Friday, June 5, 2009

RI/PA: The next marriage fights?

With the addition of four states into the marraige equality family over the last few months, the question becomes: what next? With 29 state constitutions specifically banning same-sex marriage, 19 of which (including Ohio) ban marriage and other forms of recognition, what do we do? There are two states left with no statutes or amendments defining marriage as between a man and a woman -- Rhode Island and New Mexico. We'll get to that in a moment. 

Ten states only have a statute passed by the legislature defining marriage -- HI (some rights granted), WA (everything but marriage), MD (some rights granted, possible out of state marriages recognized), WY, MN, IL (civil union bill recently died), IN, PA, WV, and NC. In theory, these are the states where the DOMA's can be overturned by legislative action, which would be the next big step before we start taking on voter-enacted laws (only California looks likely at this point, with recent polls showing an even split at 47-48 for-against).

Daniel Leach (D), State Senator in Pennsylvania, will be introducing a bill next week allowing same-sex marriage in that state. In short: the next round of states is starting to teeter, and this round is harder than the last. Especially because a Constitutional amendment has also been proposed in the state banning same-sex marriage. *sigh* Really? Again: I thought we were done with those. But yet we carry on.

Meanwhile, in Rhode Island, protests are planned at the statehouse asking the legislators to pass a same sex marriage ... after 12 years of action. (On the flip side, they haven't moved against marriage, either.) The state seems to be torn between the relative progressive nature of the populace, and the overwhelming conservative leadership and the influence of the Roman Catholic church. In short: don't expect anything anytime soon, but it's nice to dream, innit?

And, finally, nothing is happening in New York but everyone is acting like it has.

As for New Mexico, that final state with no laws where you'd think it would be easy to squeeze through considering it's relative supportive atmosphere... zero. Zilch. Nada. Well, sort of maybe... in 2009, the statehouse defeated a DP law. So, maybe not completely supportive. *sigh*

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