Pending Marriage Equality Cases

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Current as of September 15, 2014.

Marriage Equality Scorecard

Pending Marriage Equality Lawsuits

There are currently:

93 lawsuits involving the the right of same-sex couples to marry or have their out-of-state marriages respected are pending in 33 states (AL, AK, AZ, AR, CO, FL, GA, HI, ID, IN, KS, KY, LA, MI, MS, MO, NE, NV, NC, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, WV, WI, WY) and Puerto Rico.

                60 of these are in federal court;

                                16 of those are on appeal.

                                7 petitions for a writ of certiorari have been filed with the United States Supreme Court involving the marriage laws of 5 states.

                33 are in state courts;

                                14 of these are on appeal; and

                                26 raise federal claims.

Marriage equality lawsuits are pending in all states that do not currently allow same-sex couples to marry, and there are cases in all Circuits of the U.S. Courts of Appeals in which not all states 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 28 rulings in 25 cases from 21 different federal courts that have held the laws of 17 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 (AZ, CO, FL, ID, IL, IN, KY, MI, OH, OK, OR, PA, TN, TX, UT, VA, and WI).  Including state courts, the total rises to 41 rulings in 35 cases from 32 different federal and state courts invalidating or enjoining the enforcement of the marriage bans of 19 states (the states in the last parenthetical, plus AR, NJ, and NM).

Marriage Equality

Marriage equality exists in 19 states and DC: Explore our interactive map.

In addition:

  • more than 500 same-sex couples married in AR,
  • more than 200 same-sex couples married in CO,
  • more than 800 same-sex couples married in IN,
  • more than 300 same-sex couples married in MI,
  • more than 500 same-sex couples married in WI,
  • and more than 1,200 same-sex couples married in UT, 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.

As a general matter, these marriages are now being recognized for at least federal law purposes. 

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.  Furthermore, the 7th Circuit on 7/1/14 partially lifted its stay of the injunction issued by the IN District Court in order to require recognition pending appeal of the marriage of one same-sex couple who are facing a terminal illness. That lifting of the stay as to that couple remains in place notwithstanding the stay issued by the 7th Circuit on 9/15/14 of the issuance of its mandate.

In other cases in which state marriage laws have been ruled unconstitutional, the rulings have been stayed pending appeal (in AR, FL, ID, KY, OK, TN, TX and VA) and, in one of the OH cases, the court’s order has been stayed as to all couples except the named plaintiffs.

Marriage Recognition

Some other states are recognizing marriages same-sex couples have entered outside the state for limited purposes (such as MO, for purposes of filing state taxes, and WY, for purposes of obtaining a divorce). A court order requiring recognition by the state of UT of marriages entered in that state prior to the stay of an injunction allowing same-sex couples to marry in the state has itself been stayed.

Other Relationship Recognition

Comprehensive civil unions or domestic partnerships (but not the current ability of same-sex couples to marry throughout the state) now exist in CO and NV. Limited domestic partnerships (but not the current ability of same-sex couples to marry) now exist in WI.  Civil union and domestic partnership ordinances and policies also exist in numerous local jurisdictions.  Explore our interactive map (click on “Marriage and Relationships”).

* 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.