Guess Who’s Getting Married…
As a young twenty-something it can sometimes feel like everyone around you is getting married. That all anyone can talk about is weddings, all the time. Wedding fever can be frustrating and annoying (not to mention exclusionary) for some to witness, but in this moment in the struggle for LGBT rights maybe a little marriage buzz isn’t such a bad thing. Indeed in the wake of the landmark victories for marriage equality last November, there’s a lot of weddings and wedding news to talk about.
The end of December and beginning of January witnessed the first legally sanctioned same-sex marriages in Washington state, Maryland and Maine – all three of which voted to legalize same-sex marriage in November. Already, thousands of same-sex couples have received marriage licenses in these states, including many who have lived together for years without any legal recognition.
Meanwhile several other states are taking steps toward joining the nine states (and the District of Columbia) that already recognize same sex marriages. A same-sex marriage bill was introduced in the Illinois state legislature early this week after passing out of the Senate Executive Committee last week and local advocates remain hopeful that the bill may be passed within the year. Marriage equality bills have also been introduced in the Rhode Island State House and Senate and House leaders expect a vote within the month. If Rhode Island passes this bill they would become the last state in New England to allow same-sex couples to marry.
In a major symbolic victory the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. announced Wednesday that they too would begin performing same sex marriages. The Episcopal Church, of which the National Cathedral is a part, allows individual congregations and diocese to decide whether to perform same-sex marriages (the Episcopal Church also just agreed to appoint gay bishops, with one catch). The Very Rev. Gary Hall, the Dean of the National Cathedral, said Wednesday, “As a kind of tall-steeple, public church in the nation’s capital, by saying we’re going to bless same-sex marriages, conduct same-sex marriages, we are really trying to take the next step for marriage equality in the nation and in the culture.”
But, of course, just celebrating these weddings is not enough. Jewish tradition commands us to smash a glass at our weddings to commemorate our past suffering and to stand in solidarity with those suffering today. So as we celebrate these victories and this momentum it is critical to redouble our commitment to marriage equality everywhere in the United States. The Supreme Court announced this week that it would hear challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 on March 26th and 27th (yes, those are the first two days of Passover). Additionally the Respect For Marriage Act, the legislative step toward undoing DOMA, is expected to be reintroduced in the 113th Congress within the next month.
Join us at RACblog as we keep tracking developments in this important struggle for justice and equality.