states where gay marriage bans have been overturned, but where appeals are in progress
ARKANSAS – On May 9, 2014, Arkansas' gay marriage ban was ruled unconstitutional by Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza. Arkansas had previously banned gay marriage by both state law and voter-approved constitutional amendment. Some Arkansas counties began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on May 10, 2014, while other counties refused to issue licenses. Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel requested that the State Supreme Court put a stay on Judge Piazza's ruling, but the request was denied on May 14, 2014. The Supreme Court effectively halted gay marriages from taking place, however, by noting that while Judge Piazza's ruling had struck down both the constitutional amendment and the state law, it had not affected an additional state law prohibiting county clerks from issuing same-sex marriage licenses. 456 licenses had been issued in total. On May 15, 2014, Judge Piazza expanded his ruling to strike down the additional law and any other measures that made gay marriage illegal, but on May 16, 2014 the State Supreme Court suspended that ruling, halting all gay marriages within the state.
COLORADO – On July 9, 2014, Colorado District Court Judge C. Scott Crabtree struck down the state's gay marriage ban but immediately stayed his own ruling, pending appeal. Judge Crabtree stated that the ban violates the due process and equal protection guarantees in the US Constitution. One Colorado county clerk had already been issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples since June 25, 2014, following the US 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that found Utah's gay marriage ban unconstitutional (Colorado is in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals' jurisdiction). The Colorado attorney general's office filed a federal lawsuit to stop Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall from issuing the licenses, but on July 10, 2014, Boulder District Court Judge Andrew Hartman ruled that Hall could continue because the state's gay marriage ban was "hanging on by a thread." Within hours of Judge Hartman's ruling, Denver's county clerk joined Hall in issuing licenses to same-sex couples, but was ordered to stop eight days later by the Colorado Supreme Court. On July 29, the state Supreme Court ordered Boulder County to stop issuing licenses also.
FLORIDA – On July 17, 2014, Monroe County Circuit Judge Luis M. Garcia struck down Florida's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, stating that "it is our country's proud history to protect the rights of the individual, the rights of the unpopular and the rights of the powerless, even at the cost of offending the majority." The ruling applies only to Monroe County (location of the Florida Keys), and although Judge Garcia initially said marriage licenses could be issued beginning on July 22, 2014, an automatic stay was put on the decision when Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi filed notice that the state would appeal. On July 21, 2014, Judge Garcia denied a request by the plaintiffs that he lift the stay and allow the marriages to go ahead. On July 25, Miami-Dade County Circuit Court Judge Sarah Zabel ruled that the state's gay marriage ban is unconstitutional, stating that "It serves only to hurt, to discriminate, to deprive same-sex couples and their families of equal dignity, to label and treat them as second-class citizens, and to deem them unworthy of participation in one of the fundamental institutions of our society." Judge Zabel stayed her decision pending appeal. On Aug. 4, 2014, a third judge, Broward County Circuit Judge Dale C. Cohen, ruled Florida's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional because it "discriminates based on sexual orientation, which violates the equal protection clause." Judge Cohen stayed his ruling pending appeal. On Aug. 5, 2014, Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge Diana Lewis became the fourth Florida judge to strike down the ban, but her ruling only applied to the specific circumstances of the case and did not include an order to begin issuing marriage licenses. On Aug. 21, 2014, US District Judge Robert L. Hinkle ruled that the same-sex marriage ban violates the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution, stating: "When observers look back 50 years from now, the arguments supporting Florida's ban on same-sex marriage [will] seem an obvious pretext for discrimination." Judge Hinkle stayed his order, pending appeal.
IDAHO – On May 13, 2014, a federal judge struck down Idaho's ban on gay marriage, saying it violates the constitutional guarantee of equal protection under the law. US District Magistrate Candy Dale's ruling was set to go into effect on May 16, 2014, but the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary hold on Judge Dale's ruling on May 15, 2014.
INDIANA – On June 25, 2014, US District Judge Richard Young found that Indiana's same-sex marriage ban violates the equal protection clause in the US Constitution. Some Indiana counties began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples almost immediately, while others held off, waiting for further guidance. The state appealed Judge Young's decision to the US 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, which issued a stay on the ruling on June 27, 2014, leaving the status of several hundred marriages performed before the stay in limbo. On July 7, 2014, Mark G. Ahearn, General Counsel to Indiana Governor Mike Pence, confirmed that the state will not recognize marriages performed before the stay, with one exception. The state will comply with a ruling by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals that it recognize the out-of-state marriage of two plaintiffs in the case, Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney, because Quasney is battling stage four ovarian cancer. On Sep. 4, 2014, a three-judge panel of the US 7th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld Judge Young's decision, stating that objections to same-sex marriage raised by the state are "conjectural" and "totally implausible." The panel's ruling, which also applies to Wisconsin's gay marriage ban, is on hold pending further appeals.
KENTUCKY – On July 1, 2014, US District Judge John G. Heyburn II ruled that Kentucky's constitutional amendment banning gay marriage violates the equal protection clause in the US Constitution. Judge Heyburn stated that the ban serves "no conceivable legitimate purpose," but stayed his own decision, pending the state's appeal to the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals.
MICHIGAN – On Mar. 21, 2014, a federal judge ruled Michigan's gay marriage ban unconstitutional. US District Judge Bernard Friedman wrote that "Today's decision... affirms the enduring principle that regardless of whoever finds favor in the eyes of the most recent majority, the guarantee of equal protection must prevail." Around 300 same-sex couples received marriage licenses before the US 6th Court of Appeals issued a stay on the decision on Mar. 22, 2014, making same-sex marriage illegal again in Michigan, pending the appeal process. On Mar. 28, 2014, US Attorney General Eric Holder stated that the marriages performed prior to the stay being issued would be recognized by the federal government: "These families will be eligible for all relevant federal benefits on the same terms as other same-sex marriages."
OKLAHOMA – US District Judge Terence C. Kern struck down Oklahoma's gay marriage ban as unconstitutional on Jan. 14, 2014, stating that the ban is "an arbitrary, irrational exclusion of just one class of Oklahoma citizens from a governmental benefit" and that it is based on "moral disapproval." The judge stayed his decision pending an appeal to the US Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit. On July 18, 2014, a three-judge panel from the appellate court upheld the earlier ruling 2-1, with the majority agreeing that Utah's gay marriage ban is unconstitutional. The panel placed its ruling on hold pending a further appeal. The same panel overturned Utah's gay marriage ban on June 25, 2014.
TEXAS – On Feb. 26, 2014, a federal judge ruled Texas' gay marriage ban unconstitutional. Judge Orlando Garcia wrote "Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuges in our U.S. Constitution." He then stayed his own decision pending appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, leaving same-sex marriage illegal in Texas.
UTAH – Gay marriage became legal in Utah on Dec. 20, 2013, when US District Judge Robert Shelby ruled that the state's gay marriage ban was unconstitutional. More than 1,300 same-sex couples were married before the US Supreme Court put a stay on the decision 17 days later, pending the state's appeal to overturn the ruling. On June 25, 2014, a three judge panel of the US 10th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Judge Shelby's decision that the gay marriage ban was unconstitutional, but immediately stayed its own ruling pending further appeals by the state of Utah. On July 9, 2014, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes announced that he will next appeal directly to the US Supreme Court. In the meantime, the Supreme Court ruled on July 18, 2014 that Utah does not have to recognize the same-sex marriages that took place between Dec. 20, 2013 and Jan. 6, 2014 while the appeals process continues.
VIRGINIA – On Feb. 13, 2014, US District Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen ruled Virginia's gay marriage ban unconstitutional, stating that the United States has "arrived upon another moment in history when We the People becomes more inclusive, and our freedom more perfect." The judge stayed her decision pending appeal. On July 28, 2014, a three-judge panel of the US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Judge Wright Allen's decision by a two to one vote. The court has jurisdiction over Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. The ruling was put on hold for 21 days to allow the appeals process to proceed. A county clerk in northern Virginia requested that the ruling be further delayed, pending an appeal to the US Supreme Court, but on Aug. 13, 2014, the request was denied, potentially allowing same-sex marriages to begin across the state starting at 8:00 AM on Aug. 21, 2014. However, on Aug. 20, 2014, the US Supreme Court intervened by issuing a stay and putting same-sex marriage in Virginia on hold pending further appeals.
WISCONSIN – On June 6, 2014, US District Judge Barbara Crabb struck down Wisconsin's same-sex marriage ban as being unconstitutional. While some Wisconsin counties began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples immediately, others turned couples away, waiting for further guidance from courts or the state government before granting licenses. The state appealed Judge Crabb's decision to the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals, and Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen requested an emergency stay to prevent further marriages from taking place. On June 13, 2014, after more than 500 same-sex couples had applied for or had been granted marriage licenses, Judge Crabb ordered a temporary halt to same-sex marriages while the appeal process plays out. On Sep. 4, 2014, a three-judge panel of the US 7th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld Judge Crabb's decision, stating that objections to same-sex marriage raised by the state are "conjectural" and "totally implausible." The panel's ruling, which also applies to Indiana's gay marriage ban, is on hold pending further appeals.
Timeline of Same-Sex Marriage Bans and Legalizations by Effective Date of Laws
1. Curt Anderson, "Federal Judge Rules Florida Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional, but Delays Issuing of Licenses," ap.org, Aug. 21, 2014
2. Curt Anderson, "Judge Won't Lift Fla. Keys Gay Marriage Stay," ap.org, July 21, 2014
3. Curt Anderson, "Ruling Allows Same-Sex Marriages for Florida Keys," ap.org, July 17, 2014
4. Joseph Ax and Edith Honan, "New Jersey Judge Allows Same-Sex Marriage," Reuters, Sep. 27, 2013
5. David Bailey, "Minnesota Governor Signs Bill Legalizing Gay Marriage," Reuters, May 14, 2013
6. Robert Barnes, "Federal Judge Strikes Down Va. Ban on Gay Marriage," washingtonpost.com, Feb. 14, 2014
7. Eve Batey, "Farewell Prop 8: SF City Attorney Vows to Litigate Aggressively to Ensure Marriage Equality for California," www.sfappeal.com, June 26, 2013
8. Barb Berggoetz, "Indiana Won't Recognize Same-Sex Marriages Performed Last Month," indystar.com, July 9, 2014
9. Greg Botelho, "Same-Sex Marriages on Hold in Idaho, Given Go-Ahead in Arkansas," cnn.com, May 15, 2014
10. Greg Botelho and Bill Mears, "Texas Ban on Same-Sex Marriage Struck Down by Federal Judge," cnn.com, Feb. 27, 2014
11. Cindy Carcomo, "New Mexico Becomes Latest State to Legalize Gay Marriage," latimes.com, Dec. 19, 2013
12. Andrew DeMillo, "Arkansas High Court Suspends Gay Marriage Ruling," ap.org, May 16, 2014
13. Andrew DeMillo and Christiana Huynh, "Judge Strikes All Arkansas Bans on Gay Marriage," ap.org, May 15, 2014
14. Doug Denison, "Gay Marriage in Delaware to Become Legal July 1," www.delawareonline.com, May 7, 2013
15. Erik Eckholm, "Same-Sex Marriage Gains Cheer Gay Rights Advocates," www.nytimes.com, Nov. 7, 2012
16. Erik Eckholm, "Oklahoma’s Ban on Gay Marriage Is Unconstitutional, Judge Rules," www.nytimes.com, Jan. 14, 2014
17. Zachary Fagenson, "State Judge Strikes Down Florida's Gay Marriage Ban, Stays Ruling," reuters.com, July 25, 2014
19. Andrew M. Francis, Hugo M. Mialon, and Handoe Peng, "In Sickness and in Health: Same Sex Marriage Laws and Sexually Transmitted Infections, Appendix: Legal References and Notes," Emory Law and Economics Research Paper No 11-97, www.emory.edu (accessed Aug. 10, 2012)
20. Human Rights Campaign, "Marriage Center," www.hrc.org (accessed Aug. 10, 2012)