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Pat Cline and Patty McKenzie embrace after their wedding at the Milwaukee County Courthouse in Wisconsin in June. / Jeffrey Phelps, AP

Since the Supreme Court ruled a year ago that the federal government must recognize legal same-sex marriages, proponents have won 20 consecutive rulings in lower federal and state courts. Here are highlights from that winning streak:

October 2013: The New Jersey Supreme Court refuses to block state Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson's opinion striking down the state's ban on same-sex marriage. Gov. Chris Christie drops his appeal, making New Jersey the 14th state to legalize gay and lesbian marriages.

November 2013: Hawaii and Illinois become the 15th and 16th states to allow gays and lesbians to marry after Govs. Neil Abercrombie and Pat Quinn sign into law measures approved by Democratic legislatures.

December 2013: The New Mexico Supreme Court makes the state the 17th to permit same-sex marriage when it expands upon actions taken by some district courts and county clerks. A week later, U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby strikes down Utah's prohibition against gay marriage, leading more than 1,000 couples to wed before the U.S. Supreme Court stays the decision in January.

January 2014: U.S. District Judge Terence Kern declares Oklahoma's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional but immediately blocks the ruling from taking effect. Both the Utah and Oklahoma appeals were heard in April by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.

February 2014: U.S. district judges in Kentucky, Virginia and Texas join the juggernaut. In Kentucky, Judge John Heyburn orders the state to recognize gay and lesbian marriages performed in other states. In Virginia, Judge Arenda Wright Allen says banning same-sex marriages is no more constitutional than the state's former ban against inter-racial marriages, which the Supreme Court jettisoned in 1967. And in Texas, Judge Orlando Garcia refers to his colleagues' recent rulings in striking down that state's ban. All three rulings have been appealed; the Virginia appeal was heard in May by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

March 2014: In a case decided after a two-week trial, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman tosses out Michigan's same-sex marriage ban. Gay and lesbian couples tie the knot during the initial hours after the ruling, until it is put on hold by a federal appeals court. The couples, like those in Utah, remain in marital limbo.

April 2014: Ohio joins Kentucky as a state ordered to recognize same-sex marriages performed in states where the practice is legal following the second of two decisions by U.S. District Judge Timothy Black. The first ruling dealt with including a gay couple's marital status on a death certificate.

May 2014: Judges in four states strike down gay-marriage bans, making it the busiest month yet. Arkansas Circuit Judge Chris Piazza's ruling leads several hundred couples to marry before it is stayed. U.S. Magistrate Candy Dale strikes down Idaho's ban. And after U.S. District Judges Michael McShane in Oregon and John Jones in Pennsylvania follow suit, state officials decline to appeal, making those states the 18th and 19th where same-sex marriage is legal.

June 2014: U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb issues the 20th consecutive ruling since U.S. v. Windsor, striking down Wisconsin's ban on same-sex marriage and on recognizing marriages performed in other states. She waits a week before halting such marriages, putting about 550 couples in the same situation as those in Utah, Michigan and Arkansas.



Copyright 2014USAToday

Read the original story: Tracking same-sex marriage rulings in the states

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