Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Gays Now Allowed to Wed In Iowa
From the Desk of King in Miami
Article Courtesy of Omaha World Herald
(AP) - Until Friday, only states in the Northeast and bordering the Pacific had granted broad legal recognition to same-sex unions, but that changed with the Iowa Supreme Court ruling ordering that gay and lesbian couples be allowed to wed.
An updated look at the national landscape:
Before the Iowa ruling, only Connecticut and Massachusetts allowed same-sex couples to marry - also as a result of decisions by the states' high courts. Same-sex marriages began in Massachusetts in May 2004 and in Connecticut last November.
California briefly allowed gay marriage last year before a voter initiative in November repealed it. The outcome of that vote is now subject to a lawsuit contending that the ballot measure should have been subject to consideration by the legislature.
In Vermont, New Hampshire and New Jersey, same-sex couples can enter into civil unions that entail the same rights and responsibilities as marriage, but gay-rights activists in all three states are pushing for full-fledged marriage rights.
Vermont's House this week joined the Senate in overwhelmingly voting in favor of gay marriage, though it's unclear whether a threatened veto by Gov. Jim Douglas can be overridden. New Hampshire's House passed a marriage bill in March, which now awaits a Senate vote. In New Jersey, Gov. Jon Corzine has pledged to sign a gay marriage bill that has been introduced in the legislature.
California, Oregon, Washington and the District of Columbia have domestic-partnership laws that extend many of the benefits of marriage to same-sex couples. Hawaii and Maine have more limited laws extending certain spousal rights to same-sex couples.
In Maine, a bill to legalize gay marriage has nearly 60 co-sponsors in the Legislature. Gov. John Baldacci, who opposes gay marriage, says he hasn't taken a position on the measure.
Voters in 29 states have approved state constitutional amendments that ban gay marriage: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin.
Hawaii voters approved a constitutional amendment empowering the Legislature to outlaw same-sex marriage; lawmakers did so in 1998.
Under the federal Defense of Marriage Act, the U.S. government does not recognize same-sex unions, even those that are legal marriages in Massachusetts, Connecticut and several foreign countries.
New York is distinctive in recognizing same-sex marriages performed elsewhere even though it has yet to authorize such marriages within its borders. A gay-marriage bill passed the lower house of the New York Legislature in 2007, but the Senate majority leader, a gay-marriage supporter, says he doesn't have the votes at present to get it passed in his chamber.
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