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12 States Where Same-Sex Marriage Isn’t Legal — But Could Be

by David Badash on July 12, 2013

in Marriage,News,Politics

Post image for 12 States Where Same-Sex Marriage Isn’t Legal — But Could Be

Now that the Supreme Court has ruled on DOMA and Prop 8, a total of thirteen states, Washington, D.C., and several Native American tribes have made marriage equality the law of the land. About 30 percent of all U.S. citizens can now enter into a same-sex marriage or an opposite-sex marriage. Overall, about 55 percent of Americans support extending the institution of marriage to same-sex couples, and that number will continue to grow dramatically, especially as more and more people see gay and lesbian couples living their lives openly.

Right now, there are 37 states that have not extended marriage to same-sex couples. Some are close to supporting equality and ending marriage discrimination, others are years away from doing it on their own.

Over at The Atlantic Wire, Philip Bump wanted to see “which states might be in line to completely legalize marriages between same-sex couples?

We looked at the most recent public polling for each state to try and assess where action might be expected. In only five cases — Wyoming, Oklahoma, Idaho, and the Dakotas — did we need to rely on aggregated regional polling; in every other case, we were able to find at least one poll on the topic. Full poll results (with links) are at the bottom of this post; we took that data and created a few maps.

Via Bump’s excellent research, today, right now, there are 12 states (see map, above,) where the majority of citizens support marriage for same-sex couples, or more people support it than oppose it:

  • New Jersey, 64% support – 30 % opposition (3/2013)
  • Michigan, 57% support – 38 % opposition (5/2013)
  • Virginia, 56% support – 33 % opposition (5/2013)
  • Arizona, 55% support – 35 % opposition (5/2013)
  • Hawaii, 55% support – 36 % opposition (1/2013)
  • Nevada, 54% support – 43 % opposition (2/2013)
  • Oregon, 54% support – 40 % opposition (12/2012)
  • Pennsylvania, 54% support – 41 % opposition (5/2013)
  • Colorado, 51% support – 43 % opposition (4/2013)
  • Illinois, 50% support – 29 % opposition (2/2013)
  • Tennessee, 49% support – 46 % opposition (5/2013)
  • Ohio, 48% support – 44 % opposition (4/2013)

Here’s what America would like like if we added those states into the “support marriage equality” map — making a total of 25 states that would support marriage equality:

25 states marriage

There are two states that are evenly-split on marriage equality:

  • Texas, 48% support – 48 % opposition (1/2013)
  • Indiana, 45% support – 45 % opposition (12/2012)

There are five states that are close to even and/or within the polling margin of error:

  • North Dakota, 44% support – 46 % opposition (aggregated by region, 11/2012)
  • South Dakota, 44% support – 46 % opposition (aggregated by region, 11/2012)
  • Wisconsin, 44% support – 46 % opposition (2/2013)
  • Florida, 43% support – 45 % opposition (12/2012)
  • North Carolina, 43% support – 46 % opposition (4/2013)

And there are 18 states that will need more time — or a Supreme Court decision:

  • New Mexico, 44% support – 51 % opposition (5/2013)
  • Montana, 43% support – 49 % opposition (2/2013)
  • Alaska, 40% support – 57 % opposition (2/2013)
  • Idaho, 40% support – 51 % opposition (aggregated by region, 11/2012)
  • Wyoming, 40% support – 51 % opposition (aggregated by region, 11/2012)
  • Missouri, 36% support – 52 % opposition (6/2012)
  • Oklahoma, 35% support – 56 % opposition (aggregated by region, 11/2012)
  • Kansas, 34% support – 63 % opposition (2/2013)
  • Alabama, 32% support (4/2013)
  • Nebraska, 32% support (10/2012)
  • Louisiana, 29% support – 59 % opposition (2/2013)
  • Utah, 29% support – 71 % opposition (7/2012)
  • Georgia, 27% support – 65 % opposition (12/2012)
  • Kentucky, 27% support – 65 % opposition (4/2013)
  • West Virginia, 26% support – 61 % opposition (9/2011)
  • South Carolina, 21% support – 69 % opposition (9/2011)
  • Arkansas, 18% support – 75 % opposition (10/2012)
  • Mississippi, 13% support – 78 % opposition (11/2011)

With a few exceptions, the above list, (again, from the Atlantic Wire) is in Bump’s order of most-likely to least likely to adopt same-sex marriage.

Of course, regardless of polling, there are other battles to fight, including repealing a myriad of state laws and constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage.

We may have a lot of work left to do, but remember how far we’ve come.


Thanks to the Atlantic Wire and Phillip Bump for their excellent research

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BJLincoln July 12, 2013 at 4:25 pm

I am surprised that Ohio is part of the top 12. Having grown up there, I can tell you that even if the law changes, the people will not. They don't have any state wide laws that protect us and the ban in their constitution is so narrow that it is causing problems for str8 couples as well.
After escaping to Maryland and experiencing a freedom I never had, I realized how bad it truly is. I honestly believe Ohio will not change unless they are forced too and then it will not be rid of the "down home" discrimination for a long time.

gwenandrix July 12, 2013 at 11:49 pm

My guess is that you have been away for a while. Things are changing quickly in Ohio

LOrion July 12, 2013 at 11:20 pm

FB Commenter noted if it passed in Tennessee .. You could do it (Gay Marriage) but still not SAY IT

gwenandrix July 12, 2013 at 11:48 pm

The Columbus Dispatch did a poll in March that resulted in a 54% support of the current effort to repeal the marriage amendment. I collect signatures all over the state of Ohio and get Democrats, Republicans and Tea partiers signing the petition and support is growing.

Whiteboymdew July 13, 2013 at 2:12 am

I agree with the 12 states, except of Tennessee. A poll was also conducted in March of 2013 with only 28% in support of marriage equality. So, I am confused on how 21 point increase within less than 2 months. In this article for Texas it has 48/48 from a January poll. PPP just polled this last week and it got 34/57 which is a 14 point difference. PPP also did the question in January of 2013 with similar results 35/55.

Before I continue I am huge supporter of marriage equality. Also I'm gay and I believe that we can win on the ballot in Nevada, Oregon, and Colorado by 2016. Possibility even Ohio, they have an awesome campaign going on to get it on the ballot. I believe that we can try and override the Governor in New Jersey. I believe could pass the Senate, it is only 1 vote short. The assembly is a larger challenge, but hopefully more democrats or moderate Republicans can support it in the future. I believe we can pass marriage equality in 2013/2014 in Hawaii and Illinois. But, back to the article….

I can't see North Dakota and South Dakota at 44/46 and yes I see the region breakdown. Minnesota and Iowa made likely a majority of the 44%. North Carolina is marked at 43/46 I don't understand how thats possible. Giving they just approved Amendment 1 in 2012 61/39 which everyone said would have been super close and it won by 22 points. (Yes, I know in May of 2012 a Republican Primary)

I would also like to break down Indiana because I feel like its important I feel like it almost mirrors North Carolina. I mean lets face it both went for Obama in 2008 and both have 1 Democrat and 1 Republican in the U.S. Senate, both Democrats from each state came out last for marriage equality. Both with GOP legislatures and governors. Indiana is R+6 and North Carolina is R+4 according the Cook Political. I believe they would have a similar view on marriage equality. Perhaps passing a constitutional amendment 55/45 which would be basically the same to North Carolina's.

Huntercgo July 13, 2013 at 9:30 am

And don't forget lawsuits pending in Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, New Mexico, and Virginia. In Illinois, the state has refused to defend the state DOMA, and the plaintiffs have just asked for summary judgment in the wake of Windsor. In Pennsylvania and I believe, NC, the state AGs are refusing to defend the laws. New Mexico's marriage law doesn't forbid SSM, and the suit is asking for an interpretation in favor of equality. Virginia will most likely fight tooth and nail to preserve discrimination.

It looks like there are more than 12 states in play.

sdfrenchie July 13, 2013 at 11:21 pm

Since Michigan currently has a dictator for a Senator – Rick Snyder – no matter how the people vote, he has made it clear that it is his decision that will rule the day. This include votes for politicians, whereas Snyder declares that no matter who wins the popular vote, he will be the one who decides who gets the position. It's become so bad in Michigan that people are just waiting to be told to use the Nazi salute toward the flag. If people don't get out and vote these tyrants out of office then they deserve what they get and their only option will be to move to a state that meets their approval legal-wise.

This is a trend that is building up in the red states all over America (before people start ranting that it's only in the South) and with new GOP members running for office who swear to turn their states the same as North Carolina. Good luck to the bitch here in California who thinks she can do that here. We'll never let another person hold us down here again.

Today was Pride Day here in San Diego. I never go to the parades but I do what I am most proud of and that is taking care of the home front and fighting off Republicans on Facebook. It's a battle that must never cease until this nation lives up to its Constitution for the first time since its inception and makes everyone free to enjoy their own lifestyle without interference by unjust laws.

We have come a long way and I am so grateful to the non-LGBT people who support our cause. I truly never expected it in my lifetime but not hiding the fact I'm gay proved that more people have accepted me for who I am than for what some want me to be. It's still a great country. It just has bad politics.

getoverit2013 December 1, 2013 at 3:36 pm

Cool. 25 states still have some sense.

istateit December 19, 2013 at 11:48 pm

Well, guess here's an update. Hawaii and Illinois have, since July, passed laws for the legalization of same-sex marriage. New Mexico just recently ruled to legalize same-sex marriage. But unfortunately, the latest data shows that Tennessee has an even LOWER level of support for same-sex marriage than my home state of Texas (which is actually only 10th out of the 50 states when it comes to opposition to same-sex marriage) though the level of support for same-sex marriage in Texas was also found to be lower than was previously stated.

libertpaulian December 27, 2013 at 12:54 am

Add Utah to that list. Looks like they didn't need that Supreme Court ruling to wake them up after all.

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