Alex Blaze

States to Watch for Marriage and Civil Union Legislation, Round 2

Filed By Alex Blaze | January 28, 2011 9:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Colorado, domestic partnership, Florida, indiana, LGBT, marriage, New Jersey, pennsylvania, Washington D.C.

The other day I posted about various state-level efforts on same-sex partnership recognition, mentioning what's going on in Iowa, Wyoming, Hawaii, New York, Maryland, and Rhode Island. marriage-protest2.jpgReaders let me know that I left a few states out.

Add Florida to that list, which has introduced a bill in its house to recognize domestic partnerships that are the same as marriage in terms of rights. They'd be available to all couples, regardless of the sex of the people in them. (Thanks to Gregg who emailed in a link.)

In Pennsylvania, Republicans took control of the house in 2010 (they already controlled the senate) and may try to pass a ban on same-sex marriage. A commenter wrote that a bill to legalize same-sex marriage may also be introduced in February.

In Indiana, Bilerico contributor Don Sherfick points out that a marriage ban might be sought:

Indeed, Bil. Your and Alex's home state (though I'm not sure he still claims it! [I have family, vote, and bank in that state, so I can't get away just yet. -Ed.]) has seen an earlier proposed amendment (SJR-7) get through the GOP-dominated state senate but fail to get a majority in committee in a House very narrowly controlled by the Democrats. With last November's elections reflecting GOP gains nationally, advocates hope that a new and more onerous measure will gain easy approval.

We all thought SJR-7 was bad enough, but at least its sponsors are on record as claiming it only applied to "activist judges", but left the legislature alone. They even went so far that this is as it SHOULD be in a representative democracy.

But now, without fanfare (or wanting any) the measure (SJR-13 and HJR-6) has been changed to wipe out any real possibility that the rapidly changing attitudes of national and Indiana voters could be reflected in Indiana's laws. The message still focuses only on "unelected activist judges".

Whether or not they will respond to valid questions as to why the change and why they won't entertain ANY modification to recognize the Indiana legislature's powers rights remains to be seen. Stay tuned.

In DC, Congressional Republicans are considering a bill to ban same-sex couples from marrying in the District. While I don't imagine it getting through the Senate, what is it with the unelected (by the people in DC) legislators thinking they can define marriage for other people?

An activist who works with ONE Colorado emailed me to say that the state will be pursuing civil unions later this year.

In updates to the last post, Iowa's senate isn't even passing procedural measures that might help get the marriage ban through, and a Quinnipiac Poll in New York found the highest support for marriage there ever, 56-37.

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Kathy Padilla | January 28, 2011 10:57 AM

"In Pennsylvania, Republicans took control of the house in 2010 (they already controlled the senate) and may try to pass a ban on same-sex marriage."

We'll be fighting that - yet - somehow - at the same time:

we've passed 19 local nondiscrim ordinances - a statewide bill is unlikely in the extreme right now. We passed an inclusive hate crimes bill back in 2002 (overturned in the courts on procedural grounds related to the manner of its passage)- and there are several local nondiscrim bills in the offing.

And a major commitment of funds to continue that work.

"Equality PA was also the recipient of two recent grants that will fuel its work.

The group was the beneficiary of a $100,000 grant ......

The funding will be spread equally over two years and is dedicated to Equality PA’s work on garnering the passage of municipal LGBT nondiscrimination ordinances."

Would'a thunk? Other rights don't have to be completely stifled just because the word marriage is uttered? We can actually walk and chew gum.

I'm so glad to hear this is happening in Pennsylvania. I think we often get stymied by not being able to pass state bills and forget that local ordinances not only help people locally, but also build momentum for statewide change.

Kathy Padilla | January 28, 2011 3:14 PM

I'd suggest that we need to consider the next tier.

How not having inclusive employment nondiscrimination legislation in say Delaware, NH and Hawaii - effects passing an inclusive enda two years from now. And how the efforts for marriage above all else is interfering with passing those laws.

The same people doing this exclusion right now will be saying in 2012-13 that an inclusive enda can't pass because it doesn't exist in just those places. Where they were instrumental in stopping such laws from passing.

So - the same old, same old.

It doesn't have to be that way.

Don Sherfick Don Sherfick | January 28, 2011 3:48 PM

The proposed Florida legislation would appear to be prohibited after voter ratification (November 2008) of a state constitutional amendment that says such unions could not be "recognized". In this instance it would seem that the fact it applied to both same sex and opposite sex "unmarried" couples would not save it.

That's not to suggest it ought not to be introduced in order to keep the public and lawmakers focused on the impact of the amendment.