Thursday, February 19, 2009

Marriage Equality Spreading

In New Jersey a poll was recently conducted by The Monmouth University/Gannett which finds:

"48 percent of New Jersey residents favor gay marriage, with 43 percent opposed.

Fifty percent oppose amending the state Constitution to ban gay marriage. Forty-one percent favor such a ban."

In Rhode Island we find:

"The fight for marriage equality in the Ocean State will be front and center on Thursday,February 26, as the Senate Judiciary Committee hears testimony pertaining to two bills - one prohibiting same-sex marriage and the other granting equal access to marriage for same-gender couples."

In Vermont:

Nine years after becoming the first state to permit civil unions, Vermont moved a step toward legalizing gay marriage Friday.

Vermont lawmakers introduced a bill that would allow gay marriage in the state that created civil unions for same-sex couples. The bill, sponsored by state Reps. Mark Larson and David Zuckerman, of Burlington, was introduced Friday, with the backing of 59 legislators.

In nine years, the atmosphere in Vermont has changed, said Rep. David Zuckerman, a co-sponsor from the Progressive Party.

"Nothing significant changed for many, many Vermonters nine years ago. There was this great fear. And what we've really seen in the last nine years is that fear was unfounded," he said.

New Hampshire:

CONCORD — Laws to repeal civil unions and ban gay marriage and to legalize gay marriage will be on the docket in hearings before the House Judiciary Committee Thursday.

New Hampshire Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson, a vocal gay rights leader who delivered the invocation at one of the inaugural events last month for President Obama, will be one of those testifying in favor of gay marriage legalization. The legislation is sponsored by Democratic representatives Jim Splaine and Paul McEachern of Portsmouth.

If passed and signed into law by Gov. Lynch, who signed civil union legislation in 2007 but has opposed gay marriage in the past, gay marriage would go into effect on Jan. 1. It would recognize marriage as, according to the bill’s text, “the legally recognized union of two people. Any person who otherwise meets the eligibility requirements of this chapter may marry any other eligible person regardless of gender.”

The bill would also give same gender couples who entered into a civil union before the enactment of this bill the right to obtain the legal status of marriage.

Splaine said the 2007 civil unions legislation, of which he was a prime booster, was a “move toward full equality” but it was time to take next step. Since the law went into effect on Jan. 1, 2008, more than 600 same-sex couples been joined in civil unions. If it passes, New Hampshire would join fellow New England states, Massachusetts and Connecticut, as the only ones legalizing gay marriage.

Last but certainly not least is Maine. Maine seems to be targeted by the opponents of equality as their most likely state to influence. Tony Perkins made a special trip to Maine recently:

Sunday, February 15, at 6:00 pm, Family Research Council President Tony Perkinswill headline a Stand for Marriage rally at the Augusta Civic Center in Augusta, ME.

In Maine, State Senator Dennis Damon has introduced a bill, “An Act to End Discrimination in Civil Marriage and Affirm Religious Freedom,” that would extend recognition to the marriages of same-sex couples. If it passes -- and Governor David Baldacci, among others, says he's at least open to the idea -- Maine would join Massachusetts and Connecticut (and, briefly, California) in recognizing the marriages of gays and lesbians.

Looks to me like the opponents of marriage equality have their work cut out for them. They can for the moment still count on the ignorance of the masses being slightly in their favor. However, these battles are now being decided by elected representatives who are educated on their misinformation campaigns, and they have seen in the election results of Massachusetts and abroad that they need not fear losing their seats while defending liberty.

1 comment:

Kim Schultz said...

Great encouragement to myself and others to see the numbers here listed all on one page. There is still alot of work to do here, but I definately feel better knowing the work is getting done.