Map: Blue states have marriage equality, red states have lawsuits pending, grey states have neither
Yesterday, marriage equality seemed to take yet another positive step forward, as a federal three-judge panel heard oral arguments in the nation’s oldest same-sex marriage lawsuit. Judges in Bishop v. Oklahoma, a case first filed almost a decade ago, seemed to be leaning on the side of marriage equality with one noting that states cannot define marriage in a way that would “trample constitutional rights.”
And while the news media focused on the Oklahoma case being heard in Denver at the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, a little-known case was getting started in a state court in Arkansas.
Yes, Arkansas, the former home of former governors Bill Clinton (who has since become a supporter but signed DOMA into law in 1996) and Mike Huckabee (who almost weekly, it seems, rails against same-sex marriage).
Arkansas can hardly be called a progressive state, yet there’s a lawsuit being tried, challenging that state’s ban on same-sex marriage.
There are also lawsuits attempting to overturn same-sex marriage in many southern states. In fact, out of all the southern states, the only one that doesn’t have a lawsuit pending or offer same-sex marriage (New Mexico does) is Georgia.
Oddly, perhaps all the other states that don’t offer same-sex marriage or have lawsuits pending are northern states: Alaska, Montana, South Dakota, and North Dakota. Including Georgia, that’s five in total.
Out of 50 states, same-sex marriage is secure in 17 states and Washington, D.C. Bans have been ruled unconstitutional in five more states but those rulings are on hold ending appeal.
In short, 28 states and Puerto Rico have lawsuits — often more than one per state — pending to overturn bans on same-sex marriage.
At some point these cases will make their way through the court system and ultimately at least one will go before the Supreme Court. Some say a 2015 Supreme Court case is possible.
For now, it’s wait and see — but not for long.
Just remember, just ten years ago, the map of states that offered same-sex marriage looked like this:
Now is not the time to slow down or stop pushing, but it’s nice to remember we’ve come a long way.
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