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Marriage equality updates from RI, DE and Brazil

Marriage equality

By Jacob Combsdelawareseal

The pace of marriage equality news these past few weeks has been remarkable, and this week shows no signs of slowing!  Here’s a quick look at what to expect today and in the next few days, as well as some good news from Brazil and Colorado.

The Delaware Senate Executive Committee will today consider HB75, the marriage equality bill that was approved by the state’s House of Representatives last Tuesday in a 23-18 vote.  The six-person committee includes four supporters of equal marriage rights, and ThinkProgress confirmed last week that it is very likely to pass.

If it is approved by the executive committee, HB75 will go before the 21-member Senate.  As Think Progress reports, the bill has seven sponsors or co-sponsors, as well as two more confirmed yes votes.  Eleven votes will be needed for the bill to be approved.  Today’s committee vote will take place at 2:30 Eastern time–follow us on Twitter as well as Equality Delaware (@EQDE) for updates.

In Rhode Island, the House Judiciary Committee unanimously voted last night to approve religious protection language that was added to a proposed marriage equality bill by the state Senate.  The bill will receive a final procedural vote in the House this Thursday (an original draft of the bill was overwhelmingly approved in the chamber earlier this year).  Gov. Lincoln Chafee announced yesterday via Twitter that he will sign the bill into law in a ceremony on the State House steps directly after the vote, at 5:45 p.m.

Rhode Island will be the 10th state (plus DC) to provide marriage rights to same-sex couples, although marriage licenses will not be available until August 1.

In Brazil, as Box Turtle Bulletin reported, Paraíba and Santa Catarina this week extended full marriage rights to same-sex couples, bringing the number of Brazilian states with marriage equality to 13 (along with the Federal District).  Earlier this month, Rio De Janeiro and Rondônia did the same.  Since June 2011, all same-sex couples in Brazil can ask a judge to convert their “stable union” into a marriage.  As Paraíba and Santa Catarina did today, many states have eliminated this two-step process and instead allowed same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses.  Almost 60 percent of Brazil’s population now lives in jurisdictions with full marriage equality, according to Freedom to Marry.

Finally, Colorado’s civil unions law went into effect this morning at 12:01 a.m., and couples lined up in Denver and across the state to be among the first to obtain their licenses.  The Denver Post has a great slideshow of images from the historic moment, and you can check out a local news report below.

H/t to EricKoszyk for pointing us towards the Denver Post slideshow and Seth from Maryland for writing in the comments about Box Turtle Bulletin’s report.



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