Countries, Territories and American Indian / Native American tribal nations
Marriage equality is currently legal in 24 nations and 38 territories around the world, as well as dozens of American Indian / Native American tribal nations. For a complete and updated list please click here.
U.S. States, Territories and Special Districts
50 of 50 states HAVE marriage (100% of all states)
- Massachusetts (May 2004)
- California (June 2008 & June 2013)
- Connecticut (Nov. 2008)
- Iowa (April 2009)
- Vermont (Sept. 2009)
- New Hampshire (Jan. 2010)
- New York (June 2011)
- Washington (Dec. 2012)
- Maine (Dec. 2012)
- Maryland (Jan. 2013)
- Delaware (July 2013)
- Rhode Island (Aug. 2013)
- Minnesota (Aug. 2013)
- New Jersey (Oct. 2013)
- Hawai'i (Dec. 2013)
- New Mexico (Dec. 2013)
- Oregon (May 2014)
- Pennsylvania (May 2014)
- Illinois (June 2014)
- Utah (October 2014)
- Oklahoma (October 2014)
- Virginia (October 2014)
- Indiana (October 2014)
- Wisconsin (October 2014)
- North Carolina (October 2014)
- Nevada (October 2014)
- Colorado (October 2014)
- West Virginia (October 2014)
- Idaho (October 2014)
- Arizona (October 2014)
- Alaska (October 2014)
- Wyoming (October 2014)
- Kansas (November 2014)
- Montana (November 2014)
- South Carolina (November 2014)
- Florida (January 2015)
- Alabama (February 2015)
- Arkansas (June 2015)
- Georgia (June 2015)
- Kentucky (June 2015)
- Louisiana (June 2015)
- Michigan (June 2015)
- Mississippi (June 2015)
- Missouri (June 2015)
- Nebraska (June 2015)
- North Dakota (June 2015)
- Ohio (June 2015)
- South Dakota (June 2015)
- Tennessee (June 2015)
- Texas (June 2015)
5 of 6 U.S. special districts and territories HAVE marriage
- District of Columbia (December 2010)
- Four out of five U.S. territories have marriage
- Guam (June 2015)
- Northern Marianas Islands (June 2015)
- U.S. Virgin Islands (June 2015)
- Puerto Rico (July 2015)
- The only U.S. territory without marriage equality is American Samoa.
Windsor v. United States
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.
Obergefell v. Hodges
On 16 January 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) announced that they granted cert to (agreed to review during their 2015 term) four marriage equality cases from the states in the 6th Circuit. The cases are Michigan's DeBoer, Ohio's Obergefell, Kentucky's Love/Bourke, and Tennessee's Tanco. Oral arguments took place on 28 April 2015.
- On 26 June 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court issued their ruling in favor of marriage equality. The 5-4 majority opinion was authored by Justice Kennedy.
- Per @SCOTUSblog, the Court's opinion relies on the dual rationales of fundamental rights AND equal protection and seems to go out of its way not to state a standard of scrutiny. "...the majority opinion rejects the claim that marriage is about procreation, even while saying that protecting children of same-sex couples supports the Court's ruling: "This is not to say that the right to marry is less meaningful for those who do not or cannot have children. An ability, desire, or promise to procreate is not and has not been a prerequisite for a valid marriage in any State." See our Love Won At SCOTUS page for further details and to read the ruling.
An Overview of Studies, Facts and Figures
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:
Studies have found that married people live longer, have higher incomes, engage less in risky behaviors, eat healthier, and have fewer psychological problems than unmarried people.
- Research shows that unmarried couples have lower levels of happiness and well-being than married couples.
- Studies show that denying same-sex couples the right to marry has a negative impact on their mental health - i.e., I Do, But I can't: The impact of marriage denial on the mental health of sexual citizenship of Lesbians and Gay Men in the United States (Herdt, G. & Kertzner, R. 2006).
- 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).
- The Williams Institute also provides a report of same-sex couples and their families from the 2010 census including how many there are, where they live, and how many are raising children.
New Studies Show More Female Same-Sex Couples Marry than Male and Lower Divorce Rates Overall
Data also shows large increase in same-sex marriages after Windsor decision in June 2013, even in states that already had marriage equality - Reports from the Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law, Released 10 December 2014
- Same-Sex Couples Settle Down More Often in States That Welcome Them - Per Nate Silver, May 2014
- Divorce Rates Higher in States with Gay Marriage Bans - Per Nate Silver, January 2010
- 700,000 Americans Are Married to a Same-sex Spouse; Those Couples More Likely to Raise Adopted, Foster Children and Show Greater Family Stability - Williams Institute Report released 5 March 2015