As attitudes about gay marriage have evolved over time, a patchwork of laws and state constitutional amendments regulating the practice has spider-webbed across the country. An equally patchwork series of pending legal challenges and decisions at various levels of the court system striking down the remaining bans have left many marriages in legal limbo.
A recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court not to hear cases in which gay marriage bans were overturned means those decisions may now be enforced, functionally legalizing gay marriage in those states. Future decisions by federal appeals courts that strike down marriage bans -- like one by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Idaho and Nevada -- will likely not be stayed pending appeal. Unless the Supreme Court decides to take the case (highly unlikely given they just passed on several others), gay marriage will then be legalized in the states ruled by that particular court, creating an extremely fluid situation in states that do not already have legal gay marriage.
Banned, but challenged in court.
Ban struck down, marriages stayed pending appeals.
Affected by recent SCOTUS decision, gay marriage possible soon.
Gay marriage is legal.
Map by Charles J. Johnson and Kurt Gessler with the help of Google Fusion tables. Sources: The Pew Forum, the New York Times, Lambda Legal.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun