In , the U. Supreme Court ruled all state bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry nationwide. This timeline highlights the changes in state policies leading up to that ruling, starting in — when Utah became the first state to enact a Defense of Marriage Act DOMA. Several other states previously had approved statutes defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Hawaii voters approve constitutional language allowing their legislature to determine policy on same-sex marriage, effectively overturning a series of earlier court decisions that may have required the state to allow gay and lesbian couples to wed.
The legislature subsequently approves a measure banning same-sex marriage. The Vermont Supreme Court rules that same-sex couples are entitled to the same benefits and protections as married heterosexual couples.
The decision prompts the state to enact a law in allowing gay and lesbian couples to enter into civil unions. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rules that the state constitution gives gay and lesbian couples the right to marry, making the Bay State the first in the nation to allow same-sex marriage. Weddings begin in The Federal Marriage Amendment, which would add language to the U. Constitution banning same-sex marriage nationwide, is introduced in the U. House of Representatives. Those licenses ultimately are invalidated.
Voters in Arizona reject a constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage, marking the first time such a measure has been rejected by voters.
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoes legislation that would have legalized same-sex marriage in his state. Later in the year, however, California voters approve a constitutional amendment known as Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage. The Vermont legislature overrides Gov. A federal district court in Massachusetts rules that the part of the Defense of Marriage Act that prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signs a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, making the Empire State the sixth in the nation to allow gay and lesbian couples to wed. Voters in Maine, Maryland and Washington state approve laws legalizing same-sex marriage, becoming the first states to do so through popular votes.
The Supreme Court strikes down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, requiring the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages from the states where they are legal. Same-sex marriages begin again in California. Courts in New Jersey and New Mexico issue rulings that allow same-sex couples to wed.
A series of federal court decisions strike down same-sex marriage bans in several states, and the Supreme Court declines to review cases in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin, effectively requiring those states to allow gay and lesbian couples to wed. At the same time, however, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals becomes the first — and so far only — federal appeals court to uphold state gay marriage bans, a ruling that applies to Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. The decision also makes it likely that the Supreme Court will soon rule on the constitutionality of gay marriage bans.
On June 26, the U. Supreme Court rules all state bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional — thus allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry in all 50 states. Supreme Court settles the issue nationwide.
About Pew Research Center Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research.
Pew Research Center does not take policy positions. It is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts. California voters approve Proposition 22, which bans same-sex marriage in state law.
Voters in Arizona and Florida approve constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage. New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch signs a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. District of Columbia Mayor Adrian Fenty signs a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. A federal district court in California rules that Proposition 8 violates the U.
Voters in Minnesota reject a constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage. Voters in North Carolina approve a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. States where gay marriage is legal. States with constitutional bans on gay marriage. States with statutory bans on gay marriage. States where gay marriage is neither legal nor banned. Research Areas U.