Background and History: State legislatures, voters and more recently the courts have made sweeping changes over the past two decades in laws defining whether marriage is limited to relationships between a man and a woman or is extended to same-sex couples. The status of same-sex marriage remains in flux. All states have some court case pending on the topic. Five of those states’ cases were pending before the U.
The Supreme Court decided not to hear the cases, thereby allowing the decisions from the 4th, 7th and 10th U. Circuit Courts of Appeal to stand. That meant same-sex couples could marry in five more states—Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. The following day, the 9th U. Two days later, West Virginia’s attorney general stopped his defense of that state’s ban. Colorado’s attorney general said the 10th U. Circuit Court of Appeals decision invalidates that state’s ban.
In North Carolina, a federal judge ruled that state’s ban unconstitutional, applying the 4th U. There is also a federal appeals court ruling to uphold states’ ban on same-sex marriage. 6, 2014, a federal appeals court judge in the 6th U. Circuit upheld four states’ bans on same-sex marriage. The opinion upholds bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. The decision is the first by a federal appeals court to uphold the bans. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the four cases.
States that Allowed Same-Sex Marriage Prior to 2015 U. State Same-Sex Marriage Laws Prior to 2015 U. History The public national discussion around same-sex marriage first began in 1993 when the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that laws denying same-sex couples the right to marry violated state constitutional equal protection rights unless the state could show a “compelling reason” for such discrimination. Since that time, many states have taken actions to clearly define marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman and others have allowed same-sex couples to marry.
Before 1993, seven states had laws that defined marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman. Alaska, which adopted both a statute and the nation’s first constitutional provision prohibiting same-sex marriage. Starting in 2000, some states began recognizing same-sex couples’ relationships. In April 2000, Vermont approved landmark legislation to recognize civil unions between same-sex couples, granting them virtually all the benefits, protections and responsibilities that married couples have under Vermont law.
The Vermont legislation was a result of the state Supreme Court ruling in Baker v. 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that barring same-sex couples from civil marriage was unconstitutional. The Senate then asked the court for an advisory opinion on the constitutionality of a proposed law that would bar same-sex couples from civil marriage but would create civil unions as a parallel institution, with all the same benefits, protections, rights and responsibilities under law. In 2005, Connecticut became the second state to enact a state law providing civil unions to same-sex couples. In October 2006, the New Jersey Supreme Court ordered the legislature to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples or to establish a separate legal structure, such as civil unions, to give same-sex couples the same rights as opposite-sex marriage couples. The New Jersey legislature chose to create civil unions in 2007, which gave same-sex couples the same legal rights as married, opposite sex couples.