Was that as good for you as it was for me? Well, technically not me, by me I mean my friends, allies, and kin who want to get married.






Morning of October 6th

On the morning of October 6th, this was what marriage equality looked like across the United States:

In this map, 19 states (and DC) had marriage equality, labeled a light blue. Twelve states, labeled a pale yellow, were states wherein the state had overturned its same-sex marriage ban but wherein a higher court was told to decide the state's fate. The 19 states labeled a dark red were states where marriage equality looked to be far off in the future, as no form of successful legal challenge to same-sex marriage bans had occurred in those states.

Later that day...

Then the US Supreme Court, faced with the challenge of having to hear multiple lower court cases involving marriage equality, chose to not at all hear those cases. In so doing, they basically told those states that the decision of a lower court (saying they had marriage equality) was in effect, and that other states in the same federal districts could enact marriage equality whenever they wanted to. That changed the map to:

Blue-coloured states (24 in total) were those with marriage equality after the US Supreme Court's decision. Six states, in a dark yellow, were those wherein the US Supreme Court's decision basically said they could have marriage equality whenever they wanted to. Six states, in a pale yellow, were those with a successful state overturning of a ban on same-sex marriage but with a higher court date still awaiting. 14 states, in a dark red, had no successful legal challenge against their same-sex marriage ban.


That map was accurate for ... a day, because over the past six days, five more states have added themselves to the club of states and countries that recognize same-sex marriage. Let me try to make a map that shows this in a way that makes sense.

Morning of October 13th

On this map, which is current at least for today, 29 states (and DC) have marriage equality and are marked light blue. Alaska (!?!?!) added themselves to that group last night. Three states, marked with a dark yellow, are states which the US Supreme Court decision last week allowed to enact marriage equality whenever they want to: since last week, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Colorado have used this power to enact marriage equality. The six pale yellow states are those wherein courts have overturned previous bans on same-sex marriage, but wherein the bans remain in place until a higher court acts. The twelve states marked with a dark red are those wherein no successful legal challenge to the state's current same-sex marriage ban has occurred. In all of those states (with the possible exception of Nebraska), there is currently a legal challenge to the ban taking place.

In terms of expanding marriage equality in the United States, this past week has been the biggest in history...but...

But, in various manners, there's still 21 states wherein same-sex marriages are not allowed. This includes the second biggest state, by both population and land area, wherein one of the people running for governor ... well...

In a brief filed with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday, Attorney General Greg Abbott claims that the State of Texas' ban on same-sex marriage reduces out-of-wedlock births, and legalizing same-sex marriage would make different-sex couples less interested in marrying and having children.

Texas's same-sex marriage laws "are rationally related to the State's interest in reducing unplanned out-of-wedlock births," Abbott, who is running for governor against Wendy Davis, claims in the brief, which was filed on Friday.

So there's still some work to be done, in spite of the huge gains made in the past week. And the US Supreme Court basically balked at its opportunity to effectively make same-sex marriage legal across all 50 states, so there's a few tens of thousands of couples in 21 states whose rights are lessened because the US Supreme Court didn't want to upset the fragile balance between federal and states' rights.

Top image courtesy of Tim Cordell via Cartoonstock.com (warning, NSFW content at link). All other images made from a blank US map with mad crazy Photoshop skills.