Battle for marriage equality rages on

Speak Equal on January 25, 2011 at 12:28 pm

The last few months have been nothing short of bittersweet for proponents of marriage equality. We’ve seen some gains, we’ve seen some losses, we’ve seen some extreme setbacks.

This month, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is set to sign a bill that will recognize civil unions for same-sex couples throughout the state. This is an exciting time for the state’s citizens who should all be proud their legislation passed an extensive bill legalizing everything from adoption to property rights.

According to the Chicago Tribune on Monday, “The governor announced today that he’ll sign the civil unions legislation next Monday. The signing ceremony will take place at the Chicago Cultural Center. The public is invited, but must RSVP with the governor’s office.

“The new law would let gays and lesbians use civil unions as a way to gain several of the same rights as married couples, including sharing a nursing home room to being involved in important end-of-life decisions. Heterosexual couples could also opt for civil unions instead of marriage.”

Conversely, Wyoming’s state legislature recently voted to ban the recognition of same-sex unions performed out of state, citing the need to reconcile a discrepancy within current Wyoming law.

According to the Casper Star-Tribune, “State Rep. Owen Petersen, R-Mountain View, the bill’s sponsor, said the legislation is needed to resolve a conflict in Wyoming law, which defines marriage as a contract ‘between a male and a female person’ but also recognizes any valid marriage performed outside the state. Other supporters have said the bill will help to hold back government intrusion into Wyoming traditions and culture.”

Lawmakers in Maryland however, have decided to take the high road, introducing a bill entitled the “Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act.” The bill, which is being introduced in the house by majority leader Kumar Barve, “ends the exclusion of committed same-sex couples from civil marriage and protects the religious freedom of churches and synagogues.”

Lawmakers and advocates including Equality Maryland, Freedom To Marry, and representatives from religious and civil rights groups will hold a press conference at the state capital in Annapolis at 11 a.m. today to announce the introduction of the bills. They are confident the bill will pass and are expecting the bill to be fully resolved by the time recess begins in April. Maryland’s governor, Martin O’Malley, has already vowed to sign the bill into law should it pass.

In the meantime, continue to support those whom are fighting on the front lines to repeal Proposition 8.

Tags: Wyoming

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