Last updated on: 2/16/2016 | Author:

State-by-State History of Banning and Legalizing Gay Marriage

States Have Legal Same-Sex Marriage
gay marriage icons legal
On June 26, 2015, the US Supreme Court ruled that the US Constitution guarantees the right for same-sex couples to marry in all 50 US states. Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy stated in the majority opinion: “The Court, in this decision, holds same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry in all States.”
Timeline of Same-Sex Marriage Bans and Legalizations by Effective Date of Laws


Gay marriage 50 states legal 0 states banned

The information below reflects the status of gay marriage nationwide on June 25, 2015, the day prior to the Supreme Court’s decision. 

States with Legal Same-Sex Marriage Prior to the June 26, 2015 Supreme Court Ruling
gay marriage icons legal
by Court Decision
Alabama* (Feb. 9, 2015), Alaska (Oct. 17, 2014), Arizona (Oct. 17, 2014), California (June 28, 2013), Colorado (Oct. 7, 2014), Connecticut (Nov. 12, 2008), Florida (Jan. 6, 2015), Idaho (Oct. 13, 2014), Indiana (Oct. 6, 2014), Iowa (Apr. 24, 2009), Kansas (Nov. 12, 2014), Massachusetts (May 17, 2004), Montana (Nov. 19, 2014), Nevada (Oct. 9, 2014), New Jersey (Oct. 21, 2013), New Mexico (Dec. 19, 2013), North Carolina (Oct. 10, 2014), Oklahoma (Oct. 6, 2014), Oregon (May 19, 2014), Pennsylvania (May 20, 2014), South Carolina (Nov. 20, 2014), Utah (Oct. 6, 2014), Virginia (Oct. 6, 2014), West Virginia (Oct. 9, 2014), Wisconsin (Oct. 6, 2014), Wyoming (Oct. 21, 2014


by State Legislature
Delaware (July 1, 2013), Hawaii (Dec. 2, 2013), Illinois (June 1, 2014), Minnesota (Aug. 1, 2013), New Hampshire (Jan. 1, 2010), New York (July 24, 2011), Rhode Island (Aug. 1, 2013), Vermont (Sep. 1, 2009)


by Popular Vote
Maine (Dec. 29, 2012), Maryland (Jan. 1, 2013), Washington (Dec. 9, 2012)     

Washington, DC legalized gay marriage on Mar. 3, 2010, the date marriage licenses became available to same-sex couples.


*On Mar. 3, 2015, the Alabama Supreme Court ordered the state’s 68 probate judges to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, despite an earlier federal court ruling that struck down the state’s gay marriage ban, and the US Supreme Court’s decision to allow same-sex marriages to proceed in the state. The state Supreme Court gave probate judges five days to respond if they do not feel they have to follow the order.
States with Same-Sex Marriage Bans Prior to the June 26, 2015 Supreme Court Ruling
gay marriage icons illegal
by Constitutional Amendment and State Law
Arkansas (2004, 1997), Georgia (2004, 1996), Kentucky (2004, 1998), Louisiana (2004, 1999), Michigan (2004, 1996), Mississippi (2004, 1997), Missouri (2004, 1996), North Dakota (2004, 1997), Ohio (2004, 2004), South Dakota (2006, 1996), Tennessee (2006, 1996), Texas (2005, 1997)


by Constitutional Amendment only
Nebraska (2000)



states where gay marriage bans had been overturned, but where appeals were in progress prior to the June 26, 2015 Supreme Court ruling     

  1. 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. On Nov. 25, 2014, US District Judge Kristine Baker ruled the state’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional, but stayed her own ruling, pending expected appeals.
  2. 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. On Nov. 6, 2014, a three-judge panel of the Sixth US Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Judge Heyburn’s ruling 2-1, thus upholding the state’s gay marriage ban. An appeal was then filed with the US Supreme Court. On Apr. 16, 2015, Franklin County Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate ruled the state’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional, but put his ruling on hold, pending the Supreme Court’s decision.
  3. 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.” On Nov. 6, 2014, a three-judge panel of the Sixth US Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Judge Friedman’s ruling 2-1, thus upholding the state’s gay marriage ban. An appeal to either the full bench of the court or directly to the US Supreme Court is expected.
  4. MISSISSIPPI – On Nov. 25, 2014, US District Judge Carlton Reeves ruled the state’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional, but stayed his own ruling, pending expected appeals.
  5. MISSOURI – On Nov. 5, 2014, St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison ruled that the state’s gay marriage ban is unconstitutional. The ruling only applies to St. Louis, where same-sex couples began applying for marriage licenses shortly after the decision. On Nov. 7, 2014, US District Judge Ortrie D. Smith also ruled that the state’s ban is unconstitutional, but stayed his own ruling. Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced that he will appeal the ruling to the Eighth US Circuit Court of Appeals.
  6. NEBRASKA – On Mar. 2, 2015, US District Judge Joseph Bataillon declared Nebraska’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional, describing it as an “unabashedly gender-specific infringement of the equal rights of its citizens.” Same-sex marriages are set to go ahead on Mar. 9, 2015 unless the state’s appeal to the Eighth US Circuit Court of Appeals is successful.
  7. SOUTH DAKOTA – On Jan. 12, 2015, US District Judge Karen Schreier ruled South Dakota’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional, stating that “Plaintiffs have a fundamental right to marry… South Dakota law deprives them of that right solely because they are same-sex couples and without sufficient justification.” The ruling was put on hold pending the state’s appeal to the 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals.
  8. 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 an appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, leaving same-sex marriage illegal in Texas. On Feb. 17, 2015, Travis County Probate Judge Guy Herman also ruled the ban unconstitutional, but did not order county clerks to begin issuing licenses to same-sex couples. On Feb. 19, 2015, two Austin women were married after state District Judge David Wahlberg ordered an exception be made to Texas’ gay marriage ban because one of the women had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer.




  1. Associated Press, “Appeals Court Halts Gay Marriages in Alaska,”, Oct. 15, 2014
  2. Associated Press, “Federal Judge Strikes Down SC Gay Marriage Ban,”, Nov. 12, 2014
  3. Associated Press, “Judge Rules SD Same-Sex Marriage Ban Unconstitutional,”, Jan. 12, 2015
  4. Associated Press, “Justice Kennedy Blocks Gay Marriage Ruling for Idaho, Nevada,”, Oct. 8, 2014
  5. Associated Press, “Kentucky Judge Rejects State’s Gay Marriage Ban,”, Apr. 16, 2015
  6. Associated Press, “‘We’re Walking on Clouds’: Gay Marriages Begin in Nevada,”, Oct. 9, 2014
  7. Saeed Ahmed, “Judge Overturns Alaska’s Same-Sex Marriage Ban That Dates to 1998,”, Oct. 13, 2014
  8. Curt Anderson, “Federal Judge Rules Florida Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional, but Delays Issuing of Licenses,”, Aug. 21, 2014
  9. Curt Anderson, “Judge Won’t Lift Fla. Keys Gay Marriage Stay,”, July 21, 2014
  10. Curt Anderson, “Ruling Allows Same-Sex Marriages for Florida Keys,”, July 17, 2014
  11. Joseph Ax and Edith Honan, “New Jersey Judge Allows Same-Sex Marriage,”, Sep. 27, 2013
  12. David Bailey, “Minnesota Governor Signs Bill Legalizing Gay Marriage,”, May 14, 2013
  13. David Bailey and Kevin Murphy, “Kansas Ban on Same-Sex Marriage Unconstitutional: Judge,”, Nov. 4, 2014
  14. Robert Barnes, “Federal Judge Strikes Down Va. Ban on Gay Marriage,”, Feb. 14, 2014
  15. Steve Barnes and Emily Le Coz, “U.S. Judges Overturn Gay Marriage Bans in Arkansas, Mississippi,”, Nov. 26, 2014
  16. Eve Batey, “Farewell Prop 8: SF City Attorney Vows to Litigate Aggressively to Ensure Marriage Equality for California,”, June 26, 2013
  17. Barb Berggoetz, “Indiana Won’t Recognize Same-Sex Marriages Performed Last Month,”, July 9, 2014
  18. Greg Botelho, “Same-Sex Marriages on Hold in Idaho, Given Go-Ahead in Arkansas,”, May 15, 2014
  19. Greg Botelho and Bill Mears, “Texas Ban on Same-Sex Marriage Struck Down by Federal Judge,”, Feb. 27, 2014
  20. Cable News Network (CNN), “Same-Sex Marriage in the United States,”, Oct. 14, 2014
  21. Cable News Network (CNN) staff, “Federal Judge Overturns Montana’s Ban on Same-Sex marriage,”, Nov. 19, 2014
  22. Cindy Carcomo, “New Mexico Becomes Latest State to Legalize Gay Marriage,”, Dec. 19, 2013
  23. Bill Chappell, “Alabama Courts Issue First Marriage Licenses to Same-Sex Couples,”, Feb. 9, 2015
  24. Bill Chappell, “Supreme Court Declares Same-Sex Marriage Legal in All 50 States,”, June 26, 2015
  25. Andrew DeMillo, “Arkansas High Court Suspends Gay Marriage Ruling,”, May 16, 2014
  26. Andrew DeMillo and Christiana Huynh, “Judge Strikes All Arkansas Bans on Gay Marriage,”, May 15, 2014
  27. Doug Denison, “Gay Marriage in Delaware to Become Legal July 1,”, May 7, 2013
  28. Lyle Denniston, “Same-Sex Marriage May Go Ahead in Kansas,”, Nov. 12, 2014
  29. Lyle Denniston, “Sixth Circuit: Now, a Split on Same-Sex Marriage,”, Nov. 6, 2014
  30. Erik Eckholm, “Same-Sex Marriage Gains Cheer Gay Rights Advocates,”, Nov. 7, 2012
  31. Erik Eckholm, “Oklahoma’s Ban on Gay Marriage Is Unconstitutional, Judge Rules,”, Jan. 14, 2014
  32. Zachary Fagenson, “State Judge Strikes Down Florida’s Gay Marriage Ban, Stays Ruling,”, July 25, 2014
  33. Zack Ford, “Federal Judge Orders Indiana to Recognize Terminally Ill Woman’s Same-Sex Marriage,”, Apr. 10, 2014
  34. 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, (accessed Aug. 10, 2012)
  35. Human Rights Campaign, “Marriage Center,” (accessed Aug. 10, 2012)
  36. Lawrence Hurley, “Supreme Court Allows Gay Marriage to Proceed in South Carolina,”, Nov. 20, 2014
  37. Brendan Kirby, “Federal Appeals Court Denies Alabama’s Bid to Extend Delay on Same-Sex Marriages,”, Feb. 3, 2015
  38. Rachel La Corte, “Washington Voters Approve Gay Marriage,” Associated Press, Nov. 9, 2012
  39. Lambda Legal, “In Your State,” (accessed Aug. 10, 2012)
  40. William P. LaPiana, “Domestic Partnership Chart,” (accessed Aug. 10, 2012)
  41. Miranda Leitsinger, “Same-Sex Marriage on Hold Temporarily in Alabama: Judge,”, Jan. 25, 2015
  42. Chuck Lindell, “Travis County Clerk Issues First Legal Gay Marriage License in Texas,” Austin American-Statesman website, Feb. 19, 2015
  43. Tom LoBianco, “Court Puts Indiana Gay Marriage Ruling on Hold,”, June 27, 2014
  44. Marriage Law Foundation, “Marriage Statutes,” (accessed Aug. 10, 2012)
  45. Bob Moen, Associated Press, “Wyoming Becomes Latest to Legalize Gay Marriage,”, Oct. 21, 2014
  46. Michael Muskal and Maura Dolan, “As Colorado Issues Gay Marriage Licenses, 9th Circuit Joins Chorus,”, Oct. 7, 2014
  47. National Conference of State Legislatures, “Child Support and Family Law,” (accessed Aug. 10, 2012)
  48. Scott Neuman, “Federal Court Rules Against Missouri’s Gay Marriage Ban,”, Nov. 7, 2014
  49. Brendan O’Brien, “Gay Marriage on Hold in Wisconsin Pending Appeal,”, June 13, 2014
  50. Obergefell v. Hodges, majority decision written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, June 26, 2015
  51. Evan Perez and Tom Cohen, “Holder: Government to Recognize Michigan Gay Marriages,”, Mar. 28, 2014
  52. Adam Polaski, “Federal Judge Rules in Missouri, Paving Way for the Freedom to Marry in Show Me State,”, Nov. 7, 2014
  53. Adam Polaski, “St. Louis, Missouri to Begin Issuing Marriage Licenses after Victory in State Court,”, Nov. 5, 2014
  54. Lauren Raab, “Texas’ Same-Sex Marriage Ban Is Unconstitutional, County Judge Rules,”, Feb. 17, 2015
  55. Lauren Raab, “Third Judge Finds Florida’s Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional,”, Aug. 4, 2014
  56. Nicholas Riccardi, “Court Rules for Gay Marriage in Oklahoma Case,”, July 18, 2014
  57. Nicholas Riccardi, “Judge: Gay Couples Can Keep Marrying in Colorado,”, July 10, 2014
  58. Katharine Q. Seelye, “Rhode Island Joins States That Allow Gay Marriage,”, May 2, 2013
  59. Cynthia Sewell, “Otter May Continue Fight to Stop Gay Marriage,”, Oct. 13, 2014
  60. Maya Srikrishnan, “Denver Clerk Joins Boulder in Issuing Same-Sex Marriage Licenses,”, July 10, 2014
  61. Jordan Steffen, “Adams Judge Tosses Colorado Gay Marriage Ban but Stays Ruling,”, July 9, 2014
  62. Jordan Steffen, “Colorado Supreme Court, Suthers Clear Way for Same-Sex Licenses,”, Oct. 7, 2014
  63. Jordan Steffen and John Ingold, “Colorado Supreme Court Puts Halt to Boulder Gay Marriage Licenses,”, July 30, 2014
  64. Jason Stein and Patrick Marley, “Court Rules against Wisconsin’s, Indiana’s Gay Marriage Bans,” Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal-Sentinel, Sep. 4, 2014
  65. Letitia Stein, “Florida Same-Sex Marriage Ban Declared Unconstitutional in Fourth Ruling,”, Aug. 5, 2014
  66. Tribune Wire Reports, “Florida Becomes 36th State to Legalize Gay Marriage,”, Jan. 6, 2015
  67. USA Today, “Gay Marriage in Va. May Begin Next Week,”, Aug. 13, 2014
  68. Carson Vaughan, “U.S. Judge Rules Nebraska Same-Sex Marriage Ban Unconstitutional,”, Mar. 2, 2015
  69. Elizabeth Weise, “Federal Judge Allows Gay Marriages to Continue in Utah,”, Dec. 23, 2013
  70. Pete Williams, “Judge Strikes down Wyoming Gay Marriage Ban,”, Oct. 17, 2014
  71. Pete Williams and Tracy Connor, “Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down Utah’s Same-Sex Marriage Ban,”, June 25, 2014
  72. Reid Wilson, et al., “States Issue First Marriage Licenses after Supreme Court Declines Appeals,”, Oct. 9, 2014
  73. Michael Winter, “Utah to Appeal Gay Marriage Case to Supreme Court,”, July 9, 2014
  74. Richard Wolf, “Alaska, Arizona Become Newest Same-Sex Marriage States,”, Oct. 17, 2014
  75. Richard Wolf, “Appeals Panel Strikes Down Virginia Gay Marriage Ban,”, July 28, 2014
  76. Richard Wolf, “Supreme Court Blocks Same-Sex Marriages in Virginia,”, Aug. 20, 2014
  77. Richard Wolf, “Supreme Court Puts Utah Same-Sex Marriage on Hold,”, Jan. 6, 2014