United States:Same-Sex marriage is legal in nine states plus the District of Columbia:
- New Hampshire
- New York
- Washington, D.C.
CaliforniaCalifornia is different than other states with gay marriage laws. Gay marriage was legal in California between June and November 2008. Approximately 18,000 same-sex couples were married during that time and those marriages are still valid within the state. The passage of Prop 8 made same-sex marriage no longer valid and no new marriages can be performed in California.
Recognition in Other StatesUnlike opposite sex marriages, same-sex marriages may or may not be recognized in other states. All of the states with same-sex marriage laws recognize marriages from other states.
This means, for example, if you live in Oregon and travel to Washington state to get married, your marriage will not be valid in Oregon.
Same-Sex DivorceAnother complication of same-sex marriage is that couples cannot file for divorce in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage. Usually you have to live in the state you file for divorce in. For example, if you live in Florida and travel to Massachusetts to get married and decide later that you want a divorce, the state of Florida will not issue you a divorce because they do not recognize your marriage as valid. In order to divorce, you might have to move to a state that recognizes same-sex marriage.
Rights of MarriageAccording to Lambda Legal, there are more than 1,400 rights that go along with being legally married. Even though same-sex marriage is legal in some states, married couples may not be eligible for those rights because their marriages are not recognized by the federal government and by all 50 states. Read more about the rights of marriage here.
The United States Supreme CourtThe US Supreme Court has decided to hear two cases regarding same-sex marriage in 2013. Both cases challenge state and federal laws that define marriage as only between one man and one woman. (Doma). Decisions in these cases are expected by June 2013.
President Obama and Gay MarriagePresident Obama announced in May 2012 that he supports full marriage equality for gays and lesbians. He was the first president to support gay marriage.
During his inauguration speech in January 2013 President Obama furthered his support for gay marriage by being the first president to mention gays and lesbians in his inauguration speech. He said, "Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well."