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By Matt Baume
Minnesota passes a marriage bill, bringing the total to twelve states with the freedom to marry. Can we make it thirteen? Time’s running out for Illinois to pass its marriage bill this year. And even with public support for marriage soaring, numerous states may be stuck with marriage bans for years to come.
It’s going to be a busy summer. Marriage equality goes into effect in Minnesota and Rhode Island on August First, and in Delware on July First. About 53 million people now live in states with marriage.
But work in those states isn’t done. Many of the lawmakers who stood up for equality will face challenges in elections from anti-LGBT candidates. It’s important to defend the politicians who voted in favor of the freedom to marry. Minnesotans United for All Families has announced that they’ll convert the organization into a political action committee that will work to make sure those supportive lawmakers are re-elected.
Over in Illinois, the legislative session is scheduled to end in less than two weeks. Time is quickly running out for a vote on that state’s marriage bill, which Governor Patrick Quinn has pledged to sign. Visit EQIL to learn more and to find out how you can help.
Polling in Illinois is strong, with 50% for marriage and 29% opposed. And national support continues to grow as well, with a new Gallup poll showing 53% favor marriage to 45% opposed. This is the fifth consecutive Gallup poll to show marriage equality at or above 50 percent.
We have several additional surveys this week that show growing support in more conservative states. In Michigan, it’s at 58.6 percent, an increase of 12 and a half points in just the last year. In Virginia, it’s 55 percent, a ten point increase in two years. And it’s 55 percent in Arizona, with 35 percent opposed.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that all three of these states — and twenty seven others — have constitutional amendments banning marriage equality. That means that even with a majority of public support, those states are still stuck with marriage bans for the time being. Changing those state constitutions will be a slow and expensive process.
In Nevada, for example, a repeal of the state’s constitutional ban just passed an Assembly Committee and now heads to a full floor vote. It’s expected to pass, but then it’ll have to wait two years before it can advance to the next round of voting. And then it’ll be 2016 before the repeal finally makes it to the ballot.
But there are other avenues for marriage equality to win. In Nevada and Hawaii, for example, there are lawsuits challenging the state’s constitutional ban. Because they’re covered by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the lawsuit’s on hold pending a Supreme Court ruling on Proposition 8. If the court upholds AFER’s previous victory, it could dramatically accelerate the marriage equality process in Arizona across the entire country.
And we’re closer than ever to a resolution on Prop 8. The deadline for the Supreme Court to rule is the end of June. Subscribe here on YouTube and at AFER.org for breaking news alerts and to find out how you can help support the cause of equality for all.
By Matt Baume
More victories as a marriage bill clears hurdles in Minnesota. And there’s progress in neighboring states as well. But soon, constitutional amendments in 30 states could delay any further success for years to come.
Marriage equality is moving fast in Minnesota. By the time you watch this, the Senate may already have voted on a bill. It passed the House late last week, and passage in the Senate appears likely. From there, it goes to Governor Mark Dayton, who has pledged to sign it. This would bring the total number of states approving the freedom to marry up to 12, an increase of three in just the last month.
Governor Pat Quinn of Illinois is also pushing hard for a vote on a marrage bill. A February poll showed 50 percent support for marriage in Illinois, with just 29 percent opposed.
Marriage could be on the ballot this year in Ohio, with fundraising and signature-gathering well underway. And in Pennsylvania, a new Franklin and Marshall poll shows support for marriage at 54 percent to 41 percent.
Across the country in Nevada, a committee heard testimony on a marriage equality bill last week. but that bill still faces numerous votes and hearings, and the soonest it could appear on the ballot is 2016.
At this point, we’ve picked up several states in a very short amount of time, but this state-by-state approach could soon slow our momentum. Nevada isn’t the only state with a lengthy timeline and a lot of work before we gain the freedom to marry. Thirty states have constitutional amendments banning marriage. Overturning those amendments is going to be a lot harder and slower than passing bills in legislatures or even at the ballot box.
It’s going to take a lot of time, hard work and money. But there’s one thing that could accelerate the process: a Supreme Court ruling that marriage is a fundamental constitutional right. A federal ruling could either overturn all of those state bans at once; or it could establish a heightened level of scrutiny that would make the bans easier to challenge.
That’s why AFER’s case to overturn Prop 8 before the US Supreme Court is so important. And we’re closer than ever to a resolution on that case. Subscribe here on YouTube and at AFER.org for breaking news alerts and to find out how you can help support the cause of equality for all.
At the American Foundation for Equal Rights, I’m Matt Baume. We’ll see you next week.
By Matt Baume
Another state finally recognizes the freedom to marry, bringing the national total to ten. With work accelerating in Delaware and Illinois, that could increase to eleven or twelve in the next few weeks. Civil unions start in Colorado, and a civil union bill in tiny Arizona town could bring about civil unions for the whole state.
At the American Foundation for Equal Rights, I’m Matt Baume, and welcome to Marriage News Watch for May 6, 2013.
It’s a huge victory in Rhode Island this week, as years of work culminate in the passage of a marriage equality bill. The Rhode Island legislature has considered marriage bills every year since 1997. Now it’s finally the tenth state where gay and lesbian couples can wed. Marriage equality now covers the entire northeast, about 14 and a half million people.
Rhode Island weddings will start on August First.
But another state may beat them to the punch. Delaware’s Senate is scheduled to vote on a marriage bill on Tuesday, and if it passes weddings there could start in July. This vote could be very close. With several legislators declining to state their position, it could still go down in defeat. Visit EqualityDelaware.org to find out how you can help support it.
We may also see a vote in Illinois this month. Governor Patrick Quinn has been lobbying heavily for a marriage bill. He estimates that a roll call on SB10 could come before the end of May. But as in Delaware, the vote in Illinois could be close, and defeat is still a real possibility. Visit EQIL.org to support the effort there.
Civil unions launched last week in Colorado. Couples lined up at midnight to get licenses, with officials expecting that thousands of couples may take advantage of the new protections. Now work turns toward full equality in Colorado. A Public Policy Polling survey from last April showed 53% support for marriage, with 40% opposed.
We’ve also seen some movement towards civil unions in neighboring Arizona. Despite initial resistance from the state Attorney General, the small artist town of Bisbee is working on a limited civil unions ordinance. Although it would fall far short of full equality, which the state constitution prohibits, Bisbee’s law could be used as a model for other Arizona towns seeking to protect LGBT families. A Public Policy Polling survey from 2011 showed that 72% of Arizonans support some form of relationship recognition.
And Oregon is about a year and a half away from voting on a marriage equality ballot measure. Early polling is encouraging, with 49 percent supporting marriage and 42 percent opposed. But there’s still lots of time for those numbers to change. Basic Rights Oregon is leading the charge, visit BasicRights.org to support their work.
Meanwhile we’re closer than ever to resolution on the Prop 8 and DOMA cases. Subscribe here on YouTube and at AFER.org for breaking news alerts and to find out how you can help support the cause of equality for all.