Marriage Equality USA

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Facts at a Glance

  • As of May 2014, marriage equality has been legalized in 19 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, and in 10 Indian/Native American tribal nations
    • Massachusetts (May 2004), California (June 2008 & June 2013), Connecticut (Nov. 2008), Iowa (April 2009), Vermont (Sept. 2009), New Hampshire (Jan. 2010), District of Columbia (March 2010), New York (June 2011), Washington (Dec. 2012), Maine (Dec. 2012), Maryland (Jan. 2013),  Delaware (July 2013), Rhode Island (Aug. 1, 2013), Minnesota (Aug. 2013), New Jersey (Oct. 2013), Hawaii (Dec. 2, 2013), New Mexico (Dec. 2013), Oregon (May 2014), Pennsylvania (May 2014), and Illinois (June 2014)
    • Coquille (OR 2008), Mashantucket Pequot (CT since at least 2011), Suquamish (WA 2011), the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation (WA), Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe (MN), Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians (MI), Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians (MI), and Santa Ysabel Tribe (CA 2013), Puyallup (WA 2014), and the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes were granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples by 2013, without any change to their marriage laws.
  • Per Lambda Legal, as of August 2014 there are currently 92 pending marriage equality lawsuits in 33 states (AL, AK, AZ, AR, CO, FL, GA, HI, ID, IN, KS, KY, LA, MI, MS, MO, NE, NV, NC, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, WV, WI, WY) and Puerto Rico.
  • On 26 June 2013 the United States Supreme Court ruled in Windsor v. United States that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional.
    • Marriage Equality USA maintains a current list of the impacts of the DOMA decision including on immigration, health care, social security and the military.
  • As of April 2014, 15 countries allow same-sex couples to marry:
    • The Netherlands (2000), Belgium (2003), Canada (2005), Spain (2005), South Africa (2006), Norway (2009), Sweden (2009), Argentina (2010), Iceland (2010), Portugal (2010), Denmark (2012), Uruguay (2013), New Zealand (2013), Brazil (2013), and France (2013). Same-sex marriage is legal in some jurisdictions of Mexico, the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales), and the United States.

Marriage offers legal benefits and responsibilities that protect families. Marriage also provides societal status and emotional benefits to the family unit. Here are just a fraction of the reasons why marriage matters to couples who choose/desire to marry, as well as other "facts at a glance" you may find useful:

  • Financial issues are complex and challenging, no matter the couple. When home ownership, kids and other assets are a part of the equation, planning for the present and the future is critical for greater security.
    • Per the GAO (U.S. Government Accounting Office), marriage offers 1,138 Federal benefits and responsibilities, not including hundreds more offered by every state.
    • Statistical economic research from the Williams Institute shows that states benefit economically from marriage equality.
    • Married couples are permitted to give an unlimited amount of gifts to each other without being taxed.
    • The law presumes that a married couple with both names on the title to their home owns the property as "tenants by the entirety."
    • Many married people are entitled to financial benefits relating to their spouses, such as disability, pension and social security benefits.
    • With marriage, a couple has the right to be treated as an economic unit and to file joint tax returns (and pay the marriage penalty), and obtain joint health, home and auto insurance policies.
  • A child who grows up with married parents benefits from the fact that his or her parents' relationship is recognized by law and receives legal protections.
    • Spouses are generally entitled to joint child custody and visitation should the marriage end in dissolution/divorce (and bear an obligation to pay child support).

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