Marriage Battle Rundown
Special Report - February 2, 2011
The battle for marriage continued nationwide this week, with two victories for homosexual activists and their allies in Illinois and Hawaii, and what could prove to be a major setback to their efforts in Iowa. On January 31, Illinois became the sixth state in the nation to enact legislation that extends nearly all of the same rights and privileges of marriage to homosexual couples, when Governor Pat Quinn signed the “Illinois Religious Freedom and Civil Union Act” into law.
Under the measure, which becomes effective June 2011, unmarried couples, including homosexual couples, in Illinois who enter into a “civil union” will be “entitled the same legal obligations, responsibilities, protections and benefits afforded or recognized by the law of Illinois to spouses.” According to Governor Quinn’s office, the benefits of a civil union include: “automatic hospital visitation rights and the ability to make emergency medical decisions for partners; ability to share a room in a nursing home; adoption and parental rights; pension benefits; inheritance rights; and the right to dispose of a partner’s remains.” The Illinois law does state that, “any religious body…is free to choose whether or not to solemnize or officiate civil unions.”
Vermont was the first state in the nation to enact a civil unions law in 2000, and the law eventually helped pave the way for the legalization of same-sex “marriage” in that state in 2009. Similarly, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), Connecticut (2005) and New Hampshire (2007) also enacted civil unions laws, which have now been replaced by same-sex “marriage” in those states. Currently, five states (not counting Illinois) grant most of the rights and privileges of marriage to same-sex couples through either civil unions or domestic partnerships (California, Oregon, Nevada and Washington state allow domestic partnerships, and New Jersey allows civil unions).
In related news, efforts are also underway in Hawaii to enact a civil unions law this year. On January 28, the Hawaii State Senate approved a civil unions bill, SB 232, by a vote of 19 to 6. The measure, which is expected to also pass the Hawaii House and be signed by the governor, would extend “the same rights, benefits, protections, and responsibilities of spouses in a marriage to partners in a civil union.” Although Hawaii is considered one of the 30 states to protect marriage through a constitutional amendment, the amendment does not specifically define marriage but specifies that only the legislature “shall have the power to reserve marriage to opposite sex couples.”
“Illinois and Hawaii are the latest examples of the ongoing attacks on marriage by homosexual activists and their allies, who will use every means at their disposal to break down the institution of marriage,” said Bill Brooks, president of the North Carolina Family Policy Council. “As we have seen in other states, these efforts do not stop with civil unions, but ultimately open the door for the complete redefinition of marriage. Now, more than ever, the General Assembly needs to pass legislation this year to allow North Carolinians to vote on a marriage protection amendment.”
On a positive note, in the first step to overturning the same-sex “marriage” law forced on Iowa by its Supreme Court in 2009, the Iowa House has approved a bill that would place a marriage protection amendment on the ballot for the people to decide. The measure, HJR 2, proposes an amendment to the state constitution “specifying that marriage between one man and one woman as the only legal union that is valid or recognized in the state.” The Iowa House approved the bill by a vote of 62 to 37 on February 1. The measure must pass both chambers of the Iowa legislature for two consecutive sessions before it can be placed on the ballot. HJR 2 has been sent to the Iowa Senate for consideration.
D.C. Marriage Case Snuffed By Supreme Court - January 19, 2011
Assault On Marriage Intensifies - November 12, 2010
ADF Petitions U.S. Supreme Court - October 15, 2010
Judge Says Federal DOMA Flawed - July 9, 2010
D.C. Appeals Court Rejects Marriage - July 20, 2010
Court Rejects D.C. Marriage Referendum - February 24, 2010
D.C. Issues Homosexual Marriage Licenses - March 4, 2010
D.C. Mayor Signs Same-Sex "Marriage" Bill - December 21, 2009
White House Wants DOMA Repeal - August 19, 2009
Justice Defends Marriage - June 22, 2009
Lawsuit Challenges Federal DOMA - March 6, 2009
The Issue That Will Not Go Away - FNC - April, 2010
Copyright © 2011. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.