ROUND-UP: 5 states where we can win the freedom to marry in 2013
January 25, 2013
We're not even a full month into 2013, and yet the freedom to marry is off to an amazing start this year, with five key states looking to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage. Each of the legislative campaigns - in Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, and Rhode Island - have significant momentum this year to move marriage forward. Last year was a historic year for the freedom to marry - the President said he supports marriage for same-sex couples, the Democratic Party included the freedom to marry as a plank in their national platform, and marriage triumphed at the ballot in four states. Here's the most recent news from each of the five states:
In 2011, Delaware took a huge step toward the freedom to marry when Gov. Jack Markell signed a civil union bill into law. The law took effect on January 1, 2012 and extended to same-sex couples many of the protections and responsibilities that marriage provides. 565 same-sex couples joined together in civil union last year, and this year, advocates in the state are looking to complete the journey on marriage and ensure that those 565 couples - and hundreds more - can share in the full respect that the freedom to marry provides. Equality Delaware has launched a robust new campaign and coalition to finally end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage in the state.
Here's some of the most recent news from the campaign to secure the freedom to marry in Delaware:
- Equality Delaware leads campaign to win marriage in Delaware in 2013
- Gov. Markell urges passage of marriage bill in inaugural speech
- Check out Equality Delaware's new website
- Meet real Delaware families hoping for a marriage law this year
This year is the 20th anniversary of Baehr v. Lewin, a landmark case in the Hawaii Supreme Court that ignited the national conversation around the freedom to marry across the country. Same-sex couples have been on a roller coaster ride in Hawaii since that ruling was issued, and this year, advocates are aiming for Hawaii to finally stand on the Right Side of History and reach a resolution: That all families deserve the respect and dignity that the freedom to marry provides. Last year, Hawaii passed a civil union law, and in its first year, over 700 same-sex couples have joined together in civil union, which provides some - but not all - of the protectons and responsibilities that marriage provides. Yesterday morning, the Hawaii House and Senate introduced bills that would fully extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples, and over the next several months, Hawaii United for Marriage, the coalition to win marriage in Hawaii, will engage with the people of Hawaii to demonstrate why marriage matters. Freedom to Marry is proud to serve as a leading member of the coalition.
Here's some of the most recent news from the campaign to secure the freedom to marry in Hawaii:
- Marriage bills introduced in Hawaii House and Senate
- Evan Wolfson talks about the importance of winning marriage in Hawaii
- Meet Kenton and Johnny, a real HI couple hoping for a marriage law this year
Proponents of the freedom to marry didn't waste any time in Illinois, working in the first few days of January to pass a marriage bill before the end of the 2012 legislative session. On January 3, the Illinois Senate Executive Committee voted to advance the bill, marking the first time in history that a legislative body in Illinois has voted in favor of marriage for same-sex couples. Although there was not sufficient time before the end of the legislative session to pass the marriage bill through both houses, the advancement through the committee signaled huge momentum for the freedom to marry in 2013. On the first day of the 2013 legislative session, sponsors of the marriage bill reintroduced the legislation, and now Illinois Unites for Marriage, the coalition working on the bill this year, is working to demonstrate why marriage matters to lawmakers and people in Illinois. Freedom to Marry is proud to serve as a member of the coalition. The marriage bill in Illinois saw significant support from prominent public figures, including President Barack Obama, Gov. Pat Quinn, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and Modern Family actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson and his fiancée Justin Mikita.
Here's some of the most recent news from the campaign to win marriage in Illinois:
- Marriage push expected soon after February return
- IL business leaders say marriage law will strengthen IL workforce
- President Obama urges legislators to support marriage bill
- Chairman of IL Republican Party voices support for marriage bill
- African-American leaders urge votes for marriage in IL legislature
- Chicago Mayor calls the freedom to marry in IL a priority
Last year was a huge year for same-sex couples in Minnesota. Communities across the state banded together to share their stories and speak out about why they were voting NO on an anti-gay constitutional amendment that would have permanently limited the freedom to marry. After months and months of campaigning, the campaign - led by Minnesotans United for All Families - was successful, and the amendment was defeated. This year, Minnesotans United is regrouping and preparing for a full-circle victory by passing the freedom to marry in the state legislature. The organization has already released its six-part Roadmap to Victory, which involves introducing marriage bills in the House and Senate, undergoing hearings, and having Gov. Mark Dayton, who supports marriage for same-sex couples, sign the bill into law.
Here's some of the most recent news from the campaign to win marriage in Minnesota:
- Minnesotans United looks to finish the job in 2013
- Minnesotans United launches Freedom to Marry Day Rally
- 18,000 people sign the petition urging legislators to pass a marriage bill
- American Academy of Pediatrics plans to work with MN United in 2013
- Meet loving couples Nick & Andy and Casey & Eric, from Minneapolis!
Yesterday, the Rhode Island House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill that would extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. The bill passed with great majority support - the vote was 51 to 19 - and came after extensive discussion of why marriage matters. Earlier this month, marriage advocates delivered extensive testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, which advanced the marriage bill last week. Gov. Lincoln Chafee has been a vocal supporter of the bill, even speaking at the launch press conference for Rhode Islanders United for Marriage, the coalition of advocates, community members and faith leaders working to pass the freedom to marry in Rhode Island. If Rhode Island passes a marriage bill this year, it will join the rest of the New England states in providing the freedom to marry for all families.
Here's some of the most recent news from the campaign to win marriage in Rhode Island:
- Historic: Rhode Island House of Representatives passes marriage bill
- Rhode Island House Judiciary Committee unanimously advances marriage bill
- PHOTOS: Advocates testify in support of marriage at first RI hearing
- President Obama announces support for marriage legislation in RI
- Faith leaders speak out in favor of the freedom to marry in RI
- Rhode Island Senate President commits to marriage vote in 2013