Sep 16 2013

 

 

 

Freedom-to-marry-sign

While enormous amount of energy has been focused on international LGBT issues especially with the situation in Russia, the epic battle for marriage equality is still continuing here in the United States. Currently over 30% of the population of the USA lives in a state that either has marriage equality or honors out-of-state marriages of same sex couples.

Significant activity is happening that could dramatically impact the number of states that have marriage equality.

Here is an update.

Hawaii:

Governor Neil Abercrombie has called for a special session of the Hawaii legislature to pass a marriage equality bill. The special session starts on October 28th. The Governor claims there are the votes and he will sign the legislation. If passed, marriage equality could start in the Aloha State by the middle of November.

Illinois:

What at one time looked like a sure bet the issue of marriage equality seems to need a good swift kick in the ass in Illinois. Since the failed vote on May 31, supporters have not really changed one mind according the Windy City Times. There is an opportunity to reconsider the bill in a 'veto session' that will take place on October 22 to 24 and November 5 to 7. If the votes aren't there then it more likely to be in January. Advocates for marriage equality are targeting sixteen legislators.

Pennsylvania:

The Keystone State and New Jersey are the only two states in the Northeast that don't have marriage equality. In Montgomery County, the County Clerk on his own began to issue marriage licenses. On September 12, Commonwealth Judge Dan Pellegrini order the clerk to stop. The ACLU does have a lawsuit pending in federal court claiming that the Pennsylvania law banning marriage equality is unconstitutional. The Attorney General, Kathleen Kane, has refused to defend the ban on marriage equality.

New Mexico:

Counties around New Mexico continue to join others in issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. Now over 60% of the population is covered by marriage equality. The Republicans in the state are going to court to stop the marriages taking place. The New Mexico State Supreme Court will hold a hearing on the issue on October 23.

Colville Tribal Council:

The Colville Tribal Council in Washington voted to recognize marriage equality.

Ohio:

A major effort was announced in Ohio to launch a public education campaign to change voters minds. The last poll in the state should those for and against marriage equality were tied at 47%. Among the organizations pledging to spend about $2 million are Equality Ohio Education Fund, Freedom to Marry, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Ohio. The campaign is called "Why Marriage Matters Ohio".

Indiana:

Republicans in the Indiana legislature want to put in the State Constitution a ban on marriage equality. A major effort is underway to stop that effort with Freedom Indiana leading the way. The most recent poll showed that 54% of the people were against such a ban and only 38% supported it!

Oregon:

Oregon United for Marriage is leading the effort to collect signatures to put on the 2014 ballot a measure that would overturn the state's Constitutional Ban on marriage equality. The last poll showed that 54% of the people favored overturning the ban and only 40% wants to keep the ban.

New Jersey:

Although polls show that 64% of the voters approve of marriage equality and both Houses of the legislature passed it, Governor Christie is the reason we don't have marriage equality in the Garden State. Efforts are underway by Garden State Equality to obtain the votes to override the Governor's veto.

Nevada:

Freedom to Marry reports, "On May 23, 2013, the Nevada Assembly voted in favor of a legislative measure that begins the multi-year process of repealing Nevada's anti-marriage constitutional amendment and replacing it with the freedom to marry. The vote came after a victory in the Nevada Senate on April 22.

The resolution will now need to be approved again during the next legislative session, in 2015, and if it is successful then, the measure will be placed before Nevada voters in November 2016. "