Marriage Battles Continue
Special Report - February 21, 2011
Hawaii is set to become the seventh state in the nation to extend nearly all of the same rights and privileges of marriage to same-sex couples through a civil unions law. The Hawaii State Senate approved a civil unions bill by a vote of 18 to 5 on February 16. The measure, which was approved by the Hawaii State House last month, now heads to Governor Neil Abercrombie, who is expected to sign it into law this week. If he signs the law, it will go into effect in January 2012. In addition to extending the benefits of marriage to unmarried partners who enter into a “civil union,” the Hawaii legislation also states that: “A party to a civil union shall be included in any definition or use of the terms ‘spouse,’ ‘family,’ ‘immediate family,’ ‘dependent,’ ‘next of kin,’ and other terms that denote the spousal relationship.” The measure does contain a religious exemption provision that protects “any person authorized to perform solemnizations or marriages or civil unions” from being fined or penalized for refusing or failing to perform a civil union “for any reason.”
As we previously reported, Illinois lawmakers approved a similar civil unions bill in January. Once the Hawaii bill is signed into law, it will bring the total number of states to enact either a civil unions or domestic partnerships law to seven (once both the Illinois and Hawaii laws take effect).
In related news, the Maryland Senate is expected to take up marriage redefinition legislation this week. SB 116Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, which would legalize same-sex “marriage” in Maryland, was approved by a vote of 7 to 4 in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on February 17. The vote means that SB 116 now heads to the floor of the Maryland Senate for debate. Similar legislative efforts to legalize same-sex “marriage” are underway in Rhode Island and New York.
On a positive note, last week, the Indiana State House approved a bill that would give voters in the state a chance to preserve the definition of marriage through an amendment to the state constitution. On February 15, the Indiana House approved the measure, HJ 6, by a vote of 70 to 26. It now heads to the Senate, where it is expected to pass. Even if the bill is approved by both chambers of the Indiana legislature this year, it still has a long process ahead of it, as it must be approved by “two consecutive general assemblies” before it can be placed on the ballot.
“Indiana is similar to North Carolina in that before its citizens can vote on an amendment to the state constitution, the state legislature must first approve the amendment,” said Bill Brooks, president of North Carolina Family Policy Council. “In North Carolina, we’ve been waiting seven long years for that to happen. We are very hopeful that the new leadership in the General Assembly will make a vote on a Marriage Protection Amendment bill one of the first orders of business for the legislature this year, and that the people of North Carolina will finally have a chance to vote on the preservation of marriage in November 2012.”
Marriage Battle Rundown - February 2, 2011
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
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