Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Where is same-sex marriage legal?

Here is the answer as of October 21, 2014.
First, the latest in the U.S.:

* There are three states where, due to in-force circuit-appeals-court rulings, same-sex marriage should be legal but isn't yet.

* Kansas - There's a hearing Oct. 24.
* Montana - There's a hearing Nov. 20, which feels like stalling.
* South Carolina - Lambda Legal sued on Oct. 15.

* On Friday, Oct. 17, same-sex marriage was legalized in Alaska, Arizona and Wyoming. That makes 32 states and D.C.

* Beyond Kansas, Montana and South Carolina, next up should be the ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in Cincinnati on the marriage bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.

* Followed by the 5th Circuit (Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas) and the 11th Circuit (Alabama, Florida, Georgia). Then the 8th Circuit, which at present would affect Arkansas, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska and South Dakota.

* If the 5th, 6th, 8th or 11th circuit rules against same-sex marriage, that'll send the matter to the U.S. Supreme Court for a nationwide ruling. If no circuit rules against same-sex marriage, it's over without SCOTUS intervention.

* Finally, there's American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, which are part of the U.S. Puerto Rico's marriage case is far along and should wrap up soonish. Guam and Northern Mariana Islands are part of the 9th Circuit, where marriage bans cannot survive. The Virgin Islands has yet to be sued. American Samoa is a special case that might be dealt with by a district court in Hawaii or D.C., or by SCOTUS.

* Now we return to the regular post here, which covers the planet (and also is up-to-date and more detailed on the U.S.):

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE is legal in the Netherlands (2001), Belgium (2003), Canada (2005), Spain (2005), South Africa (2006), Norway (2009), Sweden (2009), Argentina (2010), Iceland (2010), Portugal (2010), Denmark (2012), France (2013), Brazil (2013), Uruguay (2013), New Zealand (2013), England and Wales (2014), Scotland (starting Dec. 31) and Luxembourg (starting early 2015).

Same-sex marriages also have taken place on the Caribbean islands of Saba, a municipality of the Netherlands (2012), and Martinique, an overseas region of France (2013).

In Mexico, same-sex marriage is available in the Federal District (Mexico City) and the states of Coahuila and Quintana Roo -- and, for some couples who filed legal cases, in the states of Baja California, Chihuahua, Colima, Jalisco, Oaxaca and Yucat√°n. The marriages are recognized nationwide by Supreme Court order. Mexico has 31 states.

In Colombia, a handful of same-sex couples have managed to get married since September 2013, but the situation remains fluid. Latest here.

In Australia, same-sex couples were able to marry in the Australian Capital Territory from Dec. 7, 2013, to Dec. 12, 2013, under a special "same-sex marriage" law the territory enacted. On Dec. 12, Australia's High Court invalidated the law and the marriages, pointing out that marriage is a matter of federal law in Australia.

IN THE UNITED STATES, same-sex marriage is legal in Massachusetts (2004), California (2008 for four months, then 2013 for good), Connecticut (2008), Vermont (2009), Iowa (2009), New Hampshire (2010), Washington, D.C. (2010), New York (2011), Maine (2012), Maryland (2012), Washington (2012), Delaware (2013), Rhode Island (2013), Minnesota (2013), New Jersey (2013), Hawaii (2013), New Mexico (2013), Oregon (2014), Pennsylvania (2014), Illinois (2014), Colorado (Oct. 6, 2014), Indiana (Oct. 6, 2014), Oklahoma (Oct. 6, 2014), Utah (Oct. 6, 2014), Virginia (Oct. 6, 2014), Wisconsin (Oct. 6, 2014), West Virginia (Oct. 9, 2014), Nevada (Oct. 9, 2014), North Carolina (Oct. 10, 2014), Idaho (Oct. 15, 2014), Arizona (Oct. 17, 2014), Alaska (Oct. 17, 2014) and Wyoming (Oct. 21, 2014). That's 32 states and the District of Columbia.

In addition, three more states will see same-sex marriage legalized soon because they are in federal circuits where appeals-court decisions striking down bans are the law of the land -- following the U.S. Supreme Court's Oct. 6, 2014, rejection of appeals from three circuits and its Oct. 10 and Oct. 17, 2014, refusals to issue stays in the 9th Circuit. Those states are Kansas, Montana and South Carolina. A same-sex couple married at the courthouse in Olathe, Kansas, on Oct. 10. Later that day the state Supreme Court halted any more gay marriages. Missouri does not let gay couples marry but it recognizes their marriages if they get married anywhere in the world -- including the bordering states of Illinois and Iowa -- a decision state officials finalized Oct. 6, 2014, after the U.S. Supreme Court action.

Bans on same-sex marriage in Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Michigan and Texas have been struck down by federal and/or state judges, but the rulings were stayed while on appeal. In Louisiana, a federal judge upheld the state's ban. The ruling is being appealed. On Oct. 7, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit upheld a strikedown of Idaho's gay-marriage ban, and struck down Nevada's ban. Marrriages soon began in both states, as well as in the 9th Circuit states of Alaska and Arizona. Because SCOTUS rejected stay requests from Idaho and Alaska, legalization of same-sex marriage is unavoidable in the rest of the 9th Circuit as well -- Guam, Montana and the Northern Mariana Islands. (American Samoa is some kind of special case.)

(Yes, this raises questions about Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well. A federal lawsuit is ongoing in Puerto Rico. The outcome could be appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit. All states within the 1st Circuit have same-sex marriage and none of them got it via a federal-court ruling. There is no lawsuit in the USVI, which is part of the 3rd Circuit, another circuit where all states within have same-sex marriage. One 3rd Circuit state, Pennsylvania, got same-sex marriage via a federal district court ruling that was not appealed. Any appeal to those two federal circuits would see circuit-level rulings on same-sex marriage for the first time, likely in favor of marriage equality.)

INDIAN TRIBES: Same-sex marriage also has been explicitly legalized within the Coquille Indian Tribe in Oregon (2009), The Suquamish Tribe in Washington state (2011), the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians in Michigan (2013), The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation in Washington state (2013), the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians in Michigan (2013), the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel in California (2013), the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes in Oklahoma (2013), the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe in Minnesota (2013), and the Puyallup Tribe of Indians in Washington (2014).

HISTORICAL NOTES: In Utah, 1,259 same-sex couples married between Dec. 20, 2013, and Jan. 6, 2014, when the U.S. Supreme Court's stayed a Salt Lake City federal judge's strikedown of the state's gay-marriage ban. The stay was lifted by the U.S. Supreme Court action on Oct. 6, 2014. In Michigan, 315 same-sex couples married in four counties on Saturday, March 22, 2014, before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit issued a stay. In Arkansas, 541 same-sex couples received marriage licenses before the Arkansas Supreme Court issued a stay a week after the May 9, 2014, strikedown. In Wisconsin, more than 500 same-sex couples married June 6-13, 2014, before a federal judge finalized her paperwork and issued a stay -- which was lifted by the U.S. Supreme Court action on Oct. 6, 2014. In Indiana, some 800 same-sex couples married June 25-27, 2014, before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit issued a stay -- which was lifted by the U.S. Supreme Court action on Oct. 6, 2014. In Colorado, more than 300 same-sex couples married in Boulder, Denver and Pueblo counties in June and July 2014 after various legal developments, including the state's marriage ban being struck down in both state and federal court. The three counties eventually were forced to stop issuing gay licenses by the state Supreme Court or Attorney General John Suthers, with Boulder being the final county shut down on July 29, 2014. Colorado resumed issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Oct. 6, 2014, following the U.S. Supreme Court rejection of the 10th Circuit appeals from Utah and Oklahoma.

In U.S. states that do not allow or recognize same-sex marriage, married same-sex couples who live there are still recognized as married for many federal purposes, including income tax, immigration, military benefits and likely scores of other matters that always have been tied to whether a couple entered into a legal marriage anywhere in the world rather than to a state's marriage rules.