Monday, January 23, 2012

Two New Marriage Equality States?

I don't have much time to write tonight, but I could not let this pass unnoticed.  First (via JoeMyGod), Washington state apparently has enough legislative votes to legalize marriage for gay and lesbian couples!:
Washington United for Marriage, a broad statewide coalition of organizations, congregations, unions and business associations that will work to obtain civil marriage for lesbian and gay couples in Washington State in 2012, today cheered the announcement of Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen’s support of marriage equality legislation in Washington State. The bills, SB 6239 and HB 2516 are being heard in senate and house committees today, Monday, January 23rd.

“Washington United commends and congratulates Sen. Haugen for her support of marriage equality,” said Lacey All, Chair for Washington United for Marriage. “We’ve known for a long time that our stories are powerful, and sharing those stories can change hearts and minds. Hundreds of constituents shared their stories of love, commitment and family with Sen. Haugen, and in doing so convinced her that she was doing the right thing for Washington.”
Second (also from JoeMyGod), Maryland's governor plans to introduce a marriage equality bill tomorrow!:
O’Malley (D) is scheduled to host a breakfast gathering of same-sex couples at Government House and then tout his legislation at a news conference afterward. Aides say O’Malley will be joined outside his residence by supportive legislators, clergy and labor leaders. Word of his plans spread as O’Malley prepared the formal release Monday night of his legislative agenda for the 90-day session that began this month. A same-sex marriage bill cleared the Senate last year but fell short in the House of Delegates. In a bid to attract more support, O’Malley’s bill will include more explicit protections for religious organizations opposed to gay nuptials, aides indicated.
It will be interesting to see if this new marriage equality effort will turn out better for Maryland's gay and lesbian families.

This is really great news, either way. It used to be that gay and lesbian families had to rely on the courts to obtain legal protections -- and then we'd watch while legislatures led the charge to disenfranchise gay and lesbian families. Not so much anymore. More and more, state legislatures (not to mention Washington D.C. itself) have stepped up to legislatively provide equal marriage rights and responsibilities for gay and lesbian families. This is great. This is progress.

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