Winning More States: Where marriage stands in 7 key states across the country
April 30, 2013
On May 2, the Rhode Island legislature passed a freedom to marry bill which was immediately signed into law by Gov. Lincoln Chaffee. The law goes into effect on August 1, 2013.
On May 7, the Delaware legislature passed a freedom to marry bill which was immediately signed into law by Gov. Jack Markell. The law goes into effect on July 1, 2013.
On May 13, the Minnesota legislature passed a freedom to marry bill which was immediately signed into law by Gov. Mark Dayton. The law goes into effect on August 1, 2013.
It's been a big year for the freedom to marry. In 2013, we've already seen significant developments from states where we can win marriage this year, and several other states have taken the first steps toward winning marriage - whether they've officially launched campaigns or are beginning to prepare for state-wide campaigns to move marriage forward. Here's a look at some recent victories, and what's on the horizon for these 7 States. Several of these states are currently included in the Win More States Fund, Freedom to Marry's effort to strategically channel funds into key state campaigns to win marriage. You can learn more and DONATE to the Win More States Fund HERE.
Last week, the marriage bill in Rhode Island cleared its last significant hurdle when the Rhode Island Senate voted in favor of the freedom to marry by a vote of 26-12. The approval in the Senate makes it all but certain that Rhode Island will be the tenth state in the United States to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage; it faces one final confirmation vote in the House, where it passed overwhelmingly earlier this year by a vote of 51-19, and Gov. Lincoln Chaffee has promised to sign the bill into law.
Freedom to Marry was a founding member of Rhode Islanders United for Marriage, the broad coalition of civil rights organizations, faith institutions, and business leaders working to pass the freedom to marry in 2013. Freedom to Marry was also the lead funder of the campaign, providing more than $250,000 to the effort this year.
With the passage of the marriage bill in Rhode Island, committed same-sex couples all across the six New England states will be able to share in the freedom to marry. Check out how we won marriage across New England HERE.
Last week, the House of Representatives in Delaware voted in favor of HB75, the bill that would extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples across the state of Delaware. Now, the bill moves onto the Delaware Senate. On May 1, the Senate Executive Committee will hear the bill, and if it is approved, it will face a full Senate vote.
This week, Senator Brian Bushweller, who has been publicly undecided on the marriage bill, announced this week that he will be voting in favor of the freedom to marry when the marriage bill faces a vote.
Equality Delaware has been leading the charge to pass a marriage bill in Delaware in 2013. Freedom to Marry is proud to support Equality Delaware in the campaign to win marriage for all Delawareans.
In February, the Illinois Senate voted in favor of the freedom to marry by a vote of 34-21, passing the bill that would end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage. Now, the bill awaits a hearing and vote before the House of Representatives.
The freedom to marry has enjoyed significant momentum in Illinois this year. A Crains/Ipsos poll demonstrated that 50 percent of Illinoisians support marriage for same-sex couples, with just 29 percent opposed - a historic 21-point margin of people in the state who favor marriage for same-sex couples. Two Republican representatives - Rep. Ed Sullivan and Rep. Ron Sandack - have committed to voting in favor of the marriage bill. And political leaders from across the state - including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel - have pushed hard for passing the bill.
This week, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, who has been a vocal supporter of the freedom to marry, spoke with The Windy City Times about the effort to win marriage in his state. He talked about sitting down with legislators who have not yet voiced their support and how integral grassroots involvement has been in the campaign - including support from Illinois Unites for Marriage, the coalition working to pass the marriage bill this year. Gov. Quinn said, "The fact of the matter is, the reason why we're so close is due to the tireless efforts of families and individuals and groups and who aren't going to let scare tactics get in the way of equal rights and fairness. This has been a very inspiring grassroots campaign from people all over our state. It certainly has impressed me, and I've very anxious to get the bill so I can sign into law."
Momentum continues to build in Minnesota, where marriage bills have been introduced in the House and Senate and were advanced through the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Civil Law Committee in March. The bills now await votes in both chambers of the legislature.
This week, a new poll demonstrated majority support for the marriage bill across the state of Minnesota, with 51 percent of those surveyed saying they support marriage for same-sex couples and just 47% saying they do not.
Minnesotans United for All Families, the coalition working to pass the freedom to marry in 2013, continues working hard to galvanize support for marriage, mobilize volunteers, and energize Minnesota constitutents to call their representative and urge their support for marriage. Freedom to Marry is proud to be a founding and leading member of Minnesotans United for All Families.
Last year, both chambers of the New Jersey legislature voted in favor of the freedom to marry by a vote of 24-16 in the Senate and 42-33 in the Assembly. Unfortunately, Gov. Chris Christie vetoed the bill. Now, the New Jersey legislature has until January 2014 to override the governor's veto.
As the New Jersey legislature continues mobilizing support for the freedom to marry - led by Garden State Equality, New Jersey's state-wide organization committed to winning marriage and improving the lives of LGBT New Jersey residents - momentum in the state continues to build. A March 2013 poll from Quinnipiac University, for example, demonstrates record support for the freedom to marry in the state, with 64 percent of survey respondents saying they support ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage.
This year, Oregon United for Marriage is beginning the campaign to win the freedom to marry for same-sex couples across the state. The coalition of civil rights organizations, faith institutions, and business leaders has successfully submitted 2,000 sponsorship signatures for a proposed ballot initiative that would extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples while protecting religious freedom in the state.
Momentum is strong for marriage in the state. Oregon residents strongly support marriage for same-sex couples, with 54% saying they favor the freedom to marry.
The Basic Rights Education Fund debuted a new video showcasing why marriage matters this week. Watch the video - featuring committed couple Ben and Paul - HERE.
This year, the Nevada legislature has taken steps to move marriage forward and begin the multi-year process of winning the freedom to marry for same-sex couples across the state.
Last week, the Nevada Senate voted in favor of a resolution that calls for the repeal of the state's anti-marriage constitutiional amendment and the establishment of the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. The resolution includes clear protections for religious institutions. It passed by a vote of 12-9, with all Democratic senators and one Republican senator voting in favor.
The Nevada State Assembly must now hear the resolution. If it is approved in the Assembly, the resolution must be approved again in the next legislative session, in 2015. If it is approved then, it will be placed before Nevada voters in the November 2016 election.