The marriage equality movement in 2013
doubled the number of states where gay and lesbian couples can marry.
Moving into the marriage equality
column this year were Rhode Island, Illinois, Hawaii, Minnesota, New
Mexico, Utah, California, New Jersey and Delaware. (Illinois' law
takes effect in June.)
The fight in the three most recent
entrants – New Mexico, Utah and New Jersey – played out in the
courts, where proponents leveraged a landmark June ruling by the U.S.
Supreme Court to boost their cases.
In New Jersey, lawyers argued that the
high court's decision to strike down a key portion of the Defense of
Marriage Act (DOMA) left gay couples in a New Jersey civil union
unable to access federal benefits suddenly available to gay married
couples. Lawyers in Utah argued that the high court's ruling was a
clear signal that state marriage bans are unconstitutional.
Litigation against Proposition 8,
California's voter-approved gay marriage ban, lasted nearly 5 years,
while gay couples in Utah were marrying less than six months after
three couples filed suit against the state.
Utah is expected to ask the U.S.
Supreme Court to block the lower court's ruling, possibly as early as
Monday, and is expected to fight the case all the way to the high
Republicans back plan to spend $2 million defending gay marriage
However, the quick turnaround in deep
red Utah, home of the Mormon Church, an ardent opponent of marriage
equality, bodes well for advocates, who have 32 more states to win.