Saturday, February 18, 2012

Marriage: Making Progress

Gov. Gregoire at the signing ceremony
This past week had some major moves on marriage equality in several states. Most of the moves were good, but not all.

Last Monday, Governor Chris Gregoire of Washington signed the state’s marriage equality bill into law. Now that the bill has been signed, opponents of equality pretty much have the go-ahead to start gathering signatures to put a repeal on the ballot for this coming November. They have until July 6 to collect 150,577 signatures to do so.
Both houses of the New Jersey state legislature have passed that state’s marriage equality bill. Unfortunately, the bill hit a wall in the form of Governor Chris Christie and his veto. Given how the vote shook out in the legislature, they were pretty far short of the 2/3 majority needed to override the veto. That’s the bad news. The good news is that they have until the end of the legislative session (which is in 2014) to muster the votes. In the Senate, the need about 3 more votes, but the climb is steeper in the House. It’s an uphill battle, but at least there are almost two years to fight it.

I couldn't resist using this pic of Gov. O'Malley
In Maryland, the House of Delegates passed the state’s marriage equality bill. It now goes to the Senate where it is expected to pass (it passed the Senate last year but died in the House). The Senate is expected to vote this coming week. Governor Martin O’Malley has pledged his support and was one of the main movers of the bill, so is signature is pretty much a done deal. Should the bill pass and be signed, it is expected that equality opponents, like their counterparts in Washington, will try to get a repeal of the bill on the ballot for November. Luckily, support for marriage equality is at about 50% compared to the opposition being at about 44%. But remember, it’s all about turnout.

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