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Countdown to Marriage Deadline

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By Matt Baume

All eyes are on Illinois, with less than a week left to pass its marriage equality bill. Meanwhile, public support grows in Tennessee and an equality bill passes the legislature in Nevada, but major obstacles remain in both states. And we’re just one month away from the deadline for a Prop 8 decision. Depending on the ruling, marriage equality could soon be the law of the land in California, and possibly beyond.

This is it — the last week of the legislative session in Illinois. If marriage equality is going to pass this year, it’s going to have to happen in the next few days.

The bill has been endorsed by both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, and Governor Pat Quinn has pledged his signature. But we still don’t know if there are enough votes for passage. The effort’s being led by Equality Illinois. Visit EQIL.org to find out how you can help, wherever you are.

A new survey in Tennessee shows growing support for marriage. Forty-nine percent favor some form of relationship recognition, with 32 percent for marriage. This is quite a jump from 2006, when just fifteen percent opposed a state constitutional ban on marriage. That ban ultimately passed, and remains in place to this day.

Meanwhile, marriage has advanced in Nevada, but still has a long way to go. The state Assembly passed a marriage equality bill last week on a 27 to 14 vote, which included one Republican voting in favor. The next step for the bill won’t come for another two years, when the legislature must pass it one more time before it goes to the ballot in 2016.

It’s still a long road to victory in Nevada, and in the 29 other states with constitutional amendments. But that landscape could change dramatically once the US Supreme Court rules on Prop 8. The deadline for that ruling is in one month.

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