Equality Backers Vow Return of Illinois Marriage Bill ‘Within Weeks’

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Time ran out, this legislative session, for a bill that that would legalize marriage equality in the nation’s fifth largest state.  The Washington Post reports that,”A Senate committee voted 8-5 late Thursday in favor of a bill that would allow gay marriage. But with key supporters absent, Senate Democrats delayed a full floor vote. The Senate then canceled its Friday schedule, and President John Cullerton said lawmakers are unlikely to return to Springfield before the session ends Jan. 9.”

Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois, tells the Windy City Times, “There is no way for us to pass the bill in one house and continue in the other house in next assembly, with just a handful of days remaining in the current lame duck session, time to move the bill through both chambers is not on our side.”

But hope for the bill, which has received major support from the likes of President Obama and Modern Family star Jesse Tyler Ferguson, is still very much alive.

Windy City reports, “The organization leading the charge for marriage equality in Illinois said it won’t relent on efforts to pass the bill in 2013.”

Cullerton appears equally optimistic, “What’s important when we reconvene is that we work to protect and strengthen all Illinois families, and that’s what this legislation does,I’m confident we can advance this bill in the coming weeks.”

Watch Jesse Tyler Fergon’s plea for the passage of the bill:

Number 8: Maryland Lawmakers say,”I Do” to Marriage Equality

Maryland is poised to become the eighth state in the Union to allow same-sex couples to marry. On a vote of 25-22, the Senate passed the legislation Thursday evening.

Maryland’s Governor, Gov. Martin O’Malley, plans on signing the bill within a week.

“All children deserve the opportunity to live in a loving, caring, committed, and stable home, protected equally under the law,” O’Mally said in a statement following Thursday’s vote.

The bill narrowly passed Maryland’s House of Delegates last Friday.

Two weeks ago, lawmakers in Washington State passed a similar measure, which was signed into law by Governor Chris Gregoire during an emotional ceremony in Olympia.

Lawmakers in New Jersey also passed a marriage equality bill but it was vetoed  last week by N.J. Governor Chris Christie.

Six states and the District of Columbia  already allow same-sex marriage.

According to CNN: “Legislation [has also been] introduced recently to allow same-sex marriages in Illinois, and bills from 2011 remain technically active in Hawaii and Minnesota. An effort is also underway to put a proposal to legalize same-sex marriage on the November ballot in Maine.”

As for when wedding bells will ring in Maryland, that is  still anybody’s guess, “Implementation of the measure is far from certain. Even supporters concede that the law will likely be petitioned to referendum, and they expect Maryland voters to have the final say in November. The legislation has an effective date of January 2013 — well after the November election,” reports the Baltimore Sun.

Signed! Washington State becomes 7th in Nation to Uphold Marriage Equality!

With the stroke of a pen, Washington Governor Chris Gregoire signed legislation that legalizes same-gender marriage in the Evergreen State Monday.

During a signing ceremony, Gregoire got misty eyed as she thanked her two daughters and younger generations for leading the march to equality,”Our children will not have to bend on one knee and say,”will you civil union me,” but can say will you marry me,” said Gregoire.

According to Seattle PI,”Opponents have promised to fight back with a ballot measure that would allow voters to overturn it.” Gregoire said during the ceremony she believes Washington voters will say yes to marriage equality.

According to Reuters, “Several prominent Washington-based companies employing tens of thousands of workers in the state have supported the bill, including Microsoft, Amazon and Starbucks. Opponents were led by Catholic bishops and other religious conservatives.”

David Badash over at New Civil Rights Movement reports,”The law will become effective June 7, unless a petition drive is started and by June 6 successfully obtains 120,577 valid signatures asking for a referendum — allowing the voters to vote on marriage equality — for this November’s election.”

Gov. Gregoire has pledged to make an appeal to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) over similar legislation there. The legislation passed the New Jersey senate passed the bill 24-16 Monday. Christie has vowed to veto the bill in his state.

Expect an immediate anti-equality reaction from GOP Presidential candidate Rick “Frothy Mix” Santorum who is in Washington for a rally tonight. According to the Washington Post,”The results of the 2008 caucuses in Washington state suggest that Santorum, who is popular among social conservatives, could have a strong showing March 3.”

“Frothy Mix” will be in Idaho on Tuesday.

Washington’s Marriage Equality Bill Advances to Full Senate

The Senate Government Operations, Tribal Relations and Elections Committee approved a bill that would legalize same gender marriage in the state of Washington on a 4-3 party-line vote yesterday.

According to the Seattle Times,”It’s not clear when the full Senate will take up the measure, Senate Bill 6239. Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, the bill’s prime sponsor said he’s pushing for a vote next week, but doesn’t know if that will happen.”

The hearing wasn’t without interesting moments. “Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, attempted to add a provision that would send the gay-marriage law to voters, arguing “a change this significant in long-standing state law … requires more than a simple majority vote of the Legislature,” reports the paper.

Benton’s amendment, as well as four other republican amendments, were defeated.

As we reported earlier this week, the bill is expected to pass the legislature. Gov. Chris Gregoire has said she’ll sign the legislation.

Soon To Be Seven: Washington State Marches Toward Marriage Equality

Unless you were totally away from the internets this afternoon, you have no doubt heard by now that marriage equality supporters in the state of Washington now have enough votes in the legislature to legalize same gender marriage.

An announcement of support from Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island all but assures the bill’s passage. It gives backers the 25 votes needed in the Senate to pass the measure.

In a statement posted on her website, Haugen said her decision, in part, was based on her religious beliefs,””I have very strong Christian beliefs, and personally I have always said when I accepted the Lord, I became more tolerant of others, I stopped judging people and try to live by the Golden Rule. This is part of my decision. I do not believe it is my role to judge others, regardless of my personal beliefs.”

Those supporting the effort also includes two Republican senators. State Senator Steve Litzow was the first Republican in the Senate to endorse the measure. He tells The Advocate,”When the governor first brought up the idea of statewide marriage equality late last year, he knew it was the right thing to do.”

“It’s really consistent with the fundamental tenets of individual freedom and personal responsibility, It’s all about people getting to live the life they want to live without the government getting involved. It’s a core principle of the type of Republican I am,” Litzow said.

Washington Governor Chris Gregoire has endorsed the bill  and the house already has enough support to pass the measure.

Even though the bill has gained enough support with lawmakers, don’t expect the effort to come without a fight from fascist groups like the National Organization for Marriage, who was offering$250,000 to challenge any Republican Washington senator who supports the bill. Experts predict groups like NOM will attempt to thwart lawmakers with a ballot initiative, much like California’s Prop 8.

If the measure is signed into law, Washington would become the seventh state to approve same gender marriage.

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