NEW YORK (Reuters) - Washington became the seventh U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage on Monday, less than a week after a major ruling on same-sex marriage by a federal appeals court in California.
In addition, New Jersey’s Senate passed a same-sex marriage bill on Monday, and the legislatures of Maryland and Illinois are considering same-sex marriage laws.\
Same-sex marriage is recognized in Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, and now Washington. California recognizes same-sex marriages conducted between May and November 2008.
Here is a breakdown of gay marriage in different states:
California: The state’s Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that laws prohibiting same-sex marriage violated the state constitution. That ruling was overturned later that year by Proposition 8, a ballot initiative that banned same-sex marriage. Last week, a federal appeals court ruled that Proposition 8 violated the U.S. Constitution. But same-sex couples cannot get married in California until appeals, which may go to the U.S. Supreme Court, have been exhausted. Some 18,000 same sex marriages which took place in California between May and November, 2008 are recognized.
Connecticut: In 2008, the state’s Supreme Court found that laws prohibiting same-sex marriage violated the Connecticut constitution; same-sex marriage has been recognized in Connecticut ever since.
District of Columbia: The district’s legislative body recognized same-sex marriage in 2009.
Iowa: The state’s Supreme Court unanimously ruled in 2009 that Iowa marriage laws prohibiting same-sex marriage violated the state’s constitution. Same-sex marriage has been recognized there ever since. In the 2010 elections, Iowa voters tossed three justices off the bench who had decided the same sex marriage case on the Supreme Court. Four other judges who joined in the decision remain on the court.
Massachusetts: In 2003, the state’s Supreme Judicial Court found that laws prohibiting same-sex marriage violated the state’s constitution. An attempt to overturn the ruling by putting the issue to a statewide vote failed.
New Hampshire: The New Hampshire legislature voted to recognized same-sex marriage in 2010 and the governor signed the bill into law.
New Jersey: A state court found in 2006 that laws prohibiting same-sex marriage violated the state constitution, but said the legislature could recognize same-sex civil unions instead. The New Jersey legislature authorized same-sex civil unions later that year, but a case before the Superior Court of New Jersey now argues that this remedy also violates the state constitution. The state’s senate approved a law allowing same-sex marriage on Monday, but governor Chris Christie, a Republican, has said he will veto it.
New York: The New York legislature approved same-sex marriage in 2011 after a raucous debate, especially in the Republican-majority Senate. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the legislation into law, making it the most populous state to have legalized all gay marriages. In 2006, the state’s Court of Appeals had found that the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage did not violate the New York constitution.
Vermont: In 1999, the state’s Supreme Court found that laws prohibiting same-sex marriage violated the state constitution, but gave the legislature the option to recognize same-sex civil unions provided the unions gave privileges akin to marriage. The Vermont legislature initially took this option, but in 2009 it passed an amendment recognizing same-sex marriage.
Washington: On Monday, Governor Chris Gregoire signed legislation recognizing same-sex marriage in the state. Opponents have vowed to collect enough signatures to get the issue on the ballot for a statewise vote in November.
Editing by Greg McCune