Gay marriage in the US: six ways states differ on the issue

Take a look at where states currently stand on gay marriage in the US.

2. Allow civil unions, providing state-level spousal rights to same-sex couples

REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach
Frank (R) and his husband Joe Kapley-Alfano embrace during a press conference about the ruling of Proposition 8 banning gay marriage outside the Ninth Circuit Courthouse in San Francisco, California, February 7, 2012.

New Jersey
Rhode Island

Civil unions provide gay couples with the legal standing of marriage, and states that allow them extend to same-sex couples the rights, protections, responsibilities, and benefits that the states themselves give to heterosexual married couples. Many gay-rights activists, however, argue the status of civil unions nonetheless causes the public to perceive their commitments to be less than those of married people. Supporters, on the other hand, defend them as the best deal gay couples are likely to get in states resistant to gay marriage.

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