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Same-sex marriage legal challenges: Where things stand, state-by-state

Saturday, July 19, 2014
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ACLU
Rue Landau and Kerry Smith are among the first couples to be issued a marriage license in Pennsylvania on May 20, 2014 after a federal judge struck down the state’s same-sex marriage ban.

State same-sex marriage bans have been falling around the country since June 2013, when the nation’s highest court ordered the federal government to recognize state-sanctioned gay marriages. The remaining state bans all face legal challenges to overturn them.

Gay and lesbian couples can now marry in 19 states and the District of Columbia, with Oregon and Pennsylvania being the latest to join the list. The others are: Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Maine, Maryland, Washington, Delaware, Hawaii, Minnesota, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New Mexico and Illinois.

Same-sex couples cannot wed in the rest of the states.

A federal appeals court ruled Friday that Oklahoma’s ban is unconstitutional, but the judges put the ruling on hold so it could be appealed. The decision comes three weeks after the same panel of judges reached the same conclusion on Utah’s same-sex marriage ban.

A total of 14 same-sex marriage cases are pending in state and federal appeals courts, with judges reviewing a wave of pro-gay marriage rulings that have come in the past year. Those rulings all are on hold pending appellate court decisions.

Here’s a look at where things stand with other legal challenges across the country:

ARKANSAS

A state judge in Arkansas’ largest county struck down the state’s same-sex marriage ban, saying the state has “no rational reason” for preventing gay couples from marrying. The state Supreme Court brought the marriages to a halt and is weighing state officials’ appeal.

COLORADO

A state judge struck down the state’s same-sex marriage ban on July 9, but put the ruling on hold pending the outcome of the appeal. Despite that order, several county clerks began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

More than 200 same-sex couples have wed in Boulder, Denver and Pueblo counties. The judge who issued the ruling has refused to stop that action. Colorado’s Republican attorney general John Struthers is appealing to the state Supreme Court. He says he knows it’s only a matter of time until gay marriage is legal in his state, but that he’ll continue to defend his state’s ban. On Friday, the court ordered Denver county to stop issuing the licenses, but the ruling did not apply to Boulder or Pueblo.

FLORIDA

A judge ruled this week that gay and lesbian couples can marry in Florida’s most gay-friendly county, siding with same-sex couples in the Florida Keys who challenged a voter-approved ban as discriminatory. But an immediate state appeal stopped couples from getting married.

IDAHO

State officials announced they will appeal a decision from a federal magistrate overturning the state’s same-sex marriage ban. The appeal is with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is scheduled to hear arguments on Sept. 8.

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