State DOMA Laws

State Laws Limiting Marriage to Opposite-Sex Couples

Updated February 26, 2014

Following the U.S. Supreme Court decision on June 26, 2013, reinstating the federal distrcit court decision that overturned Proposition 8 in California, 35 states have defined marriage as between a man and a woman in state law. Most states do so by adopting “defense of marriage” language that defines marriage in a way similar to the language in the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) —“the word 'marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.” Other states prohibit same sex marriages or marriages between persons of the same sex or gender.

Twenty-nine states have placed that language in their state constitutions, usually adopted by the state’s legislature and by a popular vote.  (26 of these states also have statutory provisions adopting this language). Six states have only statutory language that defines marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman.




State Laws Defining Marriage as a Relationship between a Man and a Woman

For more information on defense of marriage acts (DOMA) and same-sex marriage issues, please contact Rochelle Finzel in the Denver office at 303.364.7700 or

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