The Latest in Marriage Equality Around the Country and the World
For some time I have intended to write an update about the growing support for marriage equality in Congress, across the country and around the world. As other issues have come up, I’ve been delayed in writing this post a number of times. But each time I’ve postponed writing this post it seems a new person, a new state, or a new country has moved closer toward supporting marriage equality. So, though I am loathe to jinx the amazing momentum marriage equality is experiencing right now, here is an update of where and among who marriage equality is starting to see these great gains.
Last month Ohio Senator Rob Portman became the first sitting Republican Senator to endorse marriage equality, citing his personal evolution on the issue after his son came out to him two years ago (Senator Portman just became the first Republican co-sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act as well). In the weeks that followed a number of Senators publically affirmed their support for marriage equality including a moving statement from Republican Mark Kirk of Illinois. As of now 54 U.S. Senators – two Republicans and all but three Democrats – have endorsed marriage equality.
Meanwhile support for marriage equality continues to gain speed at the state level. Colorado’s provision allowing for civil unions came into effect this week and the first married couples received their papers yesterday. A marriage equality bill passed the Illinois State Senate in February and the State House is poised to take up the issue in the coming weeks. And just yesterday Rhode Island became the 10th state to pass marriage equality bringing the total number of people who live in states with equal marriage to 50 million! (Notably, if the Supreme Court strikes down California’s Proposition 8, that number could nearly double).
Too often we focus our discussions of LGBT rights and marriage equality solely on the United States (though check out what Ambassador Susan Rice told the Consultation on Conscience about LGBT rights and the U.N.) , but over the past month great strides have been taken in support of marriage equality around the world. Three more countries – Uruguay, New Zealand and France – have legalized same sex marriage, and the United Kingdom still seems likely to pass marriage equality (despite a recent decision from the Church of England) in the coming months. If the U.K. does indeed pass marriage equality it would bring the total number of countries who have beaten the U.S. to providing full rights to marriage equality to fourteen.
How long must we wait until the United States can join the ranks of these countries? While full marriage equality nationwide may not be the most likely outcome of next month’s Supreme Court ruling, anything is possible. Even so the Supreme Court’s rulings in Windsor v. United States and Hollingsworth v. Perry could mean great leaps forward in the pursuit of LGBT rights in America.
Who knows what politician, what state, what country will be the next to come out for marriage equality – check back here at RACblog to see who comes out for equality next!