Same-sex marriages, also known as “gay marriages”, have historically been a matter of state laws. Thus, states had the option to recognize whether or not they would recognize a “legal marriage” or other potential relationship and benefits for same-sex couples.
On June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples had the right to exercise the fundamental right to marry in all U.S. states. Ultimately, this action preempted all state marriage laws and legalized same-sex marriage.
Prior to this historical ruling, there were states that did recognize and afford some or all of the legal aspects of marriage to same-sex marriage. This did, though, result in challenges as many other states and federal laws didn’t afford the same benefits and recognition.
Of the US states, there were 12 that had constitutional and state laws banning same-sex marriages in their entirety, prior to the June 26, 2015 ruling.
Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas
Nebraska also banned same-sex marriages, with the ban being due to Constitutional Amendment only.