Which States Have Passed Gay Marriage Laws in the Past Year?

The Defense of Marriage Act was struck down on this date in 2013. What’s changed since then?

Same-sex marriage supporters demonstrate in front of the Supreme Court on March 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. The rights of married same-sex couples will come under scrutiny at the US Supreme Court on Wednesday in the second of two landmark cases being considered by the top judicial panel. After the nine justices mulled arguments on a California law that outlawed gay marriage on Tuesday, they will take up a challenge to the legality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The 1996 law prevents couples who have tied the knot in nine states -- where same-sex marriage is legal -- from enjoying the same federal rights as heterosexual couples. 
AFP/Getty Images
Emma Roller
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Emma Roller
June 26, 2014, 1:10 a.m.

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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