The Shifting Landscape of State Same-Sex Marriage Laws

The Supreme Court invalidated the federal Defense of Marriage Act, leaving states to set same-sex marriage laws. Since then, lower courts have struck down same-sex marriage bans in several states.

Updated Aug. 26, 2014

State same-sex marriage statutes, judicial decisions or constitutional provisions

Bans same-sex marriage (19 states)

Bans same-sex marriage, allows civil unions
or comprehensive domestic partnerships (1)

Allows same-sex marriage (19 plus D.C.)

A court struck down the state's
same-sex marriage ban; the ban remains
in place while the state appeals (11)

Year that current marriage
status was established2

Proponents of same-sex marriage have been victorious in many states in recent years.

A Nov. 2003 Massachusetts Supreme Court decision found that prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying was unconstitutional. In 2004, voters in several states passed constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage.

Margin of victory for statewide votes on same-sex marriage

Voted to ban

Voted against ban

Voted to legalize

Maine, Maryland and Washington were the first states where voters chose to legalize same-sex marriage.

1 — In February, a San Antonio,Texas, federal court judge issued a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of that state's same-sex marriage ban, finding its challengers are likely to succeed on the merits of their claim. The judge, Orlando Garcia, then delayed the effectiveness of his decision while the state pursues an appeal.

2 — For states with constitutional bans on same-sex marriage, previous laws are not shown. For states appealing court decisions that struck down same-sex marriage bans, the year the ban was established is shown. For states that ban same-sex marriage and allow civil unions or domestic partnerships, the most recent year each provision passed is shown.

Sources: Bloomberg reporting, National Conferences of State Legislatures, Human Rights Campaign, state legislature and Secretary of State websites