The new year begins with two new states offering civil unions.
Currently, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and Washington, D.C. have marriage equality.
New Jersey, Illinois and Rhode Island offer civil unions that are equal to marriage by law but have been fraught with complaints about unequal treatment.
California, Colorado, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Washington state and Wisconsin have a variety of domestic partnership laws that offer some recognition and benefits.
New York, Illinois and Rhode Island were 2011 additions.
The Republican-controlled legislature in New Hampshire has a pending bill to repeal marriage equality in that state, but the governor has promised to veto it, if passed.
The new year also brings a new law in California that recognizes LGBT contributions along with those of other groups in the state’s education curriculum.
And although Prop. 8 stopped same-sex marriage in the state, California will begin granting divorces to couples who were married in the state but cannot divorce elsewhere.