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The state of marriage


Rallies for and against same-sex marriage in Little Rock, Ark. Associated Press/Photo by Danny Johnston, File

The state of marriage

Editor's note: Before the U.S. Supreme Court on June 26, 2015, ordered all states to start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, WORLD tracked the status of same-sex marriage across all 50 states. The state-by-state list below shows how things stood in March 2015, a month before the high court heard oral arguments in April.

Alabama—Voters approved constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman in 2006; a federal judge struck it down in January 2015. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to extend a two-week stay, and counties began issuing marriage licenses Feb. 9. State Supreme Court ordered judges to stop issuing marriage licenses on March 3. Alaska—Passed the first voter-approved constitutional marriage amendment in 1998, which a federal judge overturned in October 2014. Arizona—Marriage amendment passed in 2008; federal judge overturned it in October 2014. Arkansas—Marriage amendment passed in 2004; county circuit judge overturned it in May 2014. State Supreme Court stayed the ruling pending appeal. Federal court overturned amendment in November 2014. California—Marriage amendment, called Proposition 8, passed in 2008; federal judge overturned it in 2010. Ruling did not go into effect until the Supreme Court upheld it in 2013. Colorado—Marriage amendment passed in 2006; state judge struck it down in July 2014. A federal judge followed suit later that same month. Connecticut—State Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in 2008. Delaware—State statute legalized same-sex marriage in 2013. Florida—Marriage amendment passed in 2008. Circuit judge ruled in 2014 same-sex couples could marry in the Florida Keys. Another circuit judge issued a similar ruling for Miami–Dade County. Then a federal judge struck down the amendment, and the Supreme Court denied a request for an emergency stay. Georgia—Marriage amendment passed in 2004; it still stands. Hawaii—State statute passed in 2013 legalized same-sex marriage. Idaho—Marriage amendment passed in 2006; federal judge overturned it in May 2014. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision. Illinois—State statute passed in 2013 legalized same-sex marriage. Indiana—Marriage law passed in 2007; federal judge overturned it. Federal appeals court upheld the ruling in September 2014. Iowa—State statute legalized same-sex marriage in 2009. Kansas—Marriage amendment passed in 2005; it still stands. Judge rules state must allow same-sex marriages while federal case is pending; Supreme Court upheld that ruling. Kentucky—Marriage amendment passed in 2004; federal judge overturned it in July 2014, but the law was upheld on appeal. Louisiana—Marriage amendment passed in 2004; federal judge upheld it in September 2014. Maine—Voter referendum in 2012 legalized same-sex marriage. Maryland—Voter referendum in 2012 legalized same-sex marriage. Massachusetts—In 2003, became the first state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples after a state Supreme Court ruling. Michigan—Marriage amendment passed in 2004; federal judge overturned it in March 2014, but it was upheld on appeal. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed in January to hear the case, and until then, the state agreed to recognize roughly 300 marriages conducted after the traditional marriage law was briefly overturned. Minnesota—State statute passed in 2013 legalized same-sex marriage Mississippi—Marriage amendment passed in 2004; overturned by federal judge in November 2014. Missouri—Marriage amendment passed in 2004; one county judge has ruled it is unconstitutional, and another county judge has ordered state to recognize same-sex marriages from other states. Montana—Marriage amendment passed in 2004; federal judge overturned it in November 2014. Nebraska—Marriage amendment passed in 2000; overturned by a federal judge in March, 2015. 8th Circuit stayed the ruling on March 6. Nevada—Marriage amendment passed in 2002; federal judge upheld it, but the 9th Circuit overturned it. New Hampshire— State statute passed in 2009 legalized same-sex marriage. New Jersey—State judge’s ruling legalized same-sex marriage in 2013. New Mexico—State Supreme Court ruling legalized same-sex marriage in 2013. New York—State statute passed in 2011 legalized same-sex marriage. North Carolina—Marriage amendment passed in 2012; federal judge overturned it in October 2014. North Dakota—Marriage amendment passed in 2004; it still stands. Ohio—Marriage amendment passed in 2004. Judge ordered state to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states in April 2014, but that decision was overturned on appeal. Oklahoma—Marriage amendment passed in 2004; federal judge overturned it in January 2014. Ruling upheld by federal appeals court. Oregon—Marriage amendment passed in 2004; federal judge overturned it in May 2014. Pennsylvania—Marriage law passed by state legislature in 1997; federal judge overturned it in May 2014. Rhode Island—State statute legalized same-sex marriage in 2013. South Carolina—Marriage amendment passed in 2006. Federal judge overturned it in November 2014. Attorney general appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court but the state began issuing marriages licenses on Nov. 19. South Dakota—Marriage amendment passed in 2006; federal judge overturned it in January 2015 but stayed the ruling pending appeal. Tennessee—Marriage amendment passed in 2006; it still stands. A federal appeals court overruled a lower court judge’s order that the state must recognize three same-sex marriages performed in other states. Texas—Marriage amendment passed in 2005; federal judge overturned it in February 2014. Ruling stayed by the Supreme Court pending appeal. Utah—Marriage amendment passed in 2004; federal judge overturned it in December 2013. Ruling upheld on appeal. Vermont—State statute passed in 2009 legalizing same-sex marriage. Virginia—Marriage amendment passed in 2006; federal judge overturned it in February 2014. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ruling. Washington—Voter referendum legalized same-sex marriage in 2012. West Virginia—Marriage law passed by state legislature in 2000. Same-sex marriage became legal in October 2014 following the state attorney general’s decision to stop defending the law after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review an appeals court decision in support of gay marriage. Wisconsin—Marriage amendment passed in 2006; federal judge overturned it in June 2014. Wyoming—Marriage law passed by state legislature in 1977; federal judge overturned it in October 2014.

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