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Prior to 2015, same-sex marriage was legal in just 37 states and the District of Columbia. But in 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a landmark decision—Obergefell v. Hodges—that all states must license and recognize marriages between same-sex couples, leading to a large increase in the number of same-sex marriages. Currently, same-sex married couples acount for about 1% of all married couples in the U.S., according to 2020 Census Bureau data.
Prior to Obergefell v. Hodges, a separate 2013 Supreme Court ruling required the federal government to recognize state-sanctioned same-sex marriages, extending federal benefits to same-sex couples married in those states. Research by demographers at the University of California Los Angeles School of Law shows that there were an estimated 230,000 same-sex married couples in 2013, accounting for 21% of all same-sex couples. By June 2015, when same-sex marriage was legalized across the country, the number of same-sex marriages was 390,000, or 38% of all same-sex couples. Just a few months later, in October 2015, the number of same-sex marriages had increased to 486,000, or 45% of all same-sex couples.