What state will be next to pass marriage equality?
Currently we have: Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont, with Maine, Maryland, and Washington joining them shortly.
California will probably be next, as Prop 8's days are numbered, IMO. But which ones after that? There are rumblings in Illinois. New Mexico is the only state left that neither recognizes nor explicitly bans it. Is there any kind of push there?
What are the odds NJ will try again in the next couple of years? Are there enough Dems in the state legislature now to override another inevitable veto by that fat-ass governor?
By DAVID KLEPPER Associated Press
PROVIDENCE, R.I. May 1, 2013 (AP)
Rhode Island appears poised to become the nation's 10th state to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry after a legislative panel voted Tuesday to forward same-sex marriage legislation to the full House for a final — and largely procedural — vote.
The outcome of Thursday's House vote is not in doubt, as the House overwhelmingly passed an earlier version of the bill in January. The Senate passed the bill by a comfortable margin last week, but it had to return to the House because of small changes made in the Senate.
"We're one step closer," said Sen. Donna Nesselbush, D-Pawtucket and the bill's sponsor in the Senate. "Every step is important and every step is exciting."
Gov. Lincoln Chafee is expected to sign the bill into law quickly after it passes the House.
Nine states and the District of Columbia now allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. Heavily Catholic Rhode Island is currently the only New England state that doesn't allow gay marriage, although bills legalizing it have been introduced every year since 1997.
There was little testimony at Thursday's brief hearing on the legislation— a big departure from the hours-long hearings earlier this year and in previous years that attracted hundreds of people on both sides of the debate. With the bill all but passed, most opponents stayed away.
Testimony focused on the changes made to the bill by the Senate. The bill that passed the House stated that religious institutions may set their own rules regarding who is eligible to marry within the faith and specifies that no religious leader is obligated to officiate at any marriage ceremony. The Senate added language to ensure that groups like the Knights of Columbus aren't legally obligated to provide facilities for same-sex weddings.
Supporters said they could live with the changes.
"I ask you now for what I hope will be the final time: please pass these bills," said Kate Montiero, a member of Rhode Islanders United for Marriage and a longtime leader of the state's gay and lesbian rights movement. "Please finally bring marriage equality to Rhode Island. It is in the end what it has always been, just plain fair."
Only three people spoke out against the bill at the hearing, saying gay marriage should be illegal and would lead to a moral decline in the state.
The first gay marriages in Rhode Island could take place Aug. 1, when the legislation would take effect. Civil unions would no longer be available to same-sex couples as of that date, though the state would continue to recognize existing civil unions. Lawmakers approved civil unions two years ago, though few couples have sought them.
Governor Lincoln Chafee says he will sign Rhode Island‘s marriage equality bill into law at 5:45 PM EDT on Thursday.
The House will vote and is fully expected to pass the bill on Thursday. The vote, called “largely procedural,” ties up a few loose ends after last week’s Senate passage, with a 26-12 vote.
The full House already passed the bill in January, by a 51-19 vote.
From 2009:By ABBY GOODNOUGH
Published: April 4, 2009By ABBY GOODNOUGH
Published: April 4, 2009
BOSTON — The Iowa Supreme Court’s approval of same-sex marriage on Friday gave advocates an important first victory in the nation’s heartland, thwarting the notion that only the Northeast will accept it.
But for now, New England remains the nucleus of the same-sex marriage movement, with a campaign under way to extend marriage rights to gay men and lesbians in all six of the region’s states by 2012.
Massachusetts has allowed same-sex marriage since 2004, and Connecticut began allowing it last fall. The Vermont Legislature just voted to let same-sex couples marry, and supporters hope to gather enough votes to override a veto promised by Gov. Jim Douglas, a Republican.
New Hampshire is not far behind; its House of Representatives approved a same-sex marriage bill last month. The legislatures in Maine and Rhode Island are considering their own versions, though they are not as far along in the process.
Across New England, advocacy groups have been raising money, training volunteers and lobbying voters and lawmakers as part of a campaign they call “Six by Twelve,” led by the legal advocacy group that persuaded the Supreme Courts in Massachusetts and Connecticut to allow same-sex marriage in 2003 and 2008.
Equal rights advocates said Friday that while the Midwest in general was culturally and politically different from the Northeast, Iowa shared New England’s independent streak and so was a logical place to file another court challenge.
“We picked Iowa because many of us who don’t live in the Midwest might think of it as being a conservative monolith,” said Jennifer C. Pizer, marriage project director for Lambda Legal, which argued the Iowa case. “But people who know Iowa have been saying for some time that it is different from its neighbors. There’s a tradition of independence and willingness to stand up on issues of fairness.”
As in most New England states, voters in Iowa cannot initiate constitutional amendments, a common strategy for blocking same-sex marriage elsewhere. In California, voters last fall amended the State Constitution to ban such marriages after a court decision made it legal. The California Supreme Court is considering a petition to overturn the ban, but many legal scholars have predicted that it will be upheld.
Proponents of same-sex marriage in California are building support among voters in hopes of making it legal there, probably through another ballot measure in the next few years. And at least six states outside New England (Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York and Washington) have same-sex marriage bills before their legislatures this year, but none are expected to pass.
Critics say the success of the movement in New England is largely because courts and legislatures, not voters, are making the decisions. Voters have approved constitutional bans on same-sex marriage in 26 states since the Massachusetts law, a landmark, took effect; the constitutions of four other states also limit marriage to heterosexuals.
“Activists have targeted these states because they think it’s going to be easier to convince legislators than the populace,” said Brian Brown, executive director of the National Organization for Marriage, a group established to fight same-sex marriage. “They’re doing everything they can to keep the public from having a part in this process.”
But Prof. David H. Watters, director of the Center for New England Culture at the University of New Hampshire, said there were also deep-rooted cultural reasons for the momentum here.
Same-sex couples have found acceptance in New England for over a century, he said, especially among its large intellectual class. In the late 1800s, marriage-like relationships between upper-class women in and around Boston were so common that a phrase — “Boston marriage” — emer
"Boston Marriage" is a new one for me. Interesting.