Data in Equality

The right to marry in USA, 1970–2015, visualized.

They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed.

It is so ordered.

June 26, 2015—the day when the US Supreme Court ruled that commitment to love has no gender boundaries. By announcing that the 14th Ammendment is a mandate for states to recognize same-sex marriage (and also those performed in other states), the Supreme Court paved the way towards marriage equality across the US, no questions asked.

It all started in Wyoming, where the Domestic Relations Code explicitly forbids same-sex marriages by definining marriage to be one between a man and a woman. It is unknown when this code was instated.




Marriage is a civil contract between a male and a female person to which the consent of the parties capable of contracting is essential.

The first recorded instance of intervention in same-sex marraiges was in Maryland, dated January 1973. Many states followed suit—some event meddled with the Constitution to make it illegal for same-sex couples to wed.

However, 42 years down the road, the 300-million strong nation finally committed to equality—that marriage, the ultimate commitment to love, should be sex agnostic.


I have recently started working with d3.js, and therefore I am always on a lookout for interesting new data to visualize. Amidst the celebration after the Supreme Court's announcement, I came across this animated gif on the Internet, by David Mendoza (@sen_mendoza):

The path towards full marriage equality in one GIF: #lgbt #SCOTUSMarriage

— David Mendoza (@sen_mendoza) June 26, 2015

Data collection

Most of the data are the distillation of what is kindly provided by Greg Stoll (@gregstoll), with further information about same-sex marriage rulings (constitutional or statutory) being combined from an amazing non-map-based visualization by Katie Park (@katiepark):

Here's how we got to having same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states and DC:

— Katie Park (@katiepark) June 26, 2015

Data are charted using d3.js and coloured using the palettes from Color Brewer by Cynthia Brewer and Mark Harrower from Penn. State.

Population data (1970–2010) are from the US population census by the United States Census Bureau.

Legality of same-sex unions in USA, 1970–2015

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Terry Mun

Data collected and chart designed by Terry Mun, a molecular biologist working on his PhD thesis with Aarhus University, but also a photographer, coder, web developer and designer in his free time. He currently lives in the beautiful city of Aarhus, Denmark.

Terry likes guys. It is so decided.

You can find him on GitHub and Twitter.