States That Allow Same-Sex Marriage

The law on same sex marriage is constantly changing and evolving. Since the beginning, the supporters and opponents have made controversial arguments for and against same sex marriages.

In 2003 Massachusetts become the first state in the country to legalize same sex marriages. Since there a few other states have followed Massachusetts. In future, it is likely that the number of states recognizing and allowing same sex marriage may rise.

This section deals with the current state laws on same sex marriages.


Connecticut is the third state to allow same sex marriages. The state Supreme Court in Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health held that the state constitution does not allow the state to ban same sex couples from civil marriages. Instead the state constitution only provides that a man cannot marry his stepdaughter, stepmother, niece, aunt, sister, granddaughter, daughter, grandmother and mother. Similarly a woman cannot marry her stepson, stepfather, nephew, uncle, brother, grandson, son, grandfather or father.


Iowa joined the states that permitted same sex unions when the Iowa Supreme Court held in Varnum v. O’Brien that prohibition of same sex marriage amounted to unconstitutional discrimination based on sexual orientation.


In 2004 Massachusetts become the first state to legalize same sex marriages when the Massachusetts Supreme Court in Goodrich v. Department of Public Heath held that the state cannot prevent the civil marriage of two persons of the same sex who wanted to get married and the laws applicable to heterosexual marriages would apply to same sex marriages.

New Hampshire

Governor John Lynch signed the HB73 bill to allow same sex unions. A new law that extended marriage rights to same sex couples became effective on January 1, 2010.

New York

New York became the sixth state to permit same sex marriages when on June 24, 2011 when it enacted the Marriage Equality Act.


The Vermont Supreme Court in the 1999 case of Baker v. Vermont held that all benefits and protections available to heterosexual couples are applicable to same sex couples.


The Washington Senate passed a bill legalizing same sex marriages in February 2010 and the bill was later signed by Governor Christin Gregoire.

Washington D.C.

In December 2009 Washington DC passed a law recognizing same sex marriages as legal unions. The District has also banned any vote that would seek to ban same sex marriage as it would amount to human rights violation.

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