When was same-sex marriage legalized? A quick history of an LGBTQ rights battle in the US

Marriage equality is a global issue. According to the Human Rights Campaign, there are currently 34 countries in which same-sex marriage is legal. Of those countries, 23 legalized same-sex marriage through legislation, 10 (including the United States) legalized same-sex marriage through court decisions, and two enacted legislation following court mandates.

According to Gallup research, around 10% of LGBTQ Americans were in a marriage with a spouse of the same sex in February 2022. While this represents less than 1% of the total US population, it is a marked increase since the days before same-sex marriage was federally protected.

When was same-sex marriage legalized in the US?

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal across the country with its ruling in the Obergefell v. Hodges case.

According to Supreme Court database Oyez, this case was brought up to the Supreme Court after groups of same-sex couples sued state agencies in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, challenging these states’ bans on same-sex marriage.

Some of these states’ same-sex marriage bans were part of a national movement in response to President George W. Bush’s call for a constitutional amendment banning the practice.

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Same-sex couples were granted the right to marry across the country by the Supreme Court in 2015.
Same-sex couples were granted the right to marry across the country by the Supreme Court in 2015.

Same-sex couples and adoption

In 2003, Massachusetts became the first state to allow same-sex couples to adopt children, according to the Boston Globe — but the journey to national adoption equality was far from over.

In 2016, a Federal District Court voided a law in Mississippi which prevented gay couples from adopting children, according to the Washington Post. The court cited the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling in its decision.

In 2017, the Supreme Court ruled against an Arkansas law which required adoption papers to define parents by gender, eliminating an obstacle to same-sex parenthood. Before this ruling, same-sex couples required a court order to have both parents’ names on their child’s birth certificate, according to AP News.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: When was gay marriage legalized? Obergefell v. Hodges explained