Today Minnesota, where voters last fall rejected a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, becomes the 12th state to give homosexual unions the same legal status as heterosexual unions. The state legislature approved the bill yesterday, and Gov. Mark Dayton plans to sign it this evening. Minnesota is the third state to legalize gay marriage in the last 10 days, following Rhode Island on May 2 and Delaware on May 7. The nine other states are Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York, where legal recognition of gay marriage was approved by the legislature or by voters, plus Connecticut, Iowa, and Massachusetts, where courts required the change.
California, where Proposition 8 amended the state constitution to overturn a state supreme court ruling requiring equal treatment of gay couples in 2008, could join the latter group, depending on how the U.S. Supreme Court rules on a challenge to that initiative. Of the remaining 37 states, 29 have constitutional amendments banning gay marriage. Eight states have neither legalized gay marriage nor banned it by constitutional amendment: Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Wyoming. The District of Columbia legalized gay marriage in 2009.