42% of Americans live in 21 states with various forms of IA, MA, NH, NY, VT, WA); civil union (DE, HI, IL, NJ, RI); or domestic partnership (CA, CT, DC, CO, MD, ME, NV, NM, OR, WI). Since 1993, all American states have taken positions on marriage equality.
Each state allows — or bans — various forms of marriage via its state constitution, via its state laws, or via both its constitution and its laws. Some states have full marriage equality, some states have restricted equality, and some states ban all forms of marriage except one-man-one-woman couples. At least 14 federal lawsuits challenging the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act have been filed in the trial courts and appeal courts across the nation since 2009.
In 2012 alone, lawmakers, judges, and voters in 16 states, as well as federal judges and Congress, will decide whether to allow — or ban — various levels of marriage equality.