February 22, 2012
By Matt Baume
The fight’s not over in Washington: the governor may have signed the bill last week, but the campaign to overturn is just ramping up. Meanwhile, there’s incredible momentum for marriage around the country, with legislators passing bills in Maryland and New Jersey, a civil unions bill advancing in Colorado, and brand new legislation popping up in West Virginia and Rhode Island.
This week, watch for new developments in the Prop 8 case. Yesterday was the deadline for the Proponents to petition for a rehearing at the Ninth Circuit. Or, if they want to skip the rehearing and go directly to the US Supreme Court, they could seek a stay so that they have time to file their petition. The deadline for a petition to the US Supreme Court is May 7th.
In the mean time, get ready to hear a lot about Referendum 74. That’s the freshly-assigned name for the anti-gay industry’s attempt to overturn the new marriage equality bill in Washington state. They’ll be allowed to start collecting signatures in about three weeks, and they have until June 6th to collect about a hundred and twenty thousand — which really means they’ll need about a hundred and fifty thousand. Connect with WashingtonUnitedForMarriage.com to find out the latest on Washington’s marriage equality bill.
And while we gear up in Washington, there’s lots to do in New Jersey. Lawmakers passed a marriage equality bill this week, which was then vetoed by Governor Chris Christie on Friday. We’ll have until 2014 to override Christie’s veto, which means up to two years of lobbying lawmakers or campaigning for more supportive replacements.
Maryland’s House of Delegates passed a marriage equality bill late on Friday. It now moves to the Senate, which passed a similar bill last year; and then on to the Governor, who supports the measure.
Numerous prominent Republicans pushed for the bill’s passage, including AFER Board Member Ken Mehlman, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and some guy named Dick Cheney.
Lately it seems like every success in one state spurs more advances in others. Right on the heels of our Ninth Circuit win in the Prop 8 case, marriage passing in Washington, victories in New Jersey and Maryland, Delegate John Doyle has introduced a civil union bill in West Virginia. Meanwhile, his anti-gay colleagues have introduced three separate bills that would add an anti-gay marriage ban to the state constitution.
And after a bitter fight last year, Rhode Island legislators have introduced a brand new marriage bill for 2012 this week. And in case it doesn’t pass, they’re hedging their bets with a second bill that would repeal anti-gay provisions in last year’s civil union law.
In national news, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has endorsed a bid to add marriage equality to the official platform of the Democratic Party. The Department of Justice has announced that it will no longer defend Title 38, a DOMA-like law that prohibits the Army from recognizing the marriages of LGBT service members. And a new survey shows that 69% of American Catholics favor some form of relationship recognition, whether marriage or civil unions. That’s pretty good, but new data from the UK is even better: there, 61% of Catholics favor full marriage equality. And a new Australian poll shows that support 80% of youth 18 to 24 year olds support marriage equality.
Those are the headlines, visit MarriageNewsWatch.com for more on all those stories and more, and to sign up for breaking news alerts. And check AFER.org for updates on the federal fight to overturn Prop 8. We’ll see you next week.