It's been one year since the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Windsor. So what's the state of gay marriage in America today?
Since the Court's ruling last summer (on June 26, 2013), dozens of states have had their same-sex marriage bans challenged and even defeated in federal and state courts, with many state governments choosing not to defend their own laws.
Many courts that have struck down state gay marriage bans in the past year have cited Windsor as powerful precedent. Here's an overview of where the issue of gay marriage stands today:
Gay Marriage Is Now Legal in 20 States and Washington, D.C.
As of the time of this article's posting, there are 20 states (plus the District of Columbia) which allow same-sex couples to receive marriage licenses.
But these jurisdictions have followed different paths toward recognizing same-sex nuptials. These include:
- Court challenges. Nine states (California, Connecticut, Iowa, Indiana, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey) currently recognize gay marriage because of court challenges. Some of these challenges have gone as high as the U.S. Supreme Court, and many have been successful because of their home state's refusal to appeal the decision.
- Legalization by legislatures. Eight states (Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont) plus the District of Columbia have had laws passed by their legislatures legalizing same-sex marriage. Many New England states passed laws in the last few years not only allowing gay marriage but also converting civil unions to marriages.
- Popular vote. Unlike the popular referendums that established many gay marriage bans, voters in Maine, Maryland, and Washington state passed initiatives legislating marriage equality in their respective states. In December, one in six marriages in Washington state was a same-sex marriage.
So what's going on in the other states that don't allow for same-sex marriage?
Same-Sex Marriage Not Permitted in 30 States
There are, at the time of this writing, 30 states do not permit same-sex marriage. All of those bans, however, have been challeged in court.
The U.S. Supreme Court has not addressed the issue of gay marriage since Windsor, but by all accounts, it won't be long until the issue reaches the High Court once again.
- On one-year Windsor anniversary, 9th Circuit delivers best gay rights gift (Reuters)
- Texas' Same-Sex Marriage Ban Struck Down; Appeal Pending (FindLaw's Decided)
- Va. Atty. Gen. Vows to Fight Gay Marriage Ban (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- States That Allow Same-Sex Marriage (FindLaw)