A Rundown on Gay Marriage Laws on US States
“Fight for marriage quality!” This is the calling made by gay rights advocates and supporters all over the world. For years, different groups have been fighting not just for marriage equality but also for equality in general. While the society is slowly accepting this and is becoming open to the inclusion of “third sex,” more people are still saying that this is not enough.
One of the most controversial issues the society is facing today is the legalization and recognition of marriage among same sex couples. All over the world, there are only 12 countries that allow gay marriage: Netherlands (April 2001), Belgium (June 2003), Spain (July 2005), Canada (July 2005), South Africa (November 2006), Norway (January 2009), Sweden (May 2009), Portugal (June 2010), Iceland (June 2010), Argentina (July 2010), Denmark (June 2012) and Uruguay (April 2013).
Gay Marriage Laws by State
So far, the United States has not been fully open to the idea of gay marriage. To date, there are only 9 states which have gay marriage laws: Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, Washington D.C., Maine, New York, Maryland and Washington. Most of the states have laws against gay marriage and adopt the Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA as a state law and is even included in the state’s constitution.
The states which adopted DOMA and have no legislation pertaining to laws on gay marriage are Alaska, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Texas and West Virginia and Wyoming.
- Alabama – The introduction of state constitutional amendment that allows same sex marriage did not push through.
- Arizona – A federal constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage passed the House but failed in the Senate Floor.
- Arkansas – The constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in the state was approved by the voters through a citizen’s initiative.
- California – By public referendum, California gay marriage law bans same sex marriage where the State Supreme Court nullified almost 4,000 marriage licenses issued to gay couples in San Francisco.
- Colorado – The constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage was introduced, but however died.
- Delaware – The measure to forbid same sex marriage and civil union among same sex couples was blocked by Senate President Thurman Adams
- Florida – Lesbian rights advocates challenges the state’s ban on same sex marriage
- Georgia – The amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman was approved by the Legislature and 85% of the state’s voters.
- Hawaii – Although DOMA is adopted as a state law, Hawaii laws still provide limited benefits to same sex partners
- Idaho – The amendment to ban gay marriage passed the House but was not voted upon yet in the Senate.
- Illinois – The amendment to forbid same sex marriage failed to pass.
- Indiana – Upon adjournment, the Legislature put an end to the amendment on banning same sex marriage. Further, Democrats in the House refused to vote on the proposed amendment.
- Kansas – Same sex marriage and benefits related to this are banned.
- Kentucky – An amendment defining marriage as a union between man and woman was approved by the Legislature and 75% state voters.
- Louisiana – Restriction of marriage as well as prohibition on the State officials to recognize same sex marriages or civil unions performed in other states was passed.
- Michigan – The ban on same sex marriage was put on a ballot voting and was approved by 59% of the voters.
- Minnesota – Marriage among same sex couples is still prohibited.
- Mississippi – Marriage is a union between one man and one woman, as approved by the Legislature and its voters.
- Montana – Same sex marriage is banned and was approved by the voters through citizen’s initiative
- New Jersey – Although gay marriage is not allowed, a registry for domestic partners is provided to same sex couples and is given marriage-like benefits.
- North Carolina – Efforts to ban same sex marriage was introduced, however no action was taken yet by its lawmakers
- North Dakota – Same sex marriage is banned in the state.
- Ohio – Marriage among gay couples are likewise banned.
- Oklahoma – Marriage is defined as a union between man and woman and the state’s existing DOMA was strengthened.
- Oregon – There is a ban on gay marriage
- Rhode Island – Bills to adopt state DOMA laws were introduced but unfortunately failed.
- South Carolina – The bill to forbid recognition of same sex marriage and granting of marriage-like benefits passed the House but failed in the Senate floor.
- South Dakota – Bill was introduced to not recognize same sex marriage, however, it failed.
- Tennessee – A constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage passed the House and Senate
- Utah – The state’s constitution defines marriage as between a man and a woman as well as banning the recognition of any domestic partnership.
- Virginia – The state has no legal obligation to recognize marriage, civil union or domestic partnership between gay couples.
- Wisconsin – Same sex marriage and civil unions between same sex couples are banned in the state.
The debate on whether gay marriage should be legalized or not is still a long way to go. Let’s do hope that the US Supreme Court will consider all the rights afforded by the Constitution and apply such principles with just and fairness.