • April 23, 2009: Connecticut governor signs legislation which statutorily legalizes same-sex marriage (see Oct. 10 and Nov. 12, 2008), and also converts any existing civil unions into marriages as of October 1, 2010.
  • April 27, 2009: Same-sex marriage starts in Iowa.
  • April 29, 2009: HB436 supporting same-sex marriage passes the New Hampshire Senate with minor amendments.
  • May 6, 2009: Maine Governor Baldacci signs Marriage Equality Bill. The New Hampshire House of Representatives concurs with the Senate's amendments to HB436, and the bill supporting same-sex marriage advances to Governor John Lynch.
  • May 12, 2009: A same-sex marriage bill passes in the lower house New York Assembly.
  • May 26, 2009: The California Supreme Court upholds Proposition 8, but also upholds the marriage rights of the 18,000 same-sex couples married while same-sex marriage had been briefly legalized.
  • June 3, 2009: The New Hampshire General Court passes new HB73, which includes protections for religious institutions, as required by Gov. John Lynch to secure his signature on HB436, a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. Gov. Lynch signs both bills the same day.
  • September 1, 2009: Same-sex marriage starts in Vermont.
  • September 11, 2009: Same-sex marriage was supposed to start on this day in Maine, but is subject to a People's Veto.
  • October 2, 2009: A Texas judge rules the state's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional while presiding over the divorce proceedings for two gay Texans married in Massachusetts, clearing the way for both Texas' first same-sex divorce and a legal challenge to the same-sex marriage ban.[51]
  • October 11, 2009: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signs into law recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriage.[52][53]
  • November 3, 2009: The same-sex marriage law passed in Maine is repealed by a People's Veto referendum.[6]
  • December 1, 2009: The Council of the District of Columbia passes same-sex marriage bill 11-2 in its first vote. The bill must pass a second vote on December 15 before it can go to Mayor Adrian Fenty for signature. Barring interference by the United States Congress within thirty legislative days after Mayor Fenty signs the bill, DC will allow same-sex marriage.[54]
  • December 2, 2009: Same-sex marriage is defeated 38-24 in the New York State Senate. [55]
  • December 15, 2009: District of Columbia City Council passes same-sex marriage bill 11-2 in its second vote. The bill was signed by Mayor Fenty on December 18, 2009.[56]
  • January 1, 2010: Same-sex marriage starts in New Hampshire and all out-of-state same-sex marriages are given the benefits of marriage under California law, although only those performed before November 5, 2008 are granted the designation "marriage".[57]
  • February 24, 2010: Maryland's attorney general issues an opinion requiring the state to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.[58]
  • March 3, 2010: Same-sex marriage starts in Washington, D.C. [59]

Case law

United States case law regarding same-sex marriage:

  • Baker v. Nelson, 191 N.W.2d 185 (Minn. 1971) (upholding a Minnesota law defining marriage)
  • Jones v. Hallahan, 501 S.W.2d 588 (Ky. 1973) (upholding a Kentucky law defining marriage)
  • Singer v. Hara, 522 P.2d 1187 (Wash. App. 1974) (ban on same-sex marriage was constitutional on the basis of gender discrimination; because the historical definition of marriage is between one man and one woman, same-sex couples are inherently ineligible to marry)
  • Adams v. Howerton, 673 F.2d 1036 (9th Cir. 1982), cert. denied, 458 U.S. 1111 (affirming that 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 cannot undergo divorce proceedings because they cannot enter a common law marriage)
  • In re Estate of Cooper, 564 N.Y.S.2d 684 (N.Y. Fam. Ct. 1990)
  • Baehr v. Lewin, 852 P.2d 44 (Haw. 1993) (holding that statute limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples violates the Hawaii constitution's equal-protection clause unless the state can show that the statute is (1) justified by compelling state interests and (2) narrowly tailored, prompting a state constitutional amendment and the federal Defense of Marriage Act)
  • Dean v. District of Columbia, 653 A.2d 307 (D.C. 1995)
  • Storrs v. Holcomb, 645 N.Y.S.2d 286 (N.Y. App. Div. 1996) (New York does not recognize or authorize same-sex marriage) (this ruling has since been changed, New York does recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states)
  • In re Estate of Hall, 707 N.E.2d 201, 206 (Ill. App. Ct. 1998) (no same-sex marriage will be recognized; petitioner claiming existing same-sex marriage was not in a marriage recognized by law)
  • Baker v. State, 170 Vt. 194; 744 A.2d 864 (Vt. 1999) (Common Benefits Clause of the state constitution requires that same-sex couples be granted the same legal rights as married persons)
  • Rosengarten v. Downes, 806 A.2d 1066 (Conn. Ct. App. 2002) (Vermont civil union cannot be dissolved in Connecticut)
  • Burns v. Burns, 560 S.E.2d 47 (Ga. Ct. App. 2002) (recognizing marriage as between one man and one woman)
  • Frandsen v. County of Brevard, 828 So. 2d 386 (Fla. 2002) (State constitution will not be construed to recognize same-sex marriage; sex classifications not subject to strict scrutiny under Florida constitution)
  • In re Estate of Gardiner, 42 P.3d 120 (Kan. 2002) (a post-op male-to-female transgendered person may not marry a male, because this person is still a male in the eyes of the law, and marriage in Kansas is recognized only between a man and a woman)
  • Standhardt v. Superior Court ex rel. County of Maricopa, 77 P.3d 451 (Ariz. Ct. App. 2003) (no state constitution right to same-sex marriage)
  • Morrison v. Sadler, 2003 WL 23119998 (Ind. Super. Ct. 2003) (Indiana's Defense of Marriage Act is found valid)
  • Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health, 798 N.E.2d 941 (Mass. 2003) (denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples violated provisions of the state constitution guaranteeing individual liberty and equality, and was not rationally related to a legitimate state interest.)
  • Lewis v. Harris, 908 A.2d 196 (N.J. 2006) (New Jersey is required to extend all rights and responsibilities of marriage to same-sex couples, but prohibiting same-sex marriage does not violate the state constitution; legislature given 180 days from October 25, 2006 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) (New York State Constitution does not require that marriage be extended to same-sex couples).
  • Langan v. St. Vincent's Hospital, 25 A.D.3d 90, 802 N.Y.S.2d 476 (N.Y. App. Div. 2005), review denied, 850 N.E.2d 672 (N.Y. 2006) (denying survivor partner in Vermont officiated Civil Union standing as a "spouse" for purposes of New York's wrongful death statute).
  • Conaway v. Deane, 932 A.2d 571 (Md. 2007) (upholding state law defining marriage as between a "man" and a "woman,")
  • Martinez v. County of Monroe, 850 N.Y.S.2d 740 (N.Y. App. Div. 2008) (The court ruled unanimously that because New York legally recognizes out-of-state marriages of opposite-sex couples, it must do the same for same-sex couples. The county was refused leave to appeal on a technicality.[60])
  • In re Marriage Cases, 183 P.3d 384 (Cal. 2008) (The court ruled that limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples is invalid under the equal protection clause of the California Constitution, and that full marriage rights, not merely domestic partnership, must be offered to same-sex couples.)[61]; overruled by Strauss v. Horton, 207 P.3d 48 (Cal. 2009) (California Proposition 8, codified as Marriage Protection Act, functionally reverses In re Marriage by holding that same-sex couples do not have equal access to "marriage" designation and that such a holding does not violate California's privacy, equal protection, or due process laws)[62]
  • Varnum v. Brien, 763 N.W.2d 862, (Ia. 2009) (Barring same-sex couples from marriage, the court unanimously ruled, 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.)

See also


Supporting organizations

Opposing organizations


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  • Chauncey, George (2004). Why Marriage?: The History Shaping Today's Debate over Gay Equality. New York: Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-00957-3. 
  • Murdoch, Joyce and Deb Price (2001). Courting Justice: Gay Men and Lesbians v. the Supreme Court. New York, Basic Books. ISBN 0465015131.
  • Dobson, James C. (2004). Marriage Under Fire. Sisters, Or.: Multnomah. ISBN 1-59052-431-4. 
  • Wolfson, Evan (2004). Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality, and Gay People's Right to Marry. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-7432-6459-2. 

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