Thursday marks a momentous anniversary for gay-rights activists. On this day one year ago, the Supreme Court ruled Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, allowing legally married same-sex couples to receive the same federal spousal benefits as straight couples.
Now, those benefits apply to more gay couples than ever. As The Washington Post‘s Philip Bump points out, nearly half of all gay Americans now live in states where same-sex marriage is legal. On Wednesday, Indiana joined the 18 other states where gay marriage is legal by striking down its state ban. All told, seven states have successfully legalized same-sex marriage in the past year: New Jersey, Hawaii, Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and now Indiana.
In states like Wisconsin, the status of gay couples’ right to marry is tied up in the courts. Utah’s decision may go all the way to the Supreme Court. Other states have passed milder laws, like recent decisions by Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio to recognize out-of-state marriages. To see up-to-date, state-by-state decisions, check out National Journal‘s comprehensive map.
Here’s a timeline of gay-rights victories since DOMA was struck down last June:
Oct. 21, 2013: Gay couples in New Jersey start getting married after a court ruling goes into effect.
(Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
Nov. 13, 2013: Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie passes the Hawaii Marriage Equality Act into law. Couples start getting married on Dec. 2, 2013.
Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed the bill legalizing same-sex marriage into law. (Craig Barritt/Getty Images)
November 20, 2013: Illinois passes same-sex marriage legislation. The law went into effect on June 1, 2014.
(Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Dec. 19, 2013: The New Mexico Supreme Court declares same-sex marriage legal.
Jan. 14, 2014: An Oklahoma judge strikes down the state’s gay-marriage ban, calling it “arbitrary” and “irrational.”
Feb. 14, 2014: A Virginia judge tries to strike down the state’s same-sex marriage ban, though the state still defines marriage as between a man and a woman.
(Jay Paul/Getty Images)
Feb. 27, 2014: A Texas judge struck down the state’s same-sex marriage ban, but that decision itself was quickly struck down.
March 21, 2014: A Michigan judge struck down the state’s same-sex marriage ban, but that decision was indefinitely suspended by a federal appeals court.
(Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
May 9, 2014: An Arkansas judge unsuccessfully strikes down the state’s gay-marriage ban.
May 13, 2014: An Idaho judge unsuccessfully strikes down the state’s ban on same-sex marriages.
May 19, 2014: An Oregon judge successfully strikes down the state’s same-sex marriage ban.
May 20, 2014: A Pennsylvania judge successfully strikes down the state’s gay-marriage ban.
June 7, 2014: A Wisconsin judge overturned the state’s same-sex marriage ban, allowing couples to get marriage licenses for a week until the decision was stayed on June 13. Marriages have since been halted.
June 25, 2014: A federal appeals court struck down Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage — the first time a federal appeals court weighed in on the issue at the state level.
(George Frey/Getty Images)
June 25, 2014: A judge in Indiana ruled the state’s gay-marriage ban unconstitutional, allowing same-sex couples in the state to immediately start receiving marriage licenses.
Many of these recent rulings are likely to become tied up in the courts for some time. Attorneys general in states like Utah and Wisconsin have already begun the appeals process to reinstate their states’ respective bans. But for many gay couples, the momentous decision the Supreme Court handed down one year ago was just the beginning of the good news.
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