November 9, 2012
By Jacob Combs
Preserve Marriage Washington, the anti-marriage equality group that led the campaign against Washington’s Referendum 74, conceded yesterday that it had lost the vote on the measure in Tuesday’s election, the AP reported last night. With about 75 percent of precincts reporting, Referendum 74 looks like it will be approved with about 53 percent of the vote, a similar measure to the results for Maine’s Question 1. Washington United for Marriage, the state’s pro-equality group, declared victory on Wednesday.
With Tuesday’s four marriage equality measures all but settled, one in five same-sex couples now live in a state where they can marry, according to the Williams Institute. (Adding just California, by the way, would almost double that number to 35 percent.) But just because Referendum 74 and Questions 1 and 6 passed on Tuesday, couples in Washington, Maine and Maryland won’t be ringing the wedding bells right away. Via the Human Rights Campaign, here’s a state-by-state rundown of when couples in the three states will finally be allowed to wed.
- In Washington, Referendum 74′s passage means the state’s marriage law will take effect on December 6, when marriage licenses will be available at the county level. Washington’s marriage law will recognize out-of-state marriages between same-sex couples, so there is no need for couples married in other jurisdictions to ‘re-marry’ in the state or register their marriage. The state’s domestic partnerships, which grant the rights but not the title of marriage, will automatically convert to marriages on June 30, 2014, unless they are dissolved beforehand. Domestic partnerships will continue to be allowed for couples in which one member is over the age of 62.
- Maryland’s marriage equality law will take effect on January 1, 2013, at which point marriage licensees will be made available. As in Washington, couples married in other jurisdictions will not need to ‘re-marry’ or register in Maryland, due to a 2010 advisory opinion by the state Attorney General recognizing out-of-state marriages.
- In Maine, Question 1′s marriage law will go into effect 30 days after the governor ‘proclaims’ Tuesday’s election results. That can only occur after all the ballots are officially counted, so it is unclear right now when the exact date of enactment will be, although it will very likely be before the end of the year. We’ll post here at P8TT when we have an exact date. Maine will continue to offer domestic partnerships will limited rights, but they will not be automatically converted into marriages. These domestic partnerships will end, however, when either one of the registered partners enters a marriage (including one between both partners).
- In Minnesota, Amendment 1′s defeat has no impact on the state law prohibiting marriage equality.
In other marriage equality news, French President Francois Hollande’s cabinet is pushing a bill that would bring equal marriage rights to the country next year, despite growing opposition from French conservatives:
The French leader’s top ministers approved the bill legalizing marriage and adoption for same-sex couples, sending it to the legislature for debate, only one day after two American states, Maine and Maryland, became the first in the U.S. to approve same-sex marriage in a popular vote.
Polls show a majority of French support gay marriage, but it has divided the country’s left and right, with lawmakers from the conservative UMP denouncing the Cabinet approval Wednesday.
Also this week, on Tuesday, Spain’s highest court upheld the country’s marriage equality law in a seven-year old lawsuit filed by the conservative Popular Party:
On Tuesday, Spain’s Constitutional Court upheld the legality of the country’s gay marriage law, which was approved in 2005 when the country’s parliament was Socialist controlled.
The court rejected an appeal contending that marriage in the constitution means only the union of a man and woman. The county’s top court voted 8-3 to dismiss the appeal filed by the conservative Popular Party.
The Popular Party took power late last year after the Socialists were ousted over their handling of the country’s economic crisis.