Tuesday, February 15, 2011

News Sweep—Marriage

New York
Gov. Andrew Cuomo promised last Wednesday to push the State Legislature to take up marriage once again. The Assembly has passed the bill three times with bipartisan support, and leadership in the Republican-controlled Senate has said they will not attempt to block a vote.

With recent polls indicating that public approval of marriage equality is even higher in New York’s suburbs (61 percent, versus 56 percent statewide), advocates are questioning the lack of support from the Long Island State Senate delegation. Daniel Akst—a member of the popular Long Island newspaper Newsday’s editorial board—published an op-ed in favor of same-sex couples being allowed to marry.

The New York Times also editorialized once again in favor of marriage last week, and the Syracuse Post-Standard joined them for Valentine’s Day, and the Buffalo News joined them this morning.

Rhode Island
A bill that would legalize marriage for same-sex couples is being considered in the Rhode Island House Judiciary Committee. If the committee passes it, the bill will then need to make its way through the House and the more conservative Senate. Rhode Island’s new Gov. Lincoln Chafee threw his support behind the bill in a letter to the committee, declaring the matter an issue of “fundamental fairness.”

New Hampshire
Recent polling shows that only 26% of New Hampshire voters would vote to repeal the marriage equality law, while 62% would vote to keep it in place. Despite this, an attempt to repeal the two-year-old marriage law is scheduled for debate on Thursday in the house judiciary committee. However, even the bill’s sponsors do not believe the repeal would make it past Gov. John Lynch.

The Maryland Judicial Proceedings Committee is expected to vote soon to send the marriage equality bill to the Senate floor. The bill, which has 18 co-sponsors, needs 24 votes to pass through the Senate. A total of 22 have publicly supported the legislation, one recent switch being Sen. James Brochin, a Democrat who admitted that “the transition to supporting marriage has not been an easy one, but the uncertainty, fear, and second-class status that gays and lesbians have to put up with is far worse and clearly must come to an end.”

Washington State
Over the past two days, marriage equality bills have been introduced in the Washington state senate and house. Senator Ed Murray has said that same-sex partners have all the same rights as married straight couples, but that it is time that these partnerships be recognized as marriages.

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