Same-sex marriage in the United States expanded from one state in to all fifty states in through various state court rulings, state legislation, direct popular votes, and federal court rulings. Same-sex marriage is also referred to as gay marriage , while the political status in which the marriages of same-sex couples and the marriages of opposite-sex couples are recognized as equal by the law is referred to as marriage equality. The fifty states each have separate marriage laws , which must adhere to rulings by the Supreme Court of the United States that recognize marriage as a fundamental right that is guaranteed by both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution , as first established in the landmark civil rights case of Loving v. Civil rights campaigning in support of marriage without distinction as to sex or sexual orientation began in the s. Nelson saw the Supreme Court of the United States decline to become involved. Lewin that it was unconstitutional under the Constitution of Hawaii for the state to abridge marriage on the basis of sex. That ruling led to federal and state actions to explicitly abridge marriage on the basis of sex in order to prevent the marriages of same-sex couples from being recognized by law, the most prominent of which was the federal DOMA. Department of Public Health that it was unconstitutional under the Constitution of Massachusetts for the state to abridge marriage on the basis of sex. From through to , as the tide of public opinion continued to move towards support of same-sex marriage, various state court rulings, state legislation, direct popular votes referendums and initiatives , and federal court rulings established same-sex marriage in thirty-six of the fifty states. The first two decades of the 21st century saw same-sex marriage receive support from prominent figures in the civil rights movement , including Coretta Scott King , John Lewis , Julian Bond , and Mildred Loving.
Prior to their decision, same-sex marriage was already legal in 37 states and Washington DC, but was banned in the remaining Proponents of legal gay marriage contend that gay marriage bans are discriminatory and unconstitutional, and that same-sex couples should have access to all the benefits enjoyed by different-sex couples. Opponents contend that marriage has traditionally been defined as being between one man and one woman, and that marriage is primarily for procreation. Read more background…. Did You Know? On May 17, , the first legal gay marriage in the United States was performed in Cambridge, MA between Tanya McCloskey, a massage therapist, and Marcia Kadish, an employment manager at an engineering firm. The world's first legal gay marriage ceremony took place in the Netherlands on Apr.
Latest Development: The U. Supreme Court has ruled that states cannot ban same-sex marriage, thereby requiring all states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. 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. Before the U. Supreme Court ruling on Oct. Now, at least 37 states and D. The status of same-sex marriage remains in flux. All states have some court case pending on the topic. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court decided not to hear the cases, thereby allowing the decisions from the 4th, 7th and 10th U.
Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what's happening in the world as it unfolds. Photos: Same-sex marriage in the U. Carlos McKnight of Washington waves a flag in support of same-sex marriage outside the U. Supreme Court on June 26, The Supreme Court ruled that states cannot ban same-sex marriage, handing gay rights advocates their biggest victory yet. See photos from states that approved same-sex marriage before the nationwide ruling:. Hide Caption. Shante Wolfe, left, and Tori Sisson become the first same-sex couple to file their marriage license in Montgomery, Alabama, on February 9, However, seven months after the U.