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Numbers of Marriage Laws Forbidden
to Same-sex Couples in the U.S.

by Demian
© July 7, 2011, Demian

Laws that are triggered by legal marriage vary by state. The federal system also has many more laws that are activated by a legal marriage. These laws are often made specifically to protect families in times of crisis or change.

Same-sex couples form families identical to opposite-sex couples. There is no logical reason, nor is there any rational state interest, to deny same-sex families the protection that legal marriage provides. This is why so many state courts have found in favor of offering legal marriage to same-sex couples.

Some opponants of legal marriage claim that tradition must be upheld. However, they only cite recent traditions and not other traditions that contradict their case.
[See our article: Marriage Traditions in Various Times and Cultures]

Legal marriage is a civil contract that is made between an adult couple and the state. It is not a “sacred” or “holy” institution. A marriage license does not require any church or state blessing to be valid.

In fact, the U.S. Constitution forbids any religion from ruling the laws of the country. This is known as the concept of “separaton of church and state.” No church should ever have the power to say who is allowed to have a civil marriage.

It is worth noting that many churchs and temples offer marriage ceremonies, and support legal marriage for same-sex couples.
[See: Religious Blessing]

Massachusetts is the first U.S. state to offer legal marriage to same-sex couples. Currently, all other states, and the federal system, forbid legal marriage to same-sex couples.

The following list gives a sample of the numbers of laws that are triggered by legal marriage, and represent the number of family protections that are denied same-sex couples.

Numbers of U.S. Marriage Laws
These numbers represent partial counts - actual counts are even higher.
United States
Federal System

1,138 U.S. Federal Laws for the Legally Married
115 Marriage Rights: Alaska
300 Marriage Rights: California
160 Marriage Rights: Hawaii
New York
200 Marriage Rights: New York - (Also see: New York Offers Legal Marriage)
279 Oregon attorney general’s count
870 Marriage Rights: Vermont- (Also see: Vermont Offers Legal Marriage)
360 Marriage Rights: Washington - a partial list
“The RCW Project 2004” by Jamie D. Pedersen

Additions are welcome. Please include citations and source locations.
© 2011, Demian

Also see:
Governments that offer Full Legal Marriage

    Netherlands (2001)
    Belgium (2003)
    Canada (2005)
    Spain (2005)
    South Africa (2005)
    Norway (2009)
    Sweden (2009)
    Iceland (2010)
    Argentina (2010)
    Portugal (2010)
    Denmark (2012)
    France (2013)
    New Zealand (2013)
    Brazil (2013)
    Uruguay (2013)
    New Zealand (2013)
    United Kingdom
      (England, Wales, Scotland) (2013)
    Luxembourg (2014)
    Finland (2014)
    Ireland (2015)
    United States (2015)
    Colombia (2016)
    Germany (2017)
    Taiwan (2017)
    Malta (2017)
US States & Territories

    Massachusetts (2004)
    California (2008)
    Connecticut (2008)
    Iowa (2009)
    Vermont (2009)
    New Hampshire (2009)
    District of Columbia (2009)
    New York (2011)
    Maine (2012)
    Washington (2012)
    Maryland (2013)
    Rhode Island (2013)
    Delaware (2013)
    Minnesota (2013)
    Illinois (2013)
    Utah (2013)
    New Jersey (2013)
    Hawaii (2013)
    New Mexico (2013)
    Michigan (2014) - stayed pending legal challenge
    Oregon (2014)
    Wisconsin (2014)

    Arkansas (2014) - stayed pending legal challenge
    Pennsylvania (2014)
    Indiana (2014)
    Nevada (2014)
    Virginia (2014)
    Oklahoma (2014)
    Idaho (2014)
    West Virginia (2014)
    Alaska (2014)
    Arizona (2014)
    Wyoming (2014)
    Kansas (2014) - stayed pending legal challenge
    Florida (2014)
    Colorado (2014)
    North Carolina (2014)
    South Carolina (2014)
    Montana (2014)
    Alabama (2015)
    U.S. Supreme Court (June 26, 2015):
      Ruling: All U.S. States must now
      allow same-sex couples the
      freedom of legal marriage.
Native American Tribes

    Coquille Tribe, Oregon (2009)
    Mashantucket Pequot, Connecticut (2011)
    Suquamish Tribe, Washington (2011)
    Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Washington (2013)
    Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Minnesota (2013)
    Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Michigan (2013)
    Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, Michigan (2013)
    Santa Ysabel Tribe, California (2013)
    Confederated Tribes of the Colville Nation, Washington (2013)
    Cheyenne, Oklahoma (2013)
    Arapaho, Oklahoma (2013)
    Leech Lake Tribal Court, Minnesota (2013)
    Puyallup Tribe, Washington (2914)
    Wind River Indian Reservation, Wyoming (2014)
    Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Michigan, (2014)
    Colville Confederated Tribes, Washington (2014)
    Central Council of Tlingit, Alaska (2015)
    Haida Indian Tribes, Alaska (2015)

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