Pending Marriage Equality Cases

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Pending Marriage Equality Lawsuits

There are currently:

85 lawsuits involving the right of same-sex couples to marry or have their out-of-state marriages respected are pending in 28 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, and WY) as well as Guam and  Puerto Rico.  (Same-sex couples already are able to marry in some of these states, but some marriage litigation is still pending in each of these states.)

                54 of these lawsuits are in federal court;

                                6 of these, involving the marriage laws of 4 states (KY, MI, OH, and TN), were accepted for review by the U.S. Supreme Court, and were argued April 28, 2015;

                                3 additional petitions for Supreme Court review have been filed regarding the decision of the 9th Circuit holding the marriage bans of ID                 and NV                                 unconstitutional;

                2 further petitions have been filed with the Supreme Court seeking review prior to judgment in cases currently before the 4th Circuit regarding             the marriage bans of NC;

                a petition for writ of certiorari filed by the National Organization for Marriage seeking review of a 9th Circuit decision rejecting its efforts to appeal the decision striking down OR’s  marriage ban was denied by the Supreme Court on 4/20/15.                           

                24 of the federal cases are before U.S. courts of appeal (3 of which are simultaneously subject to cert. petitions to the Supreme Court);

                21 are in federal district courts;                 

Circuit court appeals stayed pending Supreme Court resolution of Obergefell et al.:


4th Circuit

8th Circuit

9th Circuit

11th Circuit

Fisher-Borne, General Synod, and Gerber (NC)

Bleckley/Condon, Bradacs (SC)

Jernigan (AR)

Lawson (MO)

Waters  (NE)

Rosenbrahn  (SD)

Hamby (AK)

Connolly, Majors (AZ)

Rolando (MT)

Searcy, Strawser (AL)

Brenner , Grimsley (FL)

Inniss (GA)


District Court cases currently stayed:


Within the 5th Circuit

Within the 6th Circuit

Within the 8th Circuit

Within the 11th Circuit

DeLeon (WD TX)

McNosky (WD TX)

Zahrn (WD TX)

Blankenship (ED MI)

Morgan (WD MI)

Gibson (SD OH)

Jorgensen (D ND)

Ramsay (D ND)

Hard (MD AL)


                31 cases are in state courts;

                                18 of these are on appeal, 7 of which are now before state supreme courts; and

                                22 of the cases in state courts raise federal claims.

State court cases currently stayed:



MISSOURI: State of Missouri v. Florida




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 49 rulings in 48 cases from 30 different federal courts that have held the laws of 29 states and the territory of Guam 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 (AL, AK, AR, AZ, CO, FL, GU, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, MI, MS, MT, NE, NV, NC, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WI, and WY).  Including state courts, the total rises to 66 rulings in 62 cases from 45 different federal and state courts invalidating or enjoining the enforcement of the marriage bans of 32 states and the territory of Guam (the states in the last parenthetical, plus MO, NJ, and NM).   

Marriage Equality

Marriage equality currently exists in 36 states, DC, Guam, and parts of KS and MO: Explore our interactive map (click on “Marriage and Relationships”).

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, TX, and WY) and, in one of the OH cases, the court’s order has been stayed as to all couples except the named plaintiffs.

Marriage Recognition

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 (click on “Marriage and Relationships”).

Learn more about Lambda Legal's Marriage at the Supreme Court campaign.