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This week in same-sex marriage


I keep neglecting to link to tacithydra's excellent and thorough set of same-sex marriage entries.

A bunch of info I'm not seeing anywhere else, along with recommendations for things you can do, especially if you live in a state where things are happening.

The list of such states (and locales) has been getting longer. The latest news: today (Tuesday), the Maine House of Representatives passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, by a vote of 89 to 58. I gather it's going back to the state Senate tomorrow, though I'm a little unclear on the process; I think it's expected to pass there again (as it did before), at which point I think it goes to the governor.

Tacithydra has a great detailed entry showing the history of same-sex marriage in Maine and the amazing things that have been happening there in the past few weeks. Including video clips of some of the testimony at the hearings. Also a couple of ads that have been running in Maine—I'm delighted to see them showing actual queer couples with children, giving the lie to the "same-sex marriage hurts kids" propaganda.

(In California, my understanding is that the focus groups said that ads showing actual queer people would backfire. I dunno, maybe that was true. But the ads that appeal to the heart seem to me way more effective than the stern "fairness" ads that we ran here in CA.)

Here's a lovely quote from Maine state representative Sara R. Stevens (D-Bangor), testifying to the House today I think:

The only argument I can come up with to oppose this bill is economics. ... If this bill passes and we make history today, I have no idea how I'm going to afford ... the sheer number of wedding gifts I'm going to have to buy. [laughter] So I have decided today to let everyone know that my wedding gift to everyone is my vote today. Forty years from now, or a hundred years from now, I want my grandchildren [tearing up], my great-grandchildren to know that I stood on the right side of history. And when history classes debate this, and they think about what happened way back when in Maine, that they also think "I hope I stand up on the right side of history." ... I look at this cold spring day, and I say on behalf of my very supportive community ... today is a very good day to make history.

I just dropped Rep. Stevens a note in email thanking her for that.

Anyway, so if the bill passes Maine's state Senate, it goes on to Governor Baldacci's desk. He's a Democrat, but he's previously been opposed to same-sex marriage—but he recently phoned a blogger and hinted that he would sign, after seeing some of the testimony in the hearings. Fingers crossed.

The big news for tomorrow (Wednesday), in addition to Maine's Senate vote, is that the New Hampshire House will be voting on their own bill—this is the one that amazingly passed the state Senate a week ago after everyone was sure it would fail; the House has already voted for the bill, so the vote tomorrow is on accepting some minor amendments that were made in the Senate. If it passes the House, then it goes on to Governor Lynch, who again is a Democrat who's previously opposed same-sex marriage, but who hasn't outright said that he'll veto. I've seen speculation that he'll sit on the bill until it automatically passes into law so that he won't have to either sign or veto it; that's just fine with me.

But wait: there's more. Washington, DC has now formally and officially voted to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. (They started down this path a week or two ago, but today was the final vote on the question.) The US Congress can still veto this decision, and I've seen speculation/predictions all over the map about whether that'll happen or not. But it's a good sign regardless, and is widely considered to be the first step toward the District legalizing same-sex marriage.

And that's not all! In New York, the state Senate majority leader decided not to introduce Gov. Paterson's bill to legalize same-sex marriage after all—but the Judiciary Committee of the state Assembly (House equivalent) is going to go ahead and consider a bill anyway, possibly next week.

Heady, exciting times we're living in. Even if all of this fails—even if both governors veto, and Congress rejects the DC law, and New York doesn't pass their bill, and the California Supreme Court rules (in less than a month) in favor of Prop 8—even if none of that ends up working out this time around, we've already made astonishing gains in the past few years, and even more astonishing ones in recent weeks. Massachusetts in 2004. Connecticut in 2008. Vermont and Iowa so far in 2009.

And that's just the actual marriage states. New York and Washington, DC are poised to recognize marriages from elsewhere. California, despite Prop 8, has domestic partnerships that are marriage in all but name—yes, the name is important, and we'll keep fighting for it, but what we've already got is pretty impressive when you consider how things were ten years ago. New Jersey also has all-but-name, I believe—and a NJ official state commission has declared that that's insufficient. And the Washington state legislature has just passed an all-but-name bill that the governor says she'll sign.

Recent polls show that roughly 40%-50% of Americans are in favor of same-sex marriage, depending on the poll and on how the question is asked. A majority of Americans are in favor of at least civil unions. And 58% of adults under 35 years old are in favor of same-sex marriage.

We're going to win this. It may take some time; it may even take a couple of decades. But we're making amazing progress now, and there will be more to come.

PS: In this entry, I'm barely skimming the surface of all the excellent info that tacithydra has put together. Really, go read it, especially the "what you can do" parts.


Signed in Maine. Thank you Governor Baldacci.

Congratulations Maine, Civillywedd.com, the place to be if you are LGBT.

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