Friday Forum

Friday Forum: Where Are We Getting Married Next?

It’s that time of the week, when Queerty takes a break from the opinion-making and puts you, the readers, in charge. Each Friday, we invite you to be the pundit on a hot-button question facing the LGBT community and its allies. As always, we expect people to be respectful and considerate of others by refraining from personal attacks. We present the information, you make the decision.

3416922489_97cc6b04e9Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa and Vermont. If you had told us a week and a day ago that the number of states that offered up gay marriage would double by this day, we would have scratched our heads, but now, it feels like not only is gay marriage an inevitability in this country, it’s going to come sooner rather than later. The question is, who’s next?

We covered the gay marriage horse race in the legislatures last week, but to recap the most likely candidates (including those that may win by court decision):

New Hampshire
Why they’re next: The House has already passed gay marriage legislation this session and the Senate has taken up the bill. The state is right next door to Vermont, so it may not want to be shown up.

Why they aren’t: They’re right next to Vermont, but are world’s apart, politically. Where Vermont is the wacky-progressive state, New Hampshire is the wacky libertarian one.

Why they’re next: There are over 50 co-sponsors for Maine’s marriage bill which will come up in the House this month.

Why they aren’t: The Maine Marriage Initiative is in full force trying to defeat the bill, inundating the Governor John Baldacci’s office with mail urging him to veto the bill if it comes to his desk.

Washington D.C.

Why they’re next: The D.C. City Council passed a measure recognizing out of state same-sex marriages this week. D.C. is a Democratic stronghold and a bill legalizing same-sex relationships will be introduced this month.

Why they aren’t: If the bill passes, because of D.C.’s status as a ward of the federal government, Congress must approve the measure. If this happens, Congressional Dems will be in a real pickle. How can you vote for gay marriage in D.C. and not support it nationwide?

Why they’re next: A bill passed in the Senate last month makes domestic partnerships in the state have the same rights as marriage.

Why they aren’t: While having the same rights as marriage is great, it’s not marriage.

New Jersey
Why they’re next: The state offers both civil unions and domestic partnerships and recognizes out-of-state gay marriages as civil unions. A commission formed as a result of the NJ Supreme Court Civil Unions case recommended that the legislature pass a gay marriage bill and Governor John Corzine says he would sign it.

Why they aren’t: No such bill has been introduced yet.

Why they’re next: Nevada is considering a domestic partnership bill that would give many of the rights of marriage. A recent blue state, Las Vegas’ economic boom has significantly altered the demographics of the state.

Why they aren’t: Domestic partnerships aren’t marriage, but a good first step towards it.

Why they’re next: The majority of Illinois citizens support some form of same-sex union, according to polls. Illinois has been shown up by Iowa, which locals tell us, is a motivator.

Why they aren’t: While there’s a Civil Unions bill kicking around, these same locals tell us there isn’t widespread support for it in the legislature.

Why they’re next: While most legal scholars (and Queerty editors) think teh California Supreme Court will rule to uphold Prop. 8, there’s the possibility that this week’s recent developments will give the justice’s pause. A motivated gay civil rights movement has formed and are considering putting up a ballot initiative as soon as 2010.

Why they aren’t: Like we said, the California Supreme Court is wary of overturning the will of the voters.

New York
Why they’re next: Gov. Patterson has said he will introduce a gay marriage bill this year and practically every Democrat in the state has come out in support of gay marriage. The influence of nearby New England is likely to factor in, as well.

Why they aren’t: Much of upstate New York is fairly conservative, but if anything Albany’s predilection for deadlock and filibustering keep the wheels of progress grinding slowly.

With that rundown in mind, we want to hear your take on which state will offer marriage equality to gays and lesbians next. Bonus points for creating sports odds. One of these states will be offering gay marriage. You tell us which.

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  • tsagrednerp

    I hope that the wheel will continue to turn and states will continue to breakdown the barriers of inequality. It’s time that all states and all countries realized that by segregation and discrimination we as a species remains static and progress is stalled.

  • Chitown Kev

    All eyes on what happens in Washington DC. The City Council there will give the green light to marriage equality, it has the mayor’s backing. Then it goes to Congress.

    That is where it will get interesting. Andit has little or nothing to do with Obama.

  • Bill Perdue

    SSM is a big issue not so because it’s number one for most GLBT folks but because the fight against SSM is a central focus of attack on us by right centrist politicians ever since Bill Clinton, whose NAFTA and DADT betrayals made his reelection in ’96 iffy, championed DOMA, rammed it through Congress bought radio ads like this on redneck christer radio stations:

    “Protecting religious freedom. It’s the foundation of our nation.

    When the Justice Department went after a church to gather the parishioners’ tithing money, the government was stopped cold because President Clinton overturned the government’s policy and protected us… It’s not the only time he’s defended our values.

    President Clinton wants a complete ban on late term abortions … The President signed the Defense of Marriage Act… President Clinton has fought for our values and America is better for it.

    “Paid for by Clinton/Gore 96”

    Bush and Rove continued Clinton’s tradition by using SSM as a wedge issue and enacting DOMAs in dozens of states. And of course Obama’s efforts to torpedo SSM with statements like “gawd’s in the mix” are part of the same backward anti-GLBT effort by right centrist Democrats and Republicans.

    I’d put my money NY. What could stop us there are bigoted Democrats working with upstate Republicans. What’s in our favor is that Patterson’s doing badly and needs something to polarize the state for and against him. SSM certainly fits the bill.

  • NateinSLC

    I would say that the odds are in Maine’s favor right now. I give them a 50% chance to be the next one since they have a governor who is willing to be consider the idea, and they have so many co-sponsors.

    I give CA a 20% chance, given that is how likely I think it is that their court will overturn Prop 8. Really, they should overturn it, but the question is will they have the gumption and fortitude?

    I give NH a 30% shot of being next. This is because they don’t have any hearings scheduled on the bill in the Senate Committee it has to go through, and their Governor is a wild card.

    I didn’t count NV or WA because it won’t be marriage in those states, but I think that they will both pass their bills. I would give NV a 50% chance of passing and WA’s a 75% chance of passing.

  • Alec

    @Bill Perdue: Why isn’t there same-sex marriage in Cuba or Venezuela? Why didn’t the USSR ever get around to it, or, for that matter, decriminalizing homosexuality?

    Your myopia is showing. Again.

  • Bill Perdue

    @Alec: Shifting the debate overseas won’t justify your craven dependence on bigots like Obama.

    The answer is that the Cuban CP has a strong Stalinist current which I among others have been very critical of while at the same time supportive of the gains of the Revolution in terms of socialized medicine, housing, working conditions and their ability to kick sand in the face of every imperial president since JFK.

    Venezuela is a capitalist country with a radical president trying to impose things from above. He won’t succeed.

    Alec, the question is are the owners of your precious Democrat Party bigots or not. The answer is yes. People like you who depend on them for GLBT equality are simply delusional and you end up supporting their war, their trillions in bailouts to the rich and their bigotry by voting for them and urging others to vote for them. That’s the definition of unprincipled.

    The question about the USSR is answered in the thread on ‘gay jebuz’ but it very complicated so just take it one step at a time. You may want to take your shoes off in case you have to count beyond 10.

  • Alec

    @Bill Perdue: This is hilarious. Thanks. So basically you can excuse anti-gay bigotry on the part of the far left by assigning blame to “Stalinists,” is that it?

    That you think you know my politics is amusing to say the least.

  • Bruno

    I think there’s a decent puncher’s chance at New Hampshire being next. It’s already past one house, the Senate is Democrat-leaning while the governor is a not-so-into-SSM Democrat (though small and we know Democrats are no assurance of anything). I do think Vermont’s bill will affect NH, though it could have the reverse effect. There seems to be broad support in Maine, but the governor there is also supposedly opposed.

    California is a “no,” in fact this ruling will probably give them the confidence that SSM is inevitable anyway, so they’ve already done their part.

    NJ & NY are dragging their feet so mercilessly, but I predict NJ will be the next state, sometime later this year or in 2010.

  • Robert, NYC

    I predict New Hampshire, New Jersey next and then New York, followed by Maine. Regarding the situation in New York, the three conservative democrats, Diaz, Espada and Kruger can’t be certain of their seats come 2010. If they’re ousted and replaced by fair minded democrats, there’s every chance we could get marriage equality passed by no later than 2011 provided there are no major losses by democrats to the grand obstructionist party of hate.

  • Bill Perdue

    @Robert, NYC: Robert, what are the chances of picking up a couple of Republicans or putting pressure on some of the Democrat bigots?

    Does Patterson have the balls to push them hard or enough authority?

  • DaveO

    @Chitown Kev: “Andit has little or nothing to do with Obama.”

    Absolutely not. It will have nothing to do with Obama only if he decides to skirt the controversial issue and not take a stand. If he personally engaged in the issue, there’s no chance it would pass.

  • Bill Perdue

    @Alec: I’ve read your comments. You excuse your faith in Obama, whose policies are determinedly bigoted, pro war and for bailouts for the looter class is pathetically misplaced and dependent. Your assimilationist “one step at a time’ theory is drivel. Democrats, by supporting candidates like Obama support his policies. Pathetic.

    There aren’t many people I look up too among cultists but Tutu is one. I agree with his statement that “I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights.”

    Would you like to correct the idiocy of “Why didn’t the USSR ever… decriminalizing homosexuality?” The Bolsheviks decriminalized GLBT behavior immediately and never reinstated it. The USSR was created later.

  • Alec

    @Bill Perdue: Please continue.I so love reading your hysterical, “radical” commentary. It sounds like it came straight from a Marxist coffee shop circle jerk.

    Yes. Obama is an evil bigot, we’re fake leftists and your purity will save the world. It is only an accident of history that the vile mixed economy states became (and continue to be) more gay friendly than the communist states.

    What else? Oh, right, corporations are particularly homophobic, notwthstanding substantial evidence to the contrary. Have I missed anything? :-P

  • Robert, NYC

    @Bill Perdue:

    Bill, hi, thanks for your email too.

    I’m not so sure if there are enough moderate republicans who would support legislation. Though there might be one if he runs, Rick Lazio from Long Island. I’ve yet to find out what his views are on marriage equality, nobody seems to know.

    Paterson’s popularity is at an all-time low. After Spitzer was booted out (one of the saddest things to happen th NYS dems and the first governor ever to write marriage equality legislation) Paterson inherited a lot of problems from the republican Governor Pataki’s administration, huge deficits, the usual rethuglican legacy, borrowing and not paying back their debts, just as Bush did. What we need to do is keep a democratic governor in power, whoever that may be, the least of the two evils.

    I don’t think Paterson is the type to whip conservative democrats into place though, had Spitzer remained governor, we would have seen an entirely different picture I think. He was a brilliant man (still is in my opinion) but had a weakness for the ladies. Paterson is a good man but not the type to confront the troublemakers as Spitzer was, a tough, no-nonsense politician. What I admire most about Spitzer is that he stuck his neck out for us unlike most of the others, though Paterson was upfront about supporting marriage equality. Much of the current economic downturn was accurately predicted by Spitzer I might add, a brilliant mind. I’m just so sorry he’s no longer the governor, but I think he should return to the political arena if he can, its his main strength and area of expertise.

    I would be very surprised if we don’t see marriage equality passed by 2011, if it doesn’t, then the Dems better get used to the idea that they may not be able to take our votes for granted either. We’ve waited far too long and we need to demand our rights, not ask for them. Its going to be interesting to see which state is next. My gut feeling is still New Hampshire.

  • Bill Perdue

    @Alec: What did you miss? As usual you missed the truth.

    And even your attacks on straw men are inept. How on earth do you earn a living?

    Oh I forgot, you’re a lawyer.

  • Bill Perdue

    @Robert, NYC:

    Robert, as it turns out Spitzer was set up by AIG because he was going after them. Life in the corporate jungle.

    It’s too bad about Patterson. He’s way, way down in the polls and needs a little something to polarize sentiment around himself. maybe he thinks SSM is it.

    If the Democrats actually had principles (and don’t hold your breath on this one) they’d summarily expel anyone in their ranks who opposes the ungutted ENDA, tough hate crime and hate speech laws, and who supports DOMA, civil unions or DADT. And after expelling them they run against them in the next election.

    Again, don’t hold your breath. That’s called having principles and the Democrats don’t. NY is one of those places where we should consider an independent GLBT party to run against the Democrats. Elections aren’t meant to change things (they wouldn’t occur if they were) but we can still use them as powerful tools to organize our communities, build alliances and educate others.

  • atdleft

    OK, here’s what I’m thinking:

    California- Don’t pay attention to the corporate media. We don’t know what the court will do, and neither do the “legal experts” bloviating on teh teevee. And regardless of what the court does this year, we must be ready next year to defend/win our civil rights.

    DC- The District’s leaders really do want to give us full equality, but it sucks that Congress may block progress here. Sigh…

    Illinois- I’m getting concerned. Why isn’t the civil unions bill progressing? I’m starting to feel that Nevada may get DP’s before Illinois sees civil unions.

    Maine- This state may be the wild card. It looks like there’s a real chance of passage in the State House, but Gov. Baldacci hasn’t said anything about it. What’s going on?

    Nevada- I covered this on my blog earlier this week:

    The bad news is that it’s not marriage. However, the good news is that Nevada DP’s (if passed & become law) will include all the same rights as marriage and be available to both gay & straight couples. Oh yes, and the other good news is that support is growing for LGBT rights in Carson City. So while Nevada isn’t at marriage equality left, I do think we’re getting close and will get even closer once DP’s introduce Nevadans to the concept.

    New Hampshire- I’m hopeful about the Legislature, but Gov. Lynch doesn’t seem supportive. He seems to think that “separate but (NOT) equal” civil unions are good enough, but maybe if the bill passes the State Senate that will put some pressure on him.

    New Jersey- I’m thinking that our next victory will probably be either here or Cali. Gov. Corzine is supportive and I’ve heard from friends out east that we may be close to finally having enough votes in the Legislature for passage. I think what happens next will largely depend on the November election. If Corzine survives and the Dems hold both Leg houses, we may see a marriage bill either late this year or early next year. But if Chris Christie defeats Corzine and/or the GOP takes one or both houses of the Legislature, say bye-bye to marriage equality for a few years.

    If you’re in NJ, PLEASE make sure the Dems win this fall! Our rights depend on it!

    New York- Unfortunately, the Blue Dog Dems in the State Senate are holding marriage equality hostage. Gov. Paterson may be able to finally shine a light on these cruel Blue Dogs by making some noise about marriage, but I don’t know how far he’ll get in getting the bill passed.

    Washington- I’m hopeful that the DP bill will soon become law, but it sucks that the radical right is pulling out all the stops to slow it down in the House like they’ve been doing in Illinois. But since Gov. Gregoire is VERY supportive & the Dems in Olympia seem a little more friendly to our community, I hope they’ll be able to get it passed this year.

    Oh yeah, and when will we see action again in New Mexico & Hawaii?

    While I don’t like predicting courts, here’s how I rank the likelihood of marriage equality being passed soon:

    California & New Jersey (tie)
    New Hampshire
    New York

    And DP’s/civil unions:

    Nevada & Washington (tie)
    New Mexico

  • daftpunkydavid

    i’ll only talk about actual marriage, as the rest, though transiently satisfactory, is not the real deal.

    i think you’re deluded if you think the california supreme court will overturn prop 8. the court is pro-gay, but overturning the amended bigotry of californians will only backfire (especially for the rest of us not in california). let’s go to the people next year; if not then, then in 2012. it’s not fair, i agree. but it’s the smarter thing to do.

    i think maine and/or new hampshire are surer bets.

    the democratic legislatures in new york (where i live) and new jersey continue to disappoint me, but let’s wait and see, maybe they’ll get there too, in the not so distant future. i encourage all you new yorkers to come to albany this april 28 to lobby your senators and assembly(wo)men!!

    washington, dc would come next. i hear the population is behind it. and the us congress has other things to do than take rights away from people.

    rhode island’s governor is on record saying he’s against equality. so i don’t think it’ll pass there this year. so let’s work to oust this old fart. (i’m also still not happy about vermont governor douglas and will donate to whomever is challenging him next year; these people have to know there are consequences to their votes/vetoes).

  • Alec

    @Bill Perdue: Ad hominem arguments are much more clever than so-called “straw men,” aren’t they?

  • Alec

    @daftpunkydavid: What about the Rhode Island courts? Has anyone considered that possibility?

  • Lance Rockland

    @Alec: No, the courts are useless. They won’t even allow a same-sex couple married in another state to divorce.

    We have to go through the legislature to get marriage rights. There is no other option.

  • atdleft

    @daftpunkydavid: We can’t withdraw the California legal challenge now. We need to wait for the verdict. And if we actually build a good campaign, we can avoid “backlash” after a good decision from the court just like the successful 2004 election in Massachusetts and 2008 election in Connecticut after their respective court verdicts for marriage equality.

    @Alec: I don’t know. Does anyone know if there’s been a lawsuit filed in Rhode Island?

  • Alec

    @Lance Rockland: Which court decided that, though? A court of original jurisdiction or an appellate court?

    I speak from ignorance; I really don’t know. If they don’t recognize gay divorces that decision might be based on an interpretation of a statute and not a state constiutional challenge. Legal reporting is horrid and I don’t have full Lexis and Westlaw access like I used to. A state constitutional challenge might be viable.

  • daftpunkydavid

    re: rhode island. i believe there is no court challenge at the moment; a court can’t just rule on something. someone not happy with some situation must come forward and ask the court for a decision. and i don’t think (though i could be wrong) that’s the case in rhode island.

    re: california. imho, it won’t play to our advantage to have a court strike down prop 22 AND prop 8. i’m not saying they should not. clearly they should. but in the public opinion court, i really don’t know whether that would help us. i would love to be proven wrong! what pisses me off the most is schwarzenegger’s stance in the whole mess. first he was like “let the courts or the legislature decide”; then he vetoes the state legislature’s marriage equality bill. then he cries out that the supreme court should overturn prop 8! i mean, the NERVE!!! i understand that prop 22 was still on the books, and all that, but still, the audacity. i mean, really…

  • atdleft

    @daftpunkydavid: Don’t worry about the court ruling. If the court rules in our favor, the radical right won’t even be able to do another Prop H8. Still, we can easily prevent a “backlash” at the ballot box by simply educating the public on our civil rights and our community just like we would have if the court were not to rule in our favor and thereby force us to do an initiative in 2010.

    Otherwise, I agree with you 120% on Arnold! First, he says he “has no problem on gay marriage”… Then he says “gay marriage should only be between a man and a woman”. (HUH??!!) When the SF marriages commenced in 2004, he went to the courts to stop them and invalidate them. When the Legislature TWICE sent him a marriage equality bill, he vetoed it TWICE. But now that Prop H8 already passed, he says it should be overturned?

    I guess it’s nice he says he’s for marriage equality now, but Arnold’s never had a good or consistent record on the matter.

  • Bill Perdue

    @Alec: You tell me. You’re the expert on that sort of thing. You use it all the time.

    Political losers, rightwing opponents of progress like yourself don’t have much choice.

    Any more crap, because, really, Alec, it’s boring and just detracts from politics. If that’s your intent go right ahead but don’t expect the rest of us to show much interest.

  • alan brickman

    I’d like to see some attractive people for a change getting married in the media instead the out of shape mediocre attention whores “Fox News” would have no problem showing these “technically freaks” to reaffrim people’s homophobia….there I said it…cue the flakey hyprocrisy and low brow political correctness…

  • atdleft

    @alan brickman: I dunno, Alan. I actually think I prefer the media showing regular queer folks like us getting married. I mean, how easy is it for the pundits to marginalize us as just a few “lipstick lesbians” or “gym queens” or “go-go twink boiz” or “big butch ladies”? While they’re all part of our community and I don’t want to exclude them, I think it’s good when the media go beyond the usual “gay stereotypes” to notice all the rest of us who don’t fit the usual stereotype (and no, we’re not all ugly!).

  • alan brickman

    I give you a 2 out of 10 for originality….But they’re are other gays out there than just the one ones who scream “circus freaks” or ‘very queer queens” the homophobic media would make us look like….some are quite handsome attractive and accomplished…..

  • Shay

    I would hope its Cali, the court does not have that long left to tell us if they are going to get rid of prop 8 or keep it, either way there is going to be a huge backlash. But we are slowly gaining states so, sooner or later the U.S. is going to legalize gay marriage.

  • Cee

    I dunno, but those two woman in that pic are fat as hell and the two dudes are unattractive. It’s true and Judge Judy would agree. I live in California and I wanna know why is it I only see unattractive gay people standing up for gay marriage? All those people that came here to get married before prop 8 passed. I saw them and most of them were unattractive, overweight, or older. I’m not being mean . It’s true. It seems like it’s easier for less attractive people to find love. I rarely see hot couples here….and when I do it’s totally physical. I have talked to them and usually know right off the bat they aren’t going to work out because they are so shallow. Then I hear they broke up. I’m generalizing a lot I know. It just seems like attractiveness and shallowness go hand in hand. Guys are always trying to have sex with me and I get tired of it sometimes.

  • Cee

    continued……I dunno what the demographic is on here as far as age and lifestyle. I wonder if anyone else feels like me. I feel like I live in a different world. Gay marriage in my life doesn’t even exist. Like I don’t know any gay married couples or any couples that have been together long. I’m in my mid 20s and know very few gay people of substance. Thank God for my str8 friends. I accept my gay one’s, but most of them are a mess…lol On another note, I think it’s sad here in California that we have all these gay clubs, bath houses, porn studios, yet we can’t have gay marriage…lol

  • Robert, NYC


    Shay….its going to be many many years before all 50 states enact marriage equality. Don’t forget, there are 30 states that have DOMA, no amount of federal legislation can compel them to remove it unless the Supreme Court of the U.S. intervenes as it did with civil rights for African Americans in the 60s, and Roe v. Wade, provided the supremes are stacked with a majority of democrats of course. More western European countries will get there before we do, already five of them so far. We have far too much religious mania deeply entrenched in our national psyche as well as our politicians to get anywhere, one of the obstacles that brought about DOMA and Prop. H8. Have you noticed that whenever someone runs for the highest office in the land, its a rite of passage to profess a religious belief system otherwise you can’t get elected. No other western country is so caught up in religion as the U.S.

  • atdleft

    @alan brickman & @Cee: So only Playboy/Playgirl Swimsuit Models should get married and be featured in the media? Maybe I’m wrong, but I think it helps our case for equality when we dispel the long-held myth that we’re all a bunch of multimillionaire swimsuit models looking for “special privileges”. All my friends who married weren’t featured in porn magazines, but somehow voters they talked to in our recent neighborhood outreach walks liked that we’re all “regular people” that they can relate to.

  • atdleft

    @Shay: I hope so, too. My dad keeps telling me that the longer the judges deliberate, the more likely they’ll rule in our favor. I just dismissed him when he first told me that, but I’m really starting to think my straight father is onto something. Perhaps they’re reconsidering what they said last month, or perhaps they never really believed what they were saying.

    The bottom line is that we don’t know how the CA Supremes will rule and neither do the silly corporate media pundits who act like they can read the judges’ minds. But no matter how they rule, we need to prepare now to win/defend our rights next year in CA and lay the groundwork nationwide for repeals of all the other marriage bans (including DOMA on the federal level).

  • dianne

    Partners should be with whomever you love. Man with Man or Women with Women. I am all for Gay rights and all for marrying for the right reasons LOVE!!! I am gay and would marry my partner tomorrow if it were legal in my state.

    We have to keep fighting for our rights!!!!

  • Myncpooff

    mm… really like it..


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