Four states—Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington—will vote on marriage equality this November. New Left Media is creating a four part series on the experiences of same-sex couples who want to get married in each of those states. The first video in the series is “Marriage for All Families: Stories from Maine.”
Some facts on same-sex marriage in the U.S.
- The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), enacted in 1996, prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages and allows each U.S. state to refuse recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states.
- Since 2004, six states have legalized same-sex marriage: Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont, as well as the District of Columbia, and two Native American tribal jurisdictions—the Coquille tribe of Oregon, and the Suquamish tribe of Washington State
- Maryland and Rhode Island recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions.
- California, which briefly granted same-sex marriage in 2008, now only recognizes them on a conditional basis. The period of granting such licenses began on June 16, 2008, due to a ruling by the Supreme Court of California based on an equal protection argument, and ended November 5, 2008, due to the passage of Proposition 8, an amendment to the California Constitution that limited marriages to those between one man and one woman.
- Laws legalizing same-sex marriage in Washington and Maryland were passed in 2012, but each will be subject to a referendum during the November 2012 elections.
- Maine will vote on an initiative to establish same-sex marriage in November of 2012.
- Nine states have laws that prohibit same-sex marriage and thirty prohibit it in their constitutions.
- Various national polls now show that a majority of Americans support same-sex marriage.
- On May 9, 2012, Barack Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to publicly declare support for the legalization of same-sex marriage.