Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Today’s good news

This has been a very good week for marriage equality. Today, Delaware became the 11th US State* to enact marriage equality: The state senate passed the bill and Governor Jack Markell signed it into law shortly afterward. This is less than a week since Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee signed that state’s marriage equality law.

Illinois and Minnesota have marriage equality bills before their legislatures, and the Illinois bill has already passed the Illinois Senate and is now waiting for a vote in the House of Representatives. The governors of both Minnesota and Illinois have pledged to sign marriage equality bills into law, should their states’ legislatures pass them. Votes in both states are expected soon.

What I think is especially relevant for Illinois is that less than a year ago, Delaware enacted civil unions (which will cease being offered on July 1, and after that, all existing civil unions will be automatically converted to marriages over time). The Illinois General Assembly passed civil unions not quite two years ago; Delaware shows that there’s no reason not move on full marriage equality right away.

For me, the quote of the year in all the marriage equality battles came from Delaware Senator Karen Peterson, who came out as lesbian during the debate. Sen. Peterson said:
"If my happiness somehow demeans or diminishes your marriage, you need to work on your marriage."
I’ve never heard that put better.

I am very busy this week, but this is something to celebrate. Congratulations Delaware and Rhode Island—now, on to Illinois and Minnesota!

*The District of Columbia, which has the city of Washington, the US Capital, also has marriage equality, but DC is not a state.

Graphic above is from the American Foundation for Equal Rights' blog post on Delaware.


Roger Green said...

Good news. But, and I've read it a couple places, "existing civil unions will be converted to marriages over the next year," not automatically on July 1. And probably for good reason; one may not WANT to get married, for some reason.


Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

Thanks, Roger. I wonder if the early reporting was unclear because, in the rush to be first, journalists didn't get into the finer points? At
any rate, I've updated the post to better reflect the situation—thanks for the clarification!!

Interestingly, New
Zealand's Civil Unions continue after marriage equality takes effect on
August 19. The change is that from that date same-gender and
opposite-gender couples alike will be able to choose civil unions or
marriage, or convert one to the other; previously, of course, only
opposite-gender couples had the right to choose marriage, or to convert
their marriage to a civil union or vice versa.

Roger Green said...

So when Minnesota becomes #12 (what a turnaround!), will Michelle Bachmann REALLY leave the state?