Freedom to Marry

Nearly 44 percent of the U.S. population lives in a state where same-sex marriage is permitted, and over 46 percent of the U.S. population lives in a state with either marriage or a broad legal status such as civil union or domestic partnership. Put another way, over 48 percent of the U.S. population lives in a state that provides some form of protections for gay couples.

In 19 states – California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington – gay people have the freedom to marry as same-sex couples.

In an additional 13 thirteen states, judges have issued rulings in favor of the freedom to marry, with many of these rulings now stayed as they proceed to appellate courts: In Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin judges have struck down marriage bans, and in Ohio and Tennessee, judges have issued more limited pro-marriage rulings.

Three states offer broad protections short of marriage. Colorado allows civil union, while Nevada offers broad domestic partnership. Wisconsin has more limited domestic partnership.

With these advances, a record number of Americans live in states that recognize relationships between same-sex couples.

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