Here's a look at how states are handling the question of gay marriage:

— California: Has a law defining marriage as between one man and one woman; recently enacted legislation creating new rights for domestic partners, though there is an effort to repeal the law by putting the issue to a referendum.

— Connecticut: There are competing efforts on the legislative front to allow gay marriage or civil unions, and another to create a law defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

— New Jersey: A Superior Court judge this month dismissed a lawsuit brought by seven gay couples that sought to make same-sex unions legally recognized. Gay rights advocates have said they'll appeal.

— Massachusetts: Highest court became the first in the country Monday to rule that its state constitution guarantees gays and lesbians the right to marry, and also ruled a ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

— Vermont: Was the first state to allow civil unions between gays.

— Thirty-seven states have laws defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

Source: Human Rights Campaign