Pending Marriage Equality Cases
Click on a state to learn more about its pending marriage equality cases.
Current as of January 16, 2015
There are currently:
88 lawsuits involving the right of same-sex couples to marry or have their out-of-state marriages respected are pending in 30 states (AL, AK, AZ, AR, FL, GA, ID, IN, KS, KY, LA, MI, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NC, ND, OH, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, WI, WV, WY) and Puerto Rico. (Same-sex couples already are able to marry in some of these states, but some litigation still is pending in those states.)
58 of these are in federal court;
30 of those are on appeal (including 6 that are subject to 4 petitions for certiorari (review) to the U.S. Supreme Court from the 6th Circuit involving the marriage laws of KY, MI, OH, and TN; 1 that is subject to 2 petitions for certiorari from the 9th Circuit involving the marriage laws of ID; and 2 that are subject to a petition for certiorari before judgment from the 4th Circuit involving the marriage laws of NC; with a petition for certiorari for judgment from 1 case before the 5th Circuit, involving the marriage laws of LA, having recently been denied)
28 are in district courts ;
30 are in state courts;
16 of these are on appeal, 5 of which are now before state supreme courts; and
21 raise federal claims,
Marriage equality lawsuits are pending in all states that do not currently allow same-sex couples to marry.
Post-Windsor Cases Ruling in Favor of Marriage Equality Claims
In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional for the federal government to refuse to recognize marriages entered by same-sex couples. Since that decision (U.S. v. Windsor), there has been a nearly unbroken string of 44 rulings in 44 cases from 27 different federal courts that have held the laws of 27 states that barred same-sex couples from marrying or having their marriages recognized to be unconstitutional or that have entered partial or full injunctions against them (AK, AR, AZ, CO, FL, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, MI, MS, MT, NV, NC, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WI, and WY). Including state courts, the total rises to 59 rulings in 56 cases from 40 different federal and state courts invalidating or enjoining the enforcement of the marriage bans of 30 states (the states in the last parenthetical, plus MO, NJ, and NM).
Marriage equality currently exists in 36 states, DC, and parts of KS and MO: Explore our interactive map.
In addition, more than 500 same-sex couples married in AR and more than 300 same-sex couples married in MI before stays were issued of rulings that those states’ marriage bans are unconstitutional or orders were issued directing that no further marriage licenses be issued pending appeals of lower court rulings. The marriages entered in MI have been ordered recognized by the state (although that ruling has been temporarily stayed) and are now being recognized for at least federal law purposes, but the federal government has not yet announced whether it will recognize the marriages entered in AR.
In OH, the District Court’s rulings in two cases requiring recognition of marriages entered outside the state by same-sex couples remain in effect as to the named plaintiffs in both cases.
In other cases in which state marriage laws have been ruled unconstitutional in which appellate rulings have not yet issued, the rulings have been stayed pending appeal (in AR, SD, and TX ) and, in one of the OH cases, the court’s order has been stayed as to all couples except the named plaintiffs.
Although MO does not currently allow same-sex couples to marry, it has decided to recognize marriages same-sex couples have entered outside the state for all purposes. Whether other states that do not currently allow same-sex couples to marry will recognize marriages entered by same-sex couples out-of-state for all or at least some purposes is not yet fully resolved.
Other Relationship Recognition
As a result of recent rulings, all states that provide comprehensive civil union or domestic partnership also now provide or have appellate court rulings mandating the current ability of same-sex couples to marry throughout the state. Civil union and domestic partnership ordinances and policies also exist in numerous local jurisdictions. Explore our interactive map.
* Cases filed, or that newly included a marriage claim, since the decision in Windsor are marked with an asterisk.
Learn more about Lambda Legal's national marriage campaign, Love Unites US.