February 9, 2012
By Jacob Combs
Yesterday, the Washington state legislature passed a marriage equality bill, which Gov. Chris Gregoire said she will sign before Valentine’s Day. It’s a big victory, but one that will probably not be decisive until after the election in November.
Still, events are moving apace across the country for marriage equality, and we have more to look forward to after our victories in California and Washington this week. The legislature of New Jersey has set up votes in both chambers next week to consider that state’s marriage equality legislation: the Senate will vote on February 13 with the House voting three days later. The bill is expected to pass, but it remains unclear whether the votes are there for the 2/3 majority required to overcome Gov. Chris Christie’s promised veto. Republican Senator Christopher Bateman has introduced legislation that would send the issue of marriage equality to voter’s for a referendum; Democratic Senate President Steve Sweeney had firmly opposed a popular vote on the issue.
Also on Wednesday, Marylanders for Marriage Equality released a video featuring clergy members who are supportive of marriage equality. This Friday, these religious leaders will testify in the legislature in support of the state’s marriage equality bill; the legislature will also hear testimony on legislation that would amend the state’s constitution to limit marriage to heterosexual couples.
In other news, Reps. Greg Harris, Deb Mell and Kelly Cassidy, three openly gay state legislators in Illinois introduced a bill yesterday that would bring marriage equality to their state. The bill would amend the state’s civil unions provision, which was passed into law last year, and allow couples to convert their civil unions into marriages.