Throughout 2011, 2012 promised to be a big, volatile year for Marriage Equality, and, less than two weeks in, it hasn’t disappointed. With state legislative sessions beginning all over the country, jump starts on social bills like these are causing a stir. Here are up to the minute updates on all your favorite (or not) states:
New Hampshire already has Marriage Equality. It’s been there since New Year’s Day 2010 (two whole years for those of you playing at home). There is now a bill being fast-tracked through senate which would strip these rights away from the almost 2,000 gay couples (as well as countless future others) who have married in the “Live Free or Die” state.
Please sign this petition to members of the New Hampshire Congress and urge them to stop this bill. It’s going to be shuttled through this coming week.
Now that I’ve got your signature, let me calm your jangled nerves.
It is likely that this bill will pass. However, the Governor has unabashedly pledged to veto it. It’s unlikely they’ll have the votes to override this veto. The current law isn’t exactly safe as kittens, but there’s a fairly dependable guard dog outside.
Why, then, would anyone bother with such a (hopefully) doomed bill?
Could it be a bullying reason? Our opponents know we are pushing a boulder up a hill, state by state, with passing Marriage Equality. They want us to feel despair, that they can take it all away from us anytime they like. We’ll never be able to sit back and relax if bills keep coming in and out. If they can’t have what they want, they don’t want us to ever go to sleep, like all those Roe v. Wade watchmen.
Could it be a cynical reason? The recent New Hampshire Republican primary, long considered to be “First in the Nation,” needed to draw out strong numbers of Republican voters. The economy is a good enough reason to draw out the cane-shakers, but what if it was economy PLUS social decay? The hotly debated, close-to-a-vote marriage bill forced the GOP candidates to all speak at length on their views, but, alas, the primary drew poor numbers. There was a huge registered Republican drop-off from eight years ago.
Or, most likely, could it be a misguided reason? Republicans want to get out the vote. They want the youth, just like the kind that sprang Obama into the White House. They may have the middle-aged vote locked with this social issue, but the Republicans still have to learn that LGBT rights are a generational issue. Young Republicans may be head over heels for fiscal fussiness, but the vast majority of them won’t stand for this. I think, and I hope, that the 2012 Election will teach The Grand Old Party a lesson that homophobia doesn’t win elections anymore. It sinks them.
Last year, a Marriage Equality bill went through the Senate, but fell short of necessary votes in the House. Well, they’re at it again, but this time, they will have more active support from Governor Martin O’Malley (not the former host of Nickelodeon’s GUTS but rather the Governor of Maryland). We saw from New York that a bill of this nature’s chances greatly improve with active support from the governor. Andrew Cuomo is still riding high off that win. New York’s economy is now 35% mugs with two grooms on it.
What else has changed since last year? Not much. The Senate is expected to pass this swiftly within the next 90-day session, and like last year, a handful of key votes is needed to persuade House members. It’s better to do this kind of thing early in the year, rather than at the end like last time, so that Congressmen can’t complain that this is distracting from financial matters that need sorting out at the last minute.
Also, as always, the biggest takedown came from a splintering Democratic base, mostly African-American in Maryland, who would spend Sunday after Sunday in church listening to “pastors spen[d] entire services devoted to preaching against marriage equality and any politician willing to support it.”
Wouldn’t prayer time be better spent on wishing for a job? Or is that not how it works?
Go to Dan Savage-run Seattle-based site The Stranger, and at the top you’ll find an updated ticker about the votes needed in the Senate to pass the newly filed Marriage Equality bill for Washington State.
As it stands now, 25 YES votes are needed. They have 23 YES, 20 NO, 6 UNDECIDED. There are links to each of the Undecideds web pages, with contact info for you to make your case to them.
Current YES voter Sen. Ed Murray pleas for us to “put the champagne away and take out the checkbook.” Sometimes these down to the minute crucial votes take years, if ever, to sway. The pressure must be on to secure the votes. Even then, a “Prop 8″-like referendum WILL go on the ballot in 2012 to strip these away (or prevent it from ever passing). That must be defeated as well, and local HRC chapters need money to start canvassing now.
Marriage in Washington may be within reach, but they always fuck us on the last minute details.
For a spot of good news, it turns out Canada won’t be throwing out thousands of legally recognized marriages like we thought yesterday. Language of the marriage laws is currently being stringently revised so that no more confusion like will take place again.
I think that’s more neutral news than good news, seeing as how there wasn’t much danger to begin with. I think tomorrow, I’ll talk about the volcano due to destroy Los Angeles any minute. The following day I’ll tell everyone the good news that it was just a Tommy Lee Jones movie I saw the other night.