"Defense of marriage acts" (DOMA)
State DOMA laws in the U.S.
DOMA legislation in various states:
Article IV, Section 1 of the US Constitution states that "full faith and credit
shall be given in each state to the...judicial proceedings of every other state."
Thus, if one state legalizes same-sex marriages (SSM), and a couple is married in that state,
then the remaining 49 states and the District of Columbia may be required to recognize that marriage.
However, if a state
passes a law expressly prohibiting SSMs before they become available
somewhere, then some legal authorities believe that they would not be compelled
to recognize marriages that were legally solemnized in other jurisdictions.
These beliefs have not been tested in the courts. There seems to be a growing
consensus that such laws cannot withstand a legal constitutional challenge, since
they violate equal access and equal protection clauses present in the Federal
Constitution and most state Constitutions.
Timeline of DOMA developments:
|Starting in 1995, bills were written in various states that were
often called "Defense of Marriage Acts"
(DOMA). Their intent was to outlaw SSMs and to refuse to recognize such
marriages recognized in other states. Many have been passed and signed into law.
Updated lists are
available online. 1,2,3 |
|From 1995 to 2000, during the first six years of DOMA
legislation, the following states passed
laws, modified their constitution, or adopted executive orders to ban same-sex
|1995: One state: UT|
|1996: 15 additional states: AK, AZ, DE, GA, ID, IL, KS, MI, MO, NC, OK, PA, SC, SD,
In two states (AL, MS) state governors adopted an executive order declaring same-sex
|1997: Nine additional states: AR, FL, HI, IN, ME, MN, MS, ND, VA. |
|1998: Four additional states: AL, IA, KY, WA. Also:|
modified the state constitution to specifically discriminate against
gays and lesbians. |
|HI voters modified their state constitution
to allow their legislature to discriminate against gays and lesbians.|
|1999: One additional state: LA|
|2000: California Proposition 22 to restrict marriage to
opposite-sex couples was passed by the voters on 2000-MAR-7. |
On 1996-FEB-20 Ed Fallon delivered a moving speech in the Iowa House
against the DOMA bill in his state.
|By 2004-FEB: A total of:|
|33 states had passed DOMA laws banning same-sex marriage:
Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho,
Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan,
Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota,
Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee,
Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.|
|5 states had passed ballot initiatives banning same-sex
marriage: Alaska, California, Hawaii, Nebraska and Nevada.
|During 2009-JUN: The Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) stated that:|
|30 states had constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage, and|
|41 states had DOMA legislation banning same-sex marriage.|
However, the TVC's website graphic showing the
status of same-sex marriage, DOMA legislation and DOMA amendments was last
updatged during 2008-NOV. It was hopelessly out of date by mid-2009.
During the first half of 2009 when the Supreme
Court in Iowa legalized SSM, and the legislatures in all but one of the New
England states legalized SSM, the court or legislature simply repealed the
state's DOMA act as part of the ruling or legislation legalizing SSM.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- A listing of activity on a state by state basis is available at: http://www.ftm.org/
It does not seem to have been updated recently.
- A frequently updated activity list is at the Lambda Legal Defense and
Education Fund at: http://www.lambdalegal.org/
- Sonja Swiatkiewicz, "Connecticut Attempts to Protect Marriage,"
Focus on the Family, 2003-FEB-21, at:
- "SPECIAL REPORT: 50-State Survey Of Marriage Protection Amendments," Traditional
Values Coalition, 2009-NOV, at:
http://www.traditionalvalues.org, Downloaded on 2009-JUN-17. As noted above,
the graphic is badly out of date.
Copyright © 1995 to 2009 by Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 1995-SEP-11
Latest update: 2009-JUN-17
Author: B.A. Robinson