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Updated: Marriage equality updates from Illinois, Rhode Island and Hawaii

Jackson Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

By Jacob Combs

Updated at 3 p.m. Eastern to include Gordon Fox comments on Rhode Island marriage equality bill

Happy New Year, everyone, and welcome to 2013!

Marriage equality seems to be speeding towards a quick vote in the Illinois legislature, the Windy City Times reported yesterday, with chief Senate sponsor Heather Steans telling the paper that an equal marriage bill will be voted on in committee tonight by 5:30 p.m.  Steans is hoping to push for a vote by the full chamber tomorrow, followed by a vote in the House next week.

The urgency and speed of Steans’s push is in large part a necessity of time: she and other pro-marriage equality legislators have until January 9 to pass a bill before the current session of the legislature ends and a new one is sworn in.  If the bill does not pass before that date, equal marriage legislation is not necessarily doomed, since Democrats will hold a supermajority in the new session, but advocates would likely be delayed by a need to lobby new lawmakers.

If you live in Illinois and want to know where your state senator stands on marriage equality, Windy City Times has compiled a list of all the members and their positions on the proposed bill here.

In Rhode Island, state Representative Arthur Handy told the AP yesterday that he will introduce a marriage equality bill in the legislature tomorrow after he spends today gathering the signatures of co-sponsors, including House Speaker Gordon Fox.  As WPRI reported today, Fox is pushing for for a vote in the House by the end of the month.

Finally, in Hawaii (by way of California), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has granted a request filed by the anti-marriage equality group Hawaii Family Forum (HFF) to stay an appeal in the Jackson v. Abercrombie case pending the Supreme Court’s action in the DOMA case United States v. Windsor and the Prop 8 case, also known as Hollingsworth v. Perry.

In August, a district court judge in Hawaii ruled in the Jackson case that Hawaii’s marriage laws, which allow same-sex couples civil unions but not marriage equality, was constitutional.  The Ninth Circuit had previously issued a stay of proceedings in the case until December 17 pending Supreme Court action.  The Ninth Circuit’s new stay (which can be found below) will last until March 5, before which date HFF can ask the appeals court to extend the stay.

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  • 1. Straight Ally #3008  |  January 2, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    Sorry if it's an obvious question, but who is Hollingsworth of Hollingsworth v. Perry?

  • 2. Mike  |  January 2, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    Dennis Hollingsworth, head of the group that initiated Prop 8.

    Kristin Perry sued the Governor because she can't marry her partner. She won in Perry v. Brown, while Hollingsworth was actually in charge of defending the case. Now Hollingsworth has appealed to the Supreme Court and become the plaintiff, Perry the respondent.

  • 3. davep  |  January 2, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    NOM is all riled up about Illinois. They are sending emails urging people to contact Illinois lawmakers and tell them to stop this "dangerous bill".

    So – everybody take their cue and contaft Illinois lawmakers and thank them for bringing this bill to a quick vote, and urge them to support fairness and equality for ALL Illinois families!

  • 4. Seth From Maryland  |  January 2, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    i just hope the senate will take it up today or tommorow then pass it an send it to the house for a vote this week or next monday, i hope this go fast as possible

  • 5. Seth From Maryland  |  January 2, 2013 at 2:10 pm
    live video for when the vote comes up

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