Nevada House votes to reverse marriage ban
May 23rd, 2013
In 2002, the voters of Nevada voted by a two-thirds majority to amend their constitution to limit marriage to heterosexuals. But attitudes shifted and in 2009 – amidst heavy lobbying from the casinos – the legislature passed an all-but-the-name domestic partnership bill.
Last month, the state Senate became the first legislative body to vote for the repeal of an anti-gay marriage amendment when Republican Senator Ben Kieckhefer (R – Carson City) joined eleven Democrats to support Senate Joint Resolution 13. Today the House followed suit. (LVRJ)
Senate Joint Resolution 13 passed the Assembly on a 27-14 vote, bringing the process to get it to the ballot in 2016 to an end for this year. All the no votes were Republicans.
It must pass again in identical form in the 2015 legislative session before it could go to the ballot. Gov. Brian Sandoval’s signature is not required.
The proposal would remove Nevada’s current prohibition on same-gender marriage from the state constitution, and add new language recognizing same-gender marriage.
It also includes a provision to guarantee that religious organizations do not have to perform such unions.
Rep. Michele Fiore (R – Las Vegas) joined 26 Democrats in finalizing the first step of the repeal process.
Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, R-Las Vegas, spoke in support of the measure.
“When we started this floor session, I introduced my mother to this body, proudly,” she said. “What is currently in our constitution does not allow her to get married. You see, my mom is gay. I love my mom with all my heart, and I am who I am today because of her guidance, influence and how she raised me.”
With the rapid pace of change in popular opinion, a 2016 vote seems almost certainly to favor equality.
A poll conducted by the Retail Association of Nevada earlier this year found that 54 percent of voters want the state constitutional ban on gay marriage repealed, while 43 percent want it to stay in place.
House of Commons officially passes marriage equality
May 21st, 2013
The House of Commons has now passed the third reading of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill by a vote of 366 to 161.
Altogether 133 Tories opposed the bill, along with 15 Labour MPs, four Lib Dems, eight Democratic Unionists and an independent.
So even after all the hand-wringing and fury about Prime Minister Cameron “betraying” the Conservative Party, less than half of the Tories voted in opposition to the bill.
Now it moves to the House of Lords. Expect some rather wacky statements.
SYTYCD supports equality
May 16th, 2013
Kudos to the judges of So You Think You Can Dance for supporting Jessie Tyler Ferguson’s Tie The Knot charity, which either supports marriage equality or the wearing of bow ties (it’s kinda hard to tell, but I think it’s both).
It’s probably not a huge risk, as the audience for SYTYCD is probably pretty supportive, but it’s appreciated anyway. And as equality becomes ever more stylish and status quo, the easier it is to point out how treating each other with dignity and respect benefits us all, and how barriers and discrimination eventually leave us outside in bitterness wondering why the world rejected our pretenses of superiority.
(Oh, and Brian Brown, I did NOT call you a bigot. That was the voice inside your head)
Brazilian Council declares nationwide marriage equality
May 14th, 2013
The National Council of Justice, which oversees the Brazilian judicial system and is headed by the chief justice of the Supreme Court, said government offices that issue marriage licenses had no standing to reject gay couples.
The Supreme Court “affirmed that the expression of homosexuality and homosexual affection cannot serve as a basis for discriminatory treatment, which has no support in the Constitution,” said Chief Justice Joaquim Barbosa on the council’s website, referring to a 2011 ruling by the top court.
Barbosa also said there was no reason for the government’s marriage licensing offices to wait for the Brazilian Congress to pass a law authorising same-sex marriage.
Currently a same-sex couple can create a union in any state in the nation. They then can have a judge rule that union to be a marriage. In 14 of Brazil’s 27 jurisdictions, a marriage license can be provided directly, without the two step process. This appears to resolve the remaining jurisdictions and allow same-sex couples in any state to marry without an extra burden.
The decision can be appealed to the Supreme Court. But as the Supreme Court’s chief justice announced the ruling, I am not clear as to whether such an appeal would be made or has any likelihood of success. So it may be that Brazil is the 15th country to offer nationwide offer marriage equality.
The countries which currently provide marriage equality are:
South Africa (2006)
New Zealand (2013)
And Delaware Makes Eleven
May 7th, 2013
The Delaware Senate voted for marriage equality today. While it was predicted to be a squeaker, the final vote of the 21 member body was 12 to 9. Governor Markell has pledged to sign the bill, so Delaware makes eleven:
2010 New Hampshire
2011 New York
2013 Rhode Island
2010 District of Columbia
And now over 50 Million Americans live in a state that has full equality.
Update: Gov. Jack Markell signed the bill this evening. Marriage equality goes into effect on July 1.
Minnesota House vote on marriage this Thursday
May 7th, 2013
From the Pioneer Press
A bill that would legalize gay marriage will get a vote on the Minnesota House floor Thursday, signaling supporters have the votes to pass the legislation.
As House Speaker Paul Thissen has said that he won’t schedule a vote until he is sure of success, this bodes well. The Senate also seems to be a sure thing.
In anticipation of the response I predict Brian Brown of National Organization for (limiting) Marriage will say:
“Minnesota is not a trend. It’s just a blue state. That doesn’t mean anything, I still have Alabama!! I’m going to win. I am. I am. I am. My Cardinal told me so!”
Minnesota DFL representative Rev. Tim Faust cites religious freedom for his position on marriage bill
May 6th, 2013
Rev. Tim Faust is the pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in rural Minnesota. Faust is also the local representative to the Minnesota House. And he’s been one of the DFL (Democratic) reps from a conservative district about which there has been uncertainty as to how he will vote on marriage. His district supported the (failed) anti-gay marriage amendment last year by about 60%.
Now Faust has decided that it is important to consider religious freedom in the upcoming bill: (SeattlePI)
“We have churches that want to bless legal gay marriages. The only way to give them that option is to pass this bill,” Faust said.
So Faust will be siding with religious freedom and supporting equality. I don’t know if Faust’s church will be one that blesses legal gay marriages, but he is affiliated with Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and ELCA gives its member churches that choice.
Movement in Minnesota’s marriage bill
May 6th, 2013
There’s movement today on the Minnesota marriage bill, but it may be movement sideways. The StarTribune is reporting an impromptu committee hearing:
The House Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to review the legislation Monday. That’s after a state analysis showed a small impact on Minnesota’s general fund.
The analysis by Minnesota’s budget office predicts that if gay marriage becomes legal, 114 state employees would enroll in state benefits for their married partners. That would cost the state about $688,000 a year. But it would be partly offset by about $190,000 from same-sex couples buying marriage licenses.
Minnesota lawmaker chooses integrity
May 3rd, 2013
From CBS Minnesota:
A freshman Democratic state representative from a socially conservative district said Friday that he’d support the bill to legalize gay marriage in Minnesota, a key pickup for supporters as votes on the issue get closer at the Capitol.
Rep. Joe Radinovich, of Crosby, had been undecided. He said he decided more than a decade ago that he personally supports letting same-sex couples legally marry, but was conflicted knowing that many residents of his Brainerd-area district are more skeptical.
“This was not an easy decision, but at the end of the day I’d rather protect my integrity than my job,” Radinovich told The Associated Press. The 27-year-old lawmaker won his seat by just 323 votes last fall.
I believe that by the time he runs again, this vote will likely not cost him. However, we can’t know that so he’s showing courage today. And regardless of the outcome, he gets to hold his head high.
Civil Unions come to Colorado
May 1st, 2013
At Midnight, Anna Sher and Fran Simon became the first couple in Colorado to become civil unioned (civilly unioned?). They were one couple of many that have been waiting for a long time to have the state recognize their relationship and it is a joyous day. Mazel Tov!
April 30th, 2013
In the map above, the dark green nations offer marriage equality. The light green nations are either those which offer civil unions or some variation of partner recognition or those in which some but not all portions of the nation offer marriage or civil unions.
A look at marriage in Brazil
April 30th, 2013
Brazil has an interesting approach to marriage. Since 2011, same-sex couples have been able to register their unions across the nation. And once registered, they could petition a judge to convert that union into a marriage.
However, many of Brazil’s states have eliminated the two-step dance by allowing marriage licenses to be granted directly to same-sex couples. Two more passed marriage equality bills yesterday, bringing the total to 14 of the 27 jurisdictions: the states of Alagoas, Sergipe, Espíritu Santo, Bahía, Piauí, São Paulo, Ceará, Paraná, Mato Grosso do Sul, Rio de Janeiro, Rondônia, Paraíba, and Santa Catarina along with the Brazilian Federal District.
Nine of those were enacted within the last six months (four this month alone).
Delaware Senate Executive Committee votes on Equality tomorrow
April 30th, 2013
The Delaware Senate Executive Committee will meet on Wednesday, May 1, at 2:30. The only item on the agenda is a vote on House Bill 75, the marriage equality bill. Three of the six committee members are sponsors and another has stated his support for the bill, so it is expected to pass.
Equality to come to Rhode Island on Thursday
April 30th, 2013
The Rhode Island House of Representatives will vote on Thursday to approve the minor changes made to the marriage equality bill by the Senate. Gov. Lincoln Chafee has announced that he will sign the bill on Thursday evening at 5:45 PM. Rhode Island will become the tenth Equality State.
Northern Ireland narrowly rejects equality
April 29th, 2013
Northern Ireland leaders in the Assembly have narrowly voted against same-sex marriage today (29 April).
Out of the 97 members of the legislative assembly, 47 voted in favor while 51 voted against.
That’s a lot closer than I would have projected. And as Ireland changes its constitution to include equality and as the rest of the United Kingdom enacts civil marriage, soon Northern Ireland will feel the discomfort of fitting nowhere.
History to be made in Rhode Island
April 23rd, 2013
Freedom to Marry is reporting that a new threshold is about to be crossed.
Today all five Republicans in the Rhode Island Senate announced their support for S38, the marriage bill to end the statewide exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage, and their intention to vote for it on the floor. The bill passed easily in the Rhode Island House of Representatives in January, and the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to hold a vote on it today. This will be the first time ever that a party caucus in a legislative branch — Republican or Democratic — will have voted unanimously in favor of freedom to marry legislation.
If the National Organization declares war on these Republicans – and they will – they are going to seem even less relevant in New England than they already do.
Delaware marriage bill moves to House
April 17th, 2013
Today a House Committee in Delaware met to review the marriage bill.
The legislation, which Gov. Jack Markell has pledged to sign if passed by lawmakers, was scheduled for discussion Wednesday in the House Administration Committee.
The committee approved the bill by a vote of 4 to 1. It now goes to the House floor.
Remember just a few years ago when a story like this one would be the lead in every newscast in the country?
Patti Davis: Nancy Reagan supports gay marriage
April 17th, 2013
“She does,” Davis said in response to the question. “I’m hesitant to speak for anyone else, and she’s not comfortable going out in the public eye and getting in the firing line of anything. So, you know, I want to be cautious about speaking on someone else’s behalf. But let me put it this way: I think if she had disagreed with what I said publicly about my father she would have said something publicly.” Davis chuckled and added, “Let’s just put it that way. That’s the most sort of politically correct way I can answer that question.”
I heard Nancy Reagan recently on CNN speaking to Anderson Cooper about Margaret Thatcher’s death. And while she sounded very old and frail, she had her wits about her. So it will be interesting to see if she acknowledges Patti’s comment or in any way responds.
Colombia debates equality
April 17th, 2013
After a bumpy start, the Colombia Senate will open its debate on a proposed gay marriage bill on Wednesday, April 17.
It’s uncertain how things will go. But whatever the vote, the Colombian Supreme Court has determined that same-sex couples will have the right to marriage on June 20th. This is the Senate’s chance to establish the means, method, and parameters.
UPDATE: the debate has been postponed until Tuesday, April 23rd.
Ireland moves towards equality
April 17th, 2013
For years, Ireland’s politicians have said, “I support gay marriage, truly I do, but the constitution won’t let me vote for equality.”
That’s changing: (CS Monitor)
Ireland’s Constitutional Convention, a body set up by the government to propose wide-ranging changes to Ireland’s Constitution, voted Sunday, with 79 percent in favor of extending marriage rights to same sex couples.
The next step is likely a referendum. The Irish, living in a good Catholic country, overwhelmingly support equality.