Same-Sex Marriage Bills Coming to State Legislatures
Same-sex marriage is back in the national spotlight this week as Maryland, New Jersey, and Washington are expected to vote on bills to legalize same-sex marriage.
Bills in Washington in favor of same-sex marriage were backed this week by Starbucks, Microsoft, and Nike. Last year, Microsoft and Starbucks were among 70 groups who filed friend-of-the-court briefs challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which states that the definition of marriage is between a man and a woman.
Today, a Washington Senate committee moved the measure one step closer to passage. The 25th vote needed in Washington's Senate was confirmed by state senator Mary Margaret Haugen who made the following statement earlier this week:
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. It's not always easy to do that. For me personally, I have always believed in traditional marriage between a man and a woman. That is what I believe, to this day.
But this issue isn't about just what I believe. It's about respecting others, including people who may believe differently than I. It's about whether everyone has the same opportunities for love and companionship and family and security that I have enjoyed.
Those who oppose the same-sex marriage bills in Maryland and Washington will likely bring referendums to overturn laws. New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie says he will veto a bill if it reaches him. "This issue that our state is exploring — whether or not to redefine hundreds of years of societal and religious traditions — should not be decided by 121 people in the State House in Trenton," Christie said, calling for a referendum.
Same-sex marriage is currently legal in six states and the District of Columbia. Republicans who control New Hampshire's legislature could possibly repeal the 2009 law legalizing gay marriage.
Maine could see a same-sex marriage proposal on the November ballot. The state's legislature previously approved gay marriage, but it was overturned by a close statewide vote in 2009.
Today, Rep. Barney Frank's office said that the retiring 71-year-old Democrat from Massachusetts will marry his longtime partner in Massachusetts.