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Marriage & Relationship Recognition Laws

States with the freedom to marry do not ban same-sex couples from entering into legal marriages. Some states also offer comprehensive relationship recognition, such as domestic partnerships or civil unions, to same- and opposite-sex couples. Laws allowing same-sex couples to marry can also benefit bisexual and transgender people in same-sex relationships.

United States Map
Marriage equality for same-sex couples (50 states + D.C.)
Comprehensive civil union or domestic partnership law (6 states + D.C.)
State has targeted religious exemption law (see note)
NOTE: Kansas permits faith-based organizations to deny services to married same-sex couples. North Carolina permits state officials to decline to marry couples of whose marriage they disapprove. For additional information, contact Freedom to Marry, Lambda Legal, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders or ACLU LGBT Rights Project.


Additionally, several Native American jurisdictions extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. These jurisdictions are federally recognized sovereign nations and therefore can create their own policies around same-sex partnerships. The following is a list of Native American nations that have legalized same-sex marriage followed by the year in which the ruling was made. Several nations passed laws to offer the freedom to marry, whereas others have issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples based on a reinterpretation of tribal codes. For more information please see: NativeOut
  • The Coquille Tribe in Oregon (2009)
  • The Mashantucket Pequot Tribe in Connecticut (2010)
  • The Suquamish Tribe in Washington (2011)
  • The Tribal Council of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians in Michigan (2013)
  • The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians in Michigan (2013)
  • The Santa Ysabel Tribe in California (2013)
  • The Colville Tribal Council of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Nation in Washington (2013)
  • The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes in Oklahoma (2013)
  • The Leech Lake Tribal Court in Minnesota (2013)
  • The Puyallup Tribe in Washington (2014)
  • Tlingit and Haida Tribes in Alaska (2015)
  • The Oneida Tribe in Wisconsin (2015)
  • The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community in Michigan (2015)

Percent of LGBT Population Covered by Laws

100% of LGBT population lives in states with marriage equality for same-sex couples 13% of LGBT population lives in states with comprehensive civil union or domestic partnership laws

Negative marriage and/or relationship recognition laws restrict same-sex couples from entering into marriages, domestic partnerships, and/or civil unions—and may also prevent any legal recognition of out of state same-sex relationships or marriages.

United States Map
Constitutional amendment bans marriage and other forms of relationship recognition similar to marriage for same-sex couples (0 states)
Constitutional amendment bans marriage for same-sex couples (0 states)
Statute bans marriage and other forms of relationship recognition similar to marriage for same-sex couples (0 states)
Statute bans marriage for same-sex couples (0 states)
No legal ban on marriage or relationship recognition (50 states + D.C.)
NOTE: States are shaded to reflect the law that most limits the ability of couples to be legally recognized. See the table below to see which states have multiple laws. For additional information, contact Freedom to Marry, Lambda Legal, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders or ACLU LGBT Rights Project. Laws prohibiting recognition of same-sex couples' relationship can also harm bisexual and transgender people in same-sex relationships. North Carolina permits state magistrates to decline to marry couples of whose marriage they disapprove. For more information on marriage equality litigation proceeding in a number of states, see Lambda Legal's analysis.

Percent of LGBT Population Covered by Laws

0% of LGBT population lives in states with constitutional amendments banning marriage and any form of relationship recognition 0% of LGBT population lives in states with constitutional amendments banning marriage 0% of LGBT population lives in states with statutes banning marriage and any form of relationship recognition 0% of LGBT population lives in states with statutes banning marriage 100% of LGBT population lives in states with no legal ban on marriage or relationship recognition
Indicates a positive law for same-sex couples
State Marriage Comprehensive civil union or domestic partnership law Ruling in favor of marriage equality from appellate courts. Marriage available to same-sex couples pending further action Out-of-state marriages recognized, but same-sex couples may not marry in-state Year Passed
Total 50 states + D.C. 6 states + D.C. 0 states 0 states
Alabama 2015
Alaska 2014
Arizona 2014
Arkansas 2015
California 2013
Colorado 2013 (civil unions); 2014 (marriage)
Connecticut 2008
Delaware 2013
District of Columbia 2010 (marriage); 2006 (domestic partnership)
Florida 2015
Georgia 2015
Hawaii 2012, 2013
Idaho 2014
Illinois 2011 (civil unions); 2013 (marriage)
Indiana 2014
Iowa 2009
Kansas 2015
Kentucky 2015
Louisiana 2015
Maine 2012
Maryland 2012
Massachusetts 2004
Michigan 2015
Minnesota 2013
Mississippi 2015
Missouri 2015
Montana 2014
Nebraska 2015
Nevada 2009 (civil unions); 2014 (marriage)
New Hampshire 2010
New Jersey 2007 (civil unions); 2013 (marriage)
New Mexico 2013
New York 2011
North Carolina 2014
North Dakota 2015
Ohio 2015
Oklahoma 2014
Oregon 2008 (domestic partnership); 2013 (out-of-state marriages); 2014 (marriage)
Pennsylvania 2014
Rhode Island 2013
South Carolina 2014
South Dakota 2015
Tennessee 2015
Texas 2015
Utah 2014
Vermont 2009
Virginia 2014
Washington 2012
West Virginia 2014
Wisconsin 2014
Wyoming 2014
Indicates a negative law for same-sex couples
State Constitutional amendment bans marriage and relationship recognition for same-sex couples Constitutional amendment bans marriage for same-sex couples Statute bans marriage and relationship recognition for same-sex couples Statute bans marriage for same-sex couples Year Passed
Total 0 states 0 states 0 states 0 states
Alabama
Alaska 1997 (Statute); 1998 (Amendment)
Arizona 1996 (Statute); 2008 (Amendment)
Arkansas 1997 (Statute); 2004 (Amendment)
California
Colorado 2000 (Statute); 2006 (Amendment)
Connecticut
Delaware
District of Columbia
Florida
Georgia 1996 (Statute); 2004 (Amendment)
Hawaii
Idaho 1996 (Statute); 2006 (Amendment)
Illinois
Indiana 1997
Iowa
Kansas 1996 (Statute); 2005 (Amendment)
Kentucky 1998 (Statute); 2004 (Amendment)
Louisiana 1999 (Statute); 2004 (Amendment)
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan 1996 (Statute); 2004 (Amendment)
Minnesota
Mississippi 1997 (Statute); 2004 (Amendment)
Missouri 2001 (Statute); 2004 (Amendment)
Montana
Nebraska 2000
Nevada 2002
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina 1996 (Statute); 2012 (Amendment)
North Dakota 1997 (Statute); 2004 (Amendment)
Ohio 2004 (Statute & Amendment)
Oklahoma 1996 (Statute); 2004 (Amendment)
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota 1996 (Statute); 2006 (Amendment)
Tennessee 1996 (Statute); 2006 (Amendment)
Texas 1997 (Statute); 2003 (Statute); 2005 (Amendment)
Utah 1995 (Statute); 2004 (Statute & Amendment)
Vermont
Virginia 1997 (Statute); 2004 (Statute); 2006 (Amendment)
Washington
West Virginia 2000
Wisconsin 2006
Wyoming 1977


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Data current as of 07/21/2015