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Same Sex Marriage

State and federal law concerning same-sex marriage, or gay marriage, has a relatively brief history, beginning with the first lawsuit seeking legal recognition of a same-sex union in 1971. While federal law defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman, for purposes of taxes and other federal matters, marriage is primarily governed by state law. This section covers the history of gay marriage; the federal Defense of Marriage Act; various state laws, constitutional amendments, and court decisions that authorize or prohibit same-sex marriage; how gay marriage compares to civil unions; and more.
Learn About Same Sex Marriage