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When was same-sex marriage legalized in the U.S.? Is it legal in all 50 states?

Published Tuesday, Nov. 15th, 2022

Photo by Kampus Production

Same-sex marriage was legalized in all 50 states on June 26th, 2015, when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality at the federal level in Obergefell v Hodges. 


Obergefell v Hodges was decided by a close 5-4 vote, and included petitioners from several states and several separate cases. One of the most memorable of these is the original plaintiff, Jim Obergefell, who initially sued the state of Ohio for refusing to recognize his marriage on his deceased husband John Arthur’s death certificate. 


* June 26th, 2015 * 
SCOTUS ruled in favor of marriage equality in Obergefell v Hodges


Although same-sex marriage was already legal in many states by 2015, over a dozen other states still had bans in place – either in their statutes or written into their state constitutions. 


This meant that same-sex couples living in conservative states like Texas or Florida (where gay marriages were illegal) had to travel to states like New Mexico or Iowa (where gay marriages were legal) to be married. 


When they returned home, their rights as a married couple might be limited, if their marriage was recognized at all. 


Thankfully, the SCOTUS Obergefell v Hodges ruling invalidated all state bans and made them unenforceable. Same-sex couples were finally able to marry in every state.




While same-sex couples were finally able to legally marry in any state, finding an inclusive and welcoming wedding officiant who would marry them could be challenging. 


In many places, especially rural or conservative areas that had previously banned gay marriages, couples were frequently turned away by ordained ministers and other clergy who didn’t agree with the new law. 


That’s where online ordination comes in: Online churches like American Marriage Ministries stepped up to provide – and still provide – an affordable and accessible pathway to minister ordination, ensuring that all people have the opportunity to solemnize marriages, and that all couples have the opportunity to choose who officiates their wedding.





Free online ordination through AMM helps to protect the right of all adults to become ordained ministers, conduct weddings, and to be married by someone who respects and loves them – regardless of their sex, gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, or other qualities that have previously been used as barriers to ordination or marriage by traditional churches.




Marriage equality today… 


Same-sex marriage rights are supported by 71% of Americans (via this Gallup poll), but recent changes in the Supreme Court's reading of the Fourteenth Amendment have made LGBTQ+ couples and their allies concerned about the future of marriage equality. 


In response, lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate are taking steps to enshrine same-sex marriage rights at the federal level (The Respect for Marriage Act). 


Learn more here: When will same-sex marriage be codified? (And what does that even mean?)



Looking for an inclusive wedding ceremony script? 


Same-Sex Wedding Ceremony Script

with Reflection on Marriage Equality

Two young Black woman hold up their hands to the camera to show off their wedding rings following the marriage ceremony

This sample wedding script includes a sweet officiant speech, a quote from the Supreme Court's Obergefell ruling on marriage equality, a ring and vows exchange, a blessing, and more. Use as-is or customize it! Written by ordained AMM Minister & songwriter Karen E. Reynolds.

See the script. 



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A couple is married by a wedding officiant outdoors, wearing strands of flowers and vibrant colors

Learn what it takes to become an ordained minister and start performing weddings. 

Learn more. 



Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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