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.

6. States that are complicated

Mario Anzuoni / Reuters / File
Activists in support of gay marriage rally outside the Beverly Hilton hotel, where President Obama was attending a Democratic Party fundraiser in Beverly Hills, Calif., on May 27, 2009. California voters rejected gay marriage in 2008, but the story is not over. The California law is the subject of a federal lawsuit.

  • California

California has a long and complicated history regarding the issue of gay marriage. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the California Supreme Court in May 2008 ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry in California. Proposition 8, which amended the state’s constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman, was passed in November 2008. About two years later, a federal district judge ruled that Proposition 8 violated the equal protection provisions of the US Constitution. The decision was appealed, and the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on February 7, 2012 that the ban violated the Constitution, but has postponed enforcement pending appeal. California does not currently allow same-sex marriages to be performed, however same-sex marriages performed before Proposition 8 was passed remain valid. 

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