36 States and Counting: Mapping the Legalization of Gay Marriage

For many states, legal same-sex marriage came long before the U.S. Supreme Court took up the issue.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will ask two questions: Do states have to allow same-sex couples to marry? And should they recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere?

In many states, the answers won't matter. Same-sex marriage is already legal in 36 states and the District of Columbia, beginning with Massachusetts in 2004.

But 14 others have held fast to constitutional bans barring gay couples from marrying. That includes Alabama, where a ban struck down by federal courts in February was subsequently supported by the state's Supreme Court.

National Journal Graphics

Stephanie Stamm contributed to this article