05 Aug 2010 The "State" of Affairs in Same Sex Marriage Laws
Yesterday, a federal district court declared that Proposition 8 – which denied same sex couples the right to marriage (in California) - violates the equal protection and due process clauses of the United States Constitution. It is expected that the case will be appealed - first to a three-judge panel of the 9th Cir. Court of Appeals and then to the U.S. Supreme Court (with some additional back and forth likely in between). The district court's ruling, however, sets the stage for a landmark decision which could make same sex marriage legal across the entire United States if the ruling is upheld.
As of today, ten countries allow same-sex couples to marry: Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain and Sweden). Lesbian and gay couples also can marry in Mexico City the most populous city in North America.
In the United States, the following six jurisdictions allow same-sex couples to marry: Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont.
The California Supreme Court held in May 2009 that the estimated 18,000 couples who married in California between that court’s marriage equality decision in May 2008 and Prop 8’s passage on November 4, 2008 remain validly married under California law. At least Maryland and New York honor married same-sex couples’ marital status from other states. At least California and New Jersey treat married same-sex couples as entitled to all state law rights and responsibilities through state domestic partnership or civil union rules.