Same-sex marriage in the United States: A status check

The New York Senate’s vote to legalize same-sex marriage means that the state will become the biggest to allow such unions.


People in the the New York Senate gallery react to the vote. (Mike Groll/AP)

I turned to the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Human Rights Campaign to get an update on the state of laws on same-sex marriage, civil unions and spousal rights.

Five states grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont and New Hampshire.

Rhode Island and New York, along with Maryland, recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.

Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois and New Jersey allow civil unions.

Other states provide some or all of the state-level spousal rights to same-sex couples: California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Maine and Wisconsin.

California, of course, is the complicated one: In 2008, voters approved Prop 8, which says that only marriages between a man and a woman are valid there. That was challenged by lawsuits, but the state Supreme Court rejected them. Then a federal judge overturned Prop 8 in a separate case, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit is considering that ruling. Same-sex couples that were married before Proposition 8 passed are still recognized as such, though new same-sex marriages aren’t permitted.

Terri Rupar is The Post's national digital projects editor.

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