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Marriage is a legal relationship between two individuals – usually one man and one woman.  To make a valid marriage, the parties must be willing to contract, able to contract, and have actually contracted to be married. While the specific requirements for a valid marriage vary by state, all valid marriages between a man and a woman performed in one state must be recognized by every other state under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution.

Until 2004, same-sex couples couldn’t wed anywhere in the country. Now, gay marriage is legal in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire.

Several other states have enshrined voter-approved prohibitions blocking same-sex marriage in their state constitution as a way to keep state judges from overturning the bans.

Inside Marriage