Same-sex Marriage State-by-State: A Ten-Year Retrospective

[02.25.2014]

Tomorrow marks the release of PRRI’s new national survey, A Shifting Landscape: A Decade of Change in American Attitudes about Same-sex Marriage and LGBT Issues. As a precursor to announcing the findings, we bring you a state-by-state timeline that marks significant events in the United States during the past 10 years.

0214.LGBT .WEB COVER Same sex Marriage State by State: A Ten Year Retrospective

November 2003  – The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rules that barring same-sex marriage violates the state’s constitution and denies “the dignity and equality of all individuals.”

May 2004 - Massachusetts becomes the first state to legalize same-sex marriage.

August 2004 – Voters in Missouri approve a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

September 2004 – Voters in Louisiana approve a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

November 2004 – Voters in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Utah approve constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage.

April 2005 – Voters in Kansas approve a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

October 2005 – Connecticut legalizes civil unions.

November 2005Voters in Texas approve a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

 June 2006Voters in Alabama approve a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and civil unions.

November 2006 – Voters in Colorado, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin approve constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage.

December 2006 – New Jersey legalizes civil unions.

January 2008 – New Hampshire legalizes civil unions.

October 2008 – Connecticut becomes the second state to legalize same-sex marriage after the state Supreme Court rules that the state constitution guarantees gay and lesbian couples the right to marry.

November 2008 – California voters approve Proposition 8, a ban on same-sex marriage. Arizona and Florida approve the passage of measures that ban same-sex marriage.

April 2009 – Same-sex marriage becomes legal in Iowa when the state’s Supreme Court rejects a state law banning same-sex marriage.

  • Vermont becomes the first state to legalize gay marriage through the legislature when Governor Jim Douglas’s veto of a bill allowing same-sex marriage is overturned.

May 2009 – The governor of Maine legalizes same-sex marriage but voters shoot down the law at the November polls.

June 2009 – When Governor John Lynch signs legislation allowing same-sex marriage, New Hampshire becomes the fifth state to legalize same-sex marriage.

December 2009 – Same-sex marriage is legalized in the District of Columbia; Congress approves the law in March 2010.

June 2011 New York state legalizes same-sex marriage after the state legislature enacts a law approving same-sex marriage that is approved by Governor Cuomo.

February 2012 Washington legalizes same-sex marriage, becoming the seventh state to do so.

March 2012 – Maryland legalizes same-sex marriage.

December 2012 – By popular vote, Maine legalizes same-sex marriage.

May 2013 – In Rhode Island, Governor Lincoln Chaffee legalizes same-sex marriage after legislation passes in both houses of the state’s legislature.

  • Delaware legalizes same-sex marriage when Governor Jack Markell signs the Civil Marriage and Religious Freedom Act.
  • Minnesota legalizes same-sex marriage.

June 2013 – The Supreme Court of the United States finds that Proposition 8 has no legal standing to appeal the ruling; the Ninth Circuit judgment is vacated and the appeal is dismissed. Same-sex marriage is legal in California again.

  • The U.S. Supreme Court rules the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 is unconstitutional and interferes with states’ rights to define marriage.

September 2013 – New Jersey becomes the fourteenth state to legalize same-sex marriage.

November 2013 – Illinois and Hawaii become the fifteenth and sixteenth states respectively to legalize same-sex marriage.

December 2013 – New Mexico legalizes same-sex marriage.

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