Same-sex marriage

May 27, 2009

Updated as is warranted (8-4-10)

CA judge rules Prop 8 unconstitutional
States allowing same-sex marriage/civil unions

Same-sex marriage:

  • MASSACHUSETTS: 5/17/04: (1st state) to legalize same-sex marriage. 6/14/07: Legislature upheld the Supreme Court ruling — legal until at least 2012. 7/15/08: Out-of-state couples can marry.
  • CONNECTICUT: Supreme Court: 10/10/08: 4 to 3 decision, overturned the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. (Became the 3rd state)
  • IOWA: 8/31/07: Iowa District Court ruled same-sex couples could marry. 4/3/09: Iowa Supreme Court unanimously upheld ruling, making Iowa the (4rd state) to allow same-sex marriages.
  • VERMONT: 2/20/99: (14th state) to grant civil unions under then Gov Howard Dean. Went into effect July 1, 2000. 4/7/09: House 100 – 49 and Senate 25 – 5 overrode Gov. Jim Douglas’s veto making it the (4th state) to allow same-sex marriage and the (1st state) to allow gay marriage through legislative action. Goes into effect September 1, 2009.
  • NEW HAMPSHIRE: 4/29/09: Senate 13–11 and 3/26 House 186-179 needed amendment; 5/6/09 Senate 13-11 and House 178-167 let religions decide for themselves whether to recognize same-sex marriage; 5/20/09 Senate 14-10 and House 188-186 sent it back to committee; 6/3/09: Senate 14-10 and House 198-176 PASSED. Goes into effect Jan. 1, 2010. (6th state – Maine was the 5th but it was overturned by referendum)
  • DC: 4/7/09: The 13-member D.C. Council moved to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples married in states where same-sex marriage is legal. 12/1/09 Council voted 11-2 to approve the “Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act of 2009. 12/15/09 DC Council passed the bill (11-2) allowing same-sex marriage. 12/18/09 Mayor Adrian Fenty signs it. Now it passes to Congress, which has the final say. 1/14/10 Judge Judith N. Macaluso ruling: referendum violates Human Rights Act; previous court rulings banning same-sex marriage are no longer valid. Appeal filed. Congress declined to act. Chief Justice Roberts also declined, deferring to the DC courts. 3/3/10 same-sex marriage officially legal. 3/9/10 first marriage to take place.

CT, VT, MA and IA: federal law bars recognition of same-sex marriages across state lines.

NY, CA, RI, NM and Washington, DC recognize marriages by same-sex couples legally performed elsewhere. And for the time being, so will Maryland.

Same-sex civil unions:

  • NEW YORK: 5/13/09: The State Assembly passed a bill 82 – 52 in favor of same-sex marriage. Pending Senate and Gov Paterson approval. 12/2/09 Senate voted 38-24 AGAINST.
  • NEW JERSEY: 12/21/96 Gov Corzine signs bill legalizing  civil unions in New Jersey. Went into effect 2/19/07. 12/7/09 Sen Judiciary Committee voted 7-6 in favor of Marriage Equality Act (S1967/A2978). 12/11/09 Senate postpones vote.

Domestic Partnerships

  • OREGON: 5/9/07 Governor Ted Kulongoski signed the domestic partnership, which grants nearly all of the state-recognized rights of marriage to same-sex couples Went into effect 2/1/08. No need for a ceremony. Recognized only in Oregon.
  • WASHINGTON: Domestic partnership 11 rights of marriage act  (over 62 y/o) passed 4/10/07, signed by Governor Christine Gregoire 4/21//07, went into effect on 7/22/07. 2008 expanded to 160 rights: passed 3/4/08, signed 3/12/-08, took effect 6/12/08. 2009 expanded to “all areas, except marriage” signed 5/18/09.
  • CALIFORNIA: 5/15/08: California Supreme Court overturns the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. 6/16/08: Same-sex marriage legal. 11/5/08: Proposition 8 takes effect in California, banning new same-sex marriage licenses from being issued. 5/26/9: California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8, and upheld the marriage rights of 18,000 same-sex couples.
  • WISCONSIN: 6/13/09 Passed in the State Assembly (50-48). 6/17/09 passed in the Senate (17-16). 6/29/09 signed into law by Gov Jim Doyle. 8/3/09 Went into effect.
  • MAINE: 5/6/09: House passed 89 – 57  and Senate 21 – 13. Gov. John Baldacci signed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage (was the 5th state). However on 11/3/09 it was defeated by referendum 300,848 to 267,828. The domestic partnership law remains in effect.

Recognizes same-sex marriages: DC, MD.

In the process:

  • HAWAII: 1997 Reciprocal beneficiary registration confers basic rights for any adults who are prohibited by state law from marrying:  inheritance rights, workers compensation, the right to sue for wrongful death, health insurance and pension benefits for state employees, hospital visitation, and healthcare decision-making.
  • ILLINOIS: 5/26/09 House approves measure to allow same-sex civil unions. Missed Nov 30 deadline – new deadline April 30, 2010.
  • RHODE ISLAND : 1/29/09 bill introduced to legalize same-sex marriage at the same time as one prohibiting same-sex marriage and one creating Reciprocal Beneficiary Agreement.

31 states have voted down same-sex legislation by referendum.

Excellent resource: Lambda Legal

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