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Where gay marriage stands in the states that didn’t have it

Emotional scenes from same-sex weddings around the U.S. on Friday

Rodrigo Zamora (L) and Ashby Hardesty pose together for friends at the New York City clerks office after their wedding in Manhattan in New York June 26, 2015. The Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the U.S. Constitution provides same-sex couples the right to marry, handing a historic triumph to the American gay rights movement. Hardesty and Zamora waited until the Supreme Court decision before getting married to each other. They were engaged two years ago at the Stonewall Inn the last time the U.S. Supreme Court decided on same sex marriage. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters)

Within hours of the Supreme Court’s decision on Friday, gay couples were exercising what the justices said is their constitutional right to marry in states that have long denied them. Of the 14 states where such unions were illegal prior to the ruling, all but two have allowed marriages to proceed.

In Louisiana, the attorney general’s office said in a statement that it found “nothing in today’s decision that makes the Court’s order effective immediately.” There have not yet been reports that same-sex marriage licenses have been granted anywhere in the state. Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood instructed residents that the Supreme Court decision doesn’t yet apply to the state because Mississippi is entangled in a legal order from an ongoing gay marriage lawsuit.

State leaders have responded to the Court’s ruling with varying levels of enthusiasm. Some ordered counties to immediately begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses. Others have urged delay. The decision, often, has come down to local officials.

On Thursday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton also asked local governments to wait before granting same-sex marriage applications. Despite his plea, several Texas counties issued same-sex marriage licenses Friday.

Here’s where gay marriage stands in each of those 14 states:

Alabama: Marriages have begun

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange expressed disappointment over and resignation to the Supreme Court’s ruling Friday.

“While I do not agree with the opinion of the majority of the justices in their decision, I acknowledge that the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling is now the law of the land,” he said in a statement. “Short of the passage of a Constitutional Amendment protecting marriage as between one man and one woman, the U.S. Supreme Court has the final say.”

But while the marriage fight may be over, he added, “I expect the focus will now turn to the exercise of one’s religious liberty,” alluding to the fight over individual religious rights when it comes to providing services to same-sex couples.

Arkansas: Marriages have begun

“While my personal convictions will not change, as Governor I recognize the responsibility of the state to follow the direction of the U.S. Supreme Court,” Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in a statement. “As a result of this ruling, I will direct all state agencies to comply with the decision.”

Like those of so many other conservatives, Hutchinson’s comments included a nod to religious liberty:

“It is also important to note that the Supreme Court decision is directed at the states to allow and recognize marriage between two people of the same sex. It is not a directive for churches or pastors to recognize same-sex marriage. The decision for churches, pastors and individuals is a choice that should be left to the convictions of conscience.”

Georgia: Marriages have begun

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal issued a terse statement Friday promising to comply with the ruling:

“While I believe that this issue should be decided by the states and by legislatures, not the federal judiciary, I also believe in the rule of law. The state of Georgia is subject to the laws of the United States, and we will follow them.”

Kentucky: Marriages have begun

“All Cabinets of the executive branch have been directed to immediately alter any policies necessary to implement the decision from the Supreme Court,” Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) said in a statement Friday. “Effective today, Kentucky will recognize as valid all same-sex marriages performed in other states and in Kentucky.”

Louisiana: Waiting for further instruction

Louisiana remains one of two states where same-sex marriages are still on hold.

In a statement, Attorney General Buddy Caldwell’s office noted that it “found nothing in today’s decision that makes the Court’s order effective immediately” and concluded that there is not yet a legal requirement to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

“The Attorney General’s Office will be watching for the Court to issue a mandate or order making today’s decision final and effective and will issue a statement when that occurs,” the statement reads.

Caldwell said he was “extremely disappointed” in the decision, adding that “it fails to respect traditional marriage as defined by Louisiana voters, and is yet another example of the federal government intrusion into what should be a state issue.”

Michigan: Marriages have begun

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder issued a short statement shortly after Friday’s ruling announcing his intention to comply with it.

“Recognizing that there are strong feelings on both sides, it is important for everyone to respect the judicial process and the decision today from the U.S. Supreme Court,” he said. “Our state government will follow the law and our state agencies will make the necessary changes to ensure that we will fully comply.”

Mississippi: Waiting for a legal update

Couples have applied for marriage licenses in Mississippi, though marriages there are still on hold.

“The Office of the Attorney General is certainly not standing in the way of the Supreme Court’s decision,” Attorney General Jim Hood said in a statement. “We simply want to inform our citizens of the procedure that takes effect after this ruling. The Supreme Court decision is the law of the land and we do not dispute that. When the 5th Circuit lifts the stay of Judge Reeves’ order, it will become effective in Mississippi and circuit clerks will be required to issue same-sex marriage licenses.”

Despite the hold, at least one couple has received a license, possibly by mistake.

Missouri: Marriages have begun

Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon called the ruling “a major victory” and promised compliance.

“Today’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges is a major victory for equality and an important step toward a fairer and more just society for all Americans,” he said in a statement.  “No one should be discriminated against because of who they are or who they love.  In the coming days, I will be taking all necessary and appropriate actions to ensure this decision is implemented throughout the state of Missouri.”

Nebraska: Marriages have begun

Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) wasn’t happy with the court’s decision, but promised his state would follow it.

“While 70% of Nebraskans approved our amendment to our state constitution that defined marriage as only between a man and a woman, the highest court in the land has ruled states cannot place limits on marriage between same-sex couples,” he said on Twitter. “We will follow the law and respect the ruling outlined by the court.”

Couples are getting married right now in Omaha, according to WOWT-NBC reporter Erin Murray. Douglas County has already modified its marriage application form to be gender neutral and has been issuing marriage licenses this morning.

North Dakota: Marriages have begun

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple (R) promised compliance, but with a nod to states rights, describing the decision as a “federal mandate.”

“The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex marriage is legal throughout the nation and we will abide by this federal mandate,” he said in a statement.

While couples were slow to apply—officials from the state’s two largest counties reported no licenses issued as of 2:30 p.m.—the Associated Press reported that at least one county had issued such a license later in the afternoon.

Ohio: Marriages have begun

Same-sex marriages have begun in Ohio, which was involved in the case before the Court.

“Ohio’s involvement in this case has been to defend the voter-passed amendment,” Attorney General Mike DeWine said in a statement. “While Ohio argued that the Supreme Court should let this issue ultimately be decided by the voters, the Court has now made its decision.”

South Dakota: Marriages have begun

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley expressed frustration with what he described as federal overreach, but vowed to comply with the ruling.

“It has always been my position that the citizens of our state should define marriage, and not the federal government,” he said. “Five members of the U.S. Supreme Court have now determined neither the States nor our citizens have the right or the ability to define marriage. Because we are a Nation of laws the State will be required to follow the Court’s order that every State must recognize and license same-sex marriage.”

The AP reports that at least one county has already issued a same-sex marriage license.

Tennessee: Marriages have begun

Same-sex couples in the U.S. get marriage licenses after a Supreme Court ruling provides them the right to marry. (Video: Reuters)

The office of Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery III confirmed that it instructed county clerks on Friday morning to begin issuing marriage licenses.

According to the Tennessean, the state also issued a software update at noon changing marriage licenses to read “Applicant 1” and “Applicant 2.” The newspaper reports that Lauren Mesnard and Nikki VonHaeger were the first couple to get married in Nashville, at 12:54 p.m.

Texas: Marriages have begun

Though Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton had instructed counties to wait for guidance to proceed, many began issuing marriage licenses anyway, according to the Texas Tribune:

“Some offices quickly began issuing licenses, including those in Travis, Tarrant, Bexar, Dallas, El Paso, Hidalgo and Midland counties. Other counties — including Harris, Potter and Bastrop — were waiting to hear from State Attorney General Ken Paxton on how to proceed.”

Paxton had not yet issued the promised guidance as of publication of this post.

PostTV captured the scene at the Supreme Court as the justices ruled, 5 to 4, that bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. (Video: Jorge Ribas/The Washington Post)