The status of same-sex marriage in all 50 states

People gather during a gay marriage rally Monday, Oct. 6, in Salt Lake City. (Photo by Associated Press)
People gather during a gay marriage rally Monday, Oct. 6, in Salt Lake City. Their celebration came after the U.S. Supreme Court opened the way for gay marriage in Utah and four other states Monday.
(Photo by Associated Press)

The Supreme Court turned away appeals this week that effectively raised the number of states allowing the practice from 19 to 30. On Tuesday, a federal appeals court rejected bans in Idaho and Nevada, which would become the 31st and 32nd states with same-sex marriage if the ruling is not put on hold for the Supreme Court to consider.

Here’s the status of gay marriage in all 50 states:



— ALABAMA — Lawsuits challenging the ban have been filed in each of the state’s three federal court districts, but judges have yet to rule. The state is defending the prohibition.

— ALASKA — A federal judge is hearing arguments Friday in a case filed by five couples challenging the state’s ban.

— ARIZONA — Lawyers in two pending federal lawsuits that challenge Arizona’s same-sex marriage ban are expected to urge the judge overseeing them to take note of a ruling Tuesday by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and immediately strike down the ban. The appeals court threw out gay marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada on constitutional grounds. The same issues have been raised by gay couples in Arizona’s lawsuits.

— ARKANSAS — A state judge in May struck down the state’s ban. The state Supreme Court brought marriages to a halt and is weighing state officials’ appeal. Same-sex couples are also suing the state in federal court.

— FLORIDA — A federal judge declared the state’s ban unconstitutional in mid-August, joining state judges in four counties. He issued a stay delaying the effect of his order, meaning no marriage licenses would be issued immediately issued for gay couples.

— GEORGIA — A lawsuit challenging the state’s ban was filed in federal court in Atlanta in April. The state wants to dismiss the suit, but the judge has not ruled. Lawyers for the ban’s challengers say the U.S. Supreme Court’s denial to consider other cases supports their arguments.

— KENTUCKY — Two Kentucky cases were among six from four states heard in the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati on Aug. 6. Rulings are pending on recognition of out-of-state marriages, as well as the ban on marriages within the state.

— LOUISIANA — A federal judge’s ruling in September upholding the state’s ban has been appealed to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A state judge ruled in a separate case that the ban is unconstitutional, a ruling that has been suspended while the state attorney general appeals to the state Supreme Court.

— MICHIGAN — The state’s ban was overturned by a federal judge in March following a rare trial that mostly focused on the impact on children. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati heard arguments Aug. 6, and a ruling is pending.

— MISSISSIPPI — The state Supreme Court has been asked to hear arguments on a woman’s effort to get her marriage in another state recognized in Mississippi for purposes of getting a divorce.

— MISSOURI — The state attorney general said Monday he wouldn’t appeal a state court order that Missouri recognize marriages from in other states. But two other cases are pending: A federal challenge in Kansas City and one in St. Louis that focuses on city officials who issued licenses to four couples to trigger a legal test.

— MONTANA — Four couples challenged the state’s ban in a lawsuit that was filed in May and is pending in U.S. District Court. A Montana ACLU official said Tuesday’s decision by the 9th Circuit to strike down Idaho’s ban on gay marriage likely means Montana’s voter-approved ban also will be declared unconstitutional. Republican Attorney General Tim Fox is reviewing the decision, a spokesman said.

— NEBRASKA — The state’s ban remains intact. A federal judge struck it down in 2005, but an appeals court reversed the decision. Last year, a state judge refused to grant a divorce to two women who wed in Iowa in 2009. The state Supreme Court dismissed the case in June on procedural grounds.

— NORTH DAKOTA — Seven couples sued in June over the state’s ban; a U.S. district judge now must decide whether to rule or hear oral arguments.

— OHIO — Two Ohio cases were argued Aug. 6 in the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and a ruling is pending. In one, two gay men whose spouses were dying sued to have their out-of-state marriages recognized on their spouses’ death certificates. In the other, four couples sued to have both spouses listed on their children’s birth certificates.

— SOUTH DAKOTA — Six couples sued in May over the state’s ban, and arguments are being scheduled in U.S. district court on the state’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit; their attorney pledges to appeal to a federal circuit appeals court if they lose.

— TENNESSEE — The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments Aug. 6 on whether Tennessee’s refusal to recognize a valid marriage from another state is constitutional. A ruling is pending.

— TEXAS — A federal judge declared the state’s ban unconstitutional, issuing a preliminary injunction. The state is appealing to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, which is soon expected to set a date for arguments.




— COLORADO (Oct. 6, 2014) — The state attorney general on Tuesday ordered all the state’s counties to issue licenses now that the state Supreme Court has lifted previous orders barring that.


— DELAWARE (2013)

— HAWAII (2013) — The Legislature legalized gay marriage last year, and couples continue to marry. An appeal is pending on a federal ruling that upheld Hawaii’s previous ban. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals hasn’t specifically ruled on Hawaii, although on Tuesday it rejected bans in Idaho and Nevada after hearing arguments from all three states.

— IDAHO — The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday rejected appeals by state officials to retain the state’s ban.

— ILLINOIS (June 2014)

— INDIANA (Oct. 6, 2014) — The state attorney general’s office ordered county clerks across the state to issue licenses. Republican Gov. Mike Pence said his administration will follow the court’s decisions even though he remains committed to traditional marriage.

— IOWA (2009)

— KANSAS (Oct. 6, 2014) — The American Civil Liberties Union says the Supreme Court decision in the 10th Circuit cases affects Kansas because it’s in that circuit; the group plans to seek a federal court ruling to block Kansas’ constitutional ban on gay marriage. Gov. Sam Brownback was defiant, saying he swore to uphold the constitution, and some same-sex couples who applied for marriage licenses were turned away.

— MAINE (2012)

— MARYLAND (2013)

— MASSACHUSETTS (2004) — The first state to legalize gay marriage.

— MINNESOTA (2013)

— NEVADA — The 9th Circuit on Tuesday rejected the state’s ban. Officials in the Clark County clerk’s office say the marriage license bureau in Las Vegas will begin accepting license applications Wednesday from same-sex couples.


— NEW JERSEY (2013)

— NEW MEXICO (2013)

— NEW YORK (2011)

— NORTH CAROLINA (Oct. 6, 2014) — The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina says it will seek an immediate ruling in federal court overturning the state’s ban. The state attorney general has previously said he wouldn’t challenge such a ruling.

— OKLAHOMA (Oct. 6, 2014) — Tulsa County issued a marriage license Monday to Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin, the couple who successfully challenged the state’s ban. Several other counties also issued licenses.

— OREGON (May 2014)



— SOUTH CAROLINA (Oct. 6, 2014) — A lawyer for a gay couple seeking to overturn the state’s ban on gay marriage said she will ask a federal judge to immediately rule in their favor. The attorney general said he will continue to fight to uphold the ban.

— UTAH (Oct. 6, 2014) — A handful of same-sex weddings occurred in Salt Lake County after the governor directed state agencies to recognize the marriages Monday. The state said Tuesday it will also drop an appeal in which it sought not to recognize out-of-state marriages.

— VERMONT (2009) — The first state to offer civil unions, in 2001.

— VIRGINIA (Oct. 6, 2014) — A day after the first same-sex couples wed, the governor ordered state agencies to comply with the new terrain, including allowing gay employees to add spouses and dependents to their health insurance.

— WASHINGTON, D.C. (2010)


— WEST VIRGINIA (Oct. 6, 2014) — A federal judge lifted his hold on a lawsuit challenging the state’s ban.

— WISCONSIN (Oct. 6, 2014) — County clerks are accepting applications for licenses which, by state law, can’t be issued until after a five-day waiting period.

— WYOMING (Oct. 6, 2014) — Lingering uncertainty over whether gay marriage is allowed in Wyoming prevented same-sex couples from marrying there Tuesday, prompting four couples to file a federal lawsuit a day after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld gay marriage by refusing to hear appeals on the issue. Those appeals included one from the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes Wyoming.

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