1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

US to recognize gay marriage in new states

October 17, 2014

The US government has announced that it will recognize gay unions in seven new states after the Supreme Court rejected appeals against its ban. The number of states legalizing same-sex marriages is likely to grow.

Community supporters of gay rights hold signs that read 'I Do Support the Freedom to Marry' gather at Los Angeles City Hall after US Court of Appeals upholds Federal District Court ruling that Proposition 8 which prohibited gay and lesbian couples from marrying is unconstitutional in Los Angeles, California, USA, 08 February 2012 (Photo: EPA/MICHAEL NELSON)
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

The states affected by the decision of the US government's Justice Department are Colorado, Indiana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.

In total, 26 of the 50 US states now consider same-sex unions legal, with gay couples receiving the same legal rights and federal benefits as married heterosexual partners.

"We will not delay in fulfilling our responsibility to afford every eligible couple, whether same sex or opposite sex, the full rights and responsibilities to which they are entitled," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a video message on Friday.

"With their long-awaited unions, we are slowly drawing closer to full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans nationwide," he added.

Judges across the country struck down bans on gay marriages in the past two weeks, encouraging gay and lesbian couples to wed in an ever-increasing number of states. On October 6, the Supreme Court let stand rulings of three appeal courts that rejected bans on gay and lesbian wedlock. Last week, the court snubbed appeals from the states of Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin, which had prohibited homosexual marriage.

'A great day'

The ruling cleared the way for gay marriages to become legal in Arizona on Friday. The state's attorney general said he wouldn't challenge the federal court's decision.

However, Arizona's conservative governor, Jan Brewer, said in a statement that federal courts were interfering in the state's powers to regulate laws. "Simply put, courts should not be in the business of making and changing laws based on their personal agendas," Brewer said. "It is not the role of the judiciary to determine that same-sex marriages should be allowed."

The announcement was hailed by gay couples across Arizona as they began to line up at the downtown courthouse in Phoenix to tie the knot.

David Larance and Kevin Patterson, who were among the same-sex couples that challenged the state's ban on gay marriage, were the first to get a marriage license.

"This is a great day," Patterson said. "I never thought this would happen in Arizona."

shs/es (AP, Reuters, AFP)