August 3, 2009

Gay Marriage: A State Issue

29 to 6

As of May 2009, six states allow same-sex marriage while 29 have banned it.

Until recently, proponents of same-sex marriage rights had suffered consistent setbacks at the state level. In 2008, voters in Florida, Arizona and California approved gay-marriage bans, bringing the total number of states that had amended their constitutions to ban same-sex marriage to 29. However, in 2009, the Vermont Legislature legalized gay marriage (the first time legalization was the result of a statute rather than a court ruling), an act soon followed by legislatures in New Hampshire and Maine. Courts in Iowa and Connecticut have also recently ruled that state constitutions guarantee gay and lesbian couples the right to marry, meaning six states currently allow same-sex marriage. At the national level, however, Americans continue to oppose gay marriage. An April Pew Research survey found a 54% majority opposing same-sex marriage, with only 35% supporting the right of gays and lesbians to wed. However, when the same question is posed about civil unions, the numbers reverse, with 53% supporting civil unions and 39% opposed. Read More