Countdown to Marriage Equality

12 States Have Marriage, Can We Get to 13? All 50?

Good job, Minnesota! Thanks to your plucky legislators, we now have twelve states with the freedom to marry. Or thirteen, if you count the freaky Delaware bog that is our nation’s capital.

Take a note, Illinois. You have less than two weeks left to pass your marriage equality bill. Don’t let us down. It’s high time the Land of Lincoln became the Land of Lesbians. (Sorry, Oakland. You’ve had your turn.)

And then after Illinois, then what? Well, the fight for marriage equality could slow down a bit soon. Don’t get us wrong: it’s definitely time to celebrate. You’ll be attending more gay weddings this summer than you can count. But the vast majority of the country is still suffering in states without the freedom to marry, and it could stay that way for years to come.

Nevada, for example, has a constitutional amendment barring marriage. And although a marriage equality bill passes a legislative committee last week, it still has at least three more years of procedure (at least!) before it could go into effect. That’s a long time.

But there may be a shortcut to victory: the Prop 8 case. If the Supreme Court rules that Prop 8 is unconstitutional in a few weeks, it might also overturn marriage bans from coast to coast. Or it might apply to just California. Or it might apply to certain states and not others. Only time will tell. The ruling will come no later than the end of June, so it’s shaping up to be a very tense Pride season indeed.

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  • Elloreigh

    We might pick up a couple more states in 2014; Illinois (assuming they don’t get it done this time around), maybe New Mexico? Possibly California very soon if the court upholds lower court rulings on Prop 8’s unconstitutionality.

    So I think 15 is a possibility in the next year or so. Could me more if non-amendment states like Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, or Wyoming repeal their statutes, but don’t hold your breath.

    Despite the polls, don’t expect Michigan to suddenly to an about-face though. While a swing state that often turns ‘blue’ in elections for federal office, in-state politics are redder-than-red with a Republican house, senate, and governor.

  • sweetbrandigirl2004

    I suspect you’ll see a lot of them removing their bands on gay marriage in a rush to beat the Supreme Courts decision which everyone expects will shoot down DOMA and will find Prop 8 has no standing. This will make it Illegal to treat gay couples differently and thats going to put these state in violation of Federal Law. The Only states I don’t think will rush to change the laws they have on the books are the southern states some of which will choose to fight the feds in court, even though they know this it’s a losing battle it will prolong them being able to continue to discriminate.

  • Geoff B

    As for Illinois, I’m losing faith this year, but I’m also guessing the House Democrats who are holding this up will have a hard time surviving next year’s primaries making this a done deal by early 2015. Maybe this fall if we can get a couple more House Repubs on board (at the state level, our Repubs tend to be more moderate than those at the federal level). My guess is SCOTUS will at the very least undo Prop 8 for California next month. Hawaii will follow suit this year bringing us to 14 or 15 states by years end. Oregon , New Jersey, and either Nevada or New Mexico fall into our column next year. Nevada and Jersey has the gambling industry pouring lots of of money and lobbying on the side of equality and by next year’s end NM may have enough votes to override a veto, should Martinez get elected. Believe it or not, lots of conservatives are slowly softening their stance on this issue. They’ll still vote Repub, but their younger demographic poll overwhelmingly on our side making any more any more Anti gay amendments unlikely (this is why more people coming out is so important, people are less likely to vote against us if they know a loved family member or friend is gay). It’ll be interesting to watch more and more states fall like dominos. Vegas should start making books on this.

  • twoguysbrooklyn

    It is most likely that the Supremes will overturn Prop 8 while confining the decision to California. If the DOMA decision results in Federal benefits being granted to couples married where it is legal, pressure will be on the civil-union only states to enact full marriage to provide full benefits. That would mean Hawaii, Colorado and New Jersey might be next. Those with state constitutional amendments will take more time as the other comments noted.

    Sorry to hear that Illinois may not happen this year. Still hoping.

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