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    May 18, 2004

    Mass. marks first day of legalized same-sex marriage

    First gays marry in the state; many seek licenses

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    As of  
    States performing same-sex marriages:
    States allowing civil unions or domestic partnerships:
    States with constitutional bans on same-sex marriage:

    Same-sex marriage is a widely used term now. But in the early 1970s, there were zero states banning or allowing same-sex marriage, and no states offered civil unions or domestic partnerships. Massachusetts' role in bringing same-sex marriage to the US was part of a much bigger effort:

    What's next?

    NOTE: Map represents when same-sex marriage and civil union laws take effect, not when they are approved or announced. Though the timeline refers to bans by state statute and constitutional amendment, the map of same-sex marriage bans only includes constitutional amendments and not state statutes.

    SOURCES: New York Times, Associated Press, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Wisconsin Department of Health Services, State of Delaware, State of New Jersey Department of Health, State of Hawaii Department of Health, Washington State Legislature, State of Illinois, state statutes

    On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the United States. The court's ruling meant the remaining 14 states, in the South and Midwest, would have to stop enforcing their bans on same-sex marriage. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, just as he did in the court's previous three major gay rights cases dating back to 1996. The ruling will not take effect immediately because the court gives the losing side roughly three weeks to ask for reconsideration. But some state officials and county clerks might decide there is little risk in issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

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    Select a state for news and history about gay marriage in that state.

    Patrick Garvin/Globe Staff