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Sexual Orientation Policy Tally

The term “sexual orientation” is loosely defined as a person’s pattern of romantic or sexual attraction to people of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or more than one sex or gender. Laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation primarily protect or harm lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. That said, transgender people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual can be affected by laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation.

Gender Identity Policy Tally

“Gender identity” is a person’s deeply-felt inner sense of being male, female, or something else or in-between. “Gender expression” refers to a person’s characteristics and behaviors such as appearance, dress, mannerisms and speech patterns that can be described as masculine, feminine, or something else. Gender identity and expression are independent of sexual orientation, and transgender people may identify as heterosexual, lesbian, gay or bisexual. Laws that explicitly mention “gender identity” or “gender identity and expression” primarily protect or harm transgender people. These laws also can apply to people who are not transgender, but whose sense of gender or manner of dress does not adhere to gender stereotypes.

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Marriage & Relationship Recognition Laws

States with the freedom to marry do not ban same-sex couples from entering into legal marriages. Some states also offer comprehensive relationship recognition, such as domestic partnerships or civil unions, to same- and opposite-sex couples. Laws allowing same-sex couples to marry can also benefit bisexual and transgender people in same-sex relationships.

United States Map
Vermont New Hampshire Washington D.C. Maryland Delaware New Jersey Connecticut Rhode Island Massachusetts Alaska Hawaii California Oregon Washington Nevada Utah Arizona Idaho Montana Wyoming Colorado 33 Texas North Dakota South Dakota Nebraska Kansas Oklahoma Minnesota Iowa Louisiana Arkansas Missouri Mississippi Florida Georgia Tennessee South Carolina North Carolina Wisconsin Illinois Michigan Indiana Kentucky Ohio West Virginia Maine New York Pennsylvania Virginia Vermont New Hampshire
  • Marriage equality for same-sex couples(50 states + D.C.)
  • Comprehensive civil union or domestic partnership law (6 states + D.C.)
  • State has targeted religious exemption law (see note)
Kansas permits faith-based organizations to deny services to married same-sex couples. North Carolina permits state officials to decline to marry couples of whose marriage they disapprove. For additional information, contact Freedom to Marry, Lambda Legal, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders or ACLU LGBT Rights Project.

Additionally, several Native American jurisdictions extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. These jurisdictions are federally recognized sovereign nations and therefore can create their own policies around same-sex partnerships. The following is a list of Native American nations that have legalized same-sex marriage followed by the year in which the ruling was made. Several nations passed laws to offer the freedom to marry, whereas others have issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples based on a reinterpretation of tribal codes. For more information please see: NativeOut

  • The Coquille Tribe in Oregon (2009)
  • The Mashantucket Pequot Tribe in Connecticut (2010)
  • The Suquamish Tribe in Washington (2011)
  • The Tribal Council of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians in Michigan (2013)
  • The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians in Michigan (2013)
  • The Santa Ysabel Tribe in California (2013)
  • The Colville Tribal Council of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Nation in Washington (2013)
  • The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes in Oklahoma (2013)
  • The Leech Lake Tribal Court in Minnesota (2013)
  • The Puyallup Tribe in Washington (2014)
  • Tlingit and Haida Tribes in Alaska (2015)
  • The Oneida Tribe in Wisconsin (2015)
  • The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community in Michigan (2015)

Percent of LGBT Population Covered by Laws

100%

100 % of LGBT population lives in states with marriage equality for same-sex couples

13%

13 % of LGBT population lives in states with comprehensive civil union or domestic partnership laws

Key
  • State has this law Indicates a positive law for same-sex couples
State Marriage Comprehensive civil union or domestic partnership law Ruling in favor of marriage equality from appellate courts. Marriage available to same-sex couples pending further action Out-of-state marriages recognized, but same-sex couples may not marry in-state Year Passed
Total 50 states + D.C. 6 states + D.C. 0 states 0 states
Alabama State has this law 2015
Alaska State has this law 2014
Arizona State has this law 2014
Arkansas State has this law 2015
California State has this law 2013
Colorado State has this law State has this law 2013 (civil unions); 2014 (marriage)
Connecticut State has this law 2008
Delaware State has this law 2013
District of Columbia State has this law State has this law 2010 (marriage); 2006 (domestic partnership)
Florida State has this law 2015
Georgia State has this law 2015
Hawaii State has this law State has this law 2012, 2013
Idaho State has this law 2014
Illinois State has this law State has this law 2011 (civil unions); 2013 (marriage)
Indiana State has this law 2014
Iowa State has this law 2009
Kansas State has this law 2015
Kentucky State has this law 2015
Louisiana State has this law 2015
Maine State has this law 2012
Maryland State has this law 2012
Massachusetts State has this law 2004
Michigan State has this law 2015
Minnesota State has this law 2013
Mississippi State has this law 2015
Missouri State has this law 2015
Montana State has this law 2014
Nebraska State has this law 2015
Nevada State has this law State has this law 2009 (civil unions); 2014 (marriage)
New Hampshire State has this law 2010
New Jersey State has this law State has this law 2007 (civil unions); 2013 (marriage)
New Mexico State has this law 2013
New York State has this law 2011
North Carolina State has this law 2014
North Dakota State has this law 2015
Ohio State has this law 2015
Oklahoma State has this law 2014
Oregon State has this law State has this law 2008 (domestic partnership); 2013 (out-of-state marriages); 2014 (marriage)
Pennsylvania State has this law 2014
Rhode Island State has this law 2013
South Carolina State has this law 2014
South Dakota State has this law 2015
Tennessee State has this law 2015
Texas State has this law 2015
Utah State has this law 2014
Vermont State has this law 2009
Virginia State has this law 2014
Washington State has this law 2012
West Virginia State has this law 2014
Wisconsin State has this law 2014
Wyoming State has this law 2014
Data current as of 11/22/2016
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