Wyoming and Iowa are advancing anti-marriage legislation, while Maryland is getting closer to voting on expanding marriage equality to its residents sometime next month — all this and more in our latest installment of State Marriage Watch:
– WYOMING: Moments ago, the Wyoming House passed House Bill 74 — banning the state from recognizing same-sex marriages performed elsewhere — by a vote of 32-27. The measure now moves to the Senate. On Friday, the Wyoming Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation by a 3-2 vote that would ban same-sex marriage in the state, but amended the legislation to allow for civil unions. The House Judiciary Committee will take up civil unions legislation — H.R. 150 — this week.
– MARYLAND: Last week, Senate Majority Leader Rob Garagiola of Montgomery County introduced the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act (SB116), which would permit same-sex couples to marry but would not require churches to perform the unions. The House version of that bill is scheduled to be introduced this week by House Majority Leader Kumar Barve. Del. Luiz R.S. Simmons is also due to introduce a “slightly different” bill. ‘ Equality Maryland expects a Senate hearing on either Tuesday, Feb. 1 or Thursday, Feb. 3 and anticipates “a three-day fight on the Senate floor during the week of Feb. 7, culminating with a cloture vote, which requires 29 votes. Twenty-four votes are needed to pass the Senate bill; there are 18 co-sponsors.”
– IOWA: An Iowa house subcommittee will hold the first hearings this afternoon on an amendment that would repeal recognition of same-sex marriages and ban civil unions. “The full judiciary committee is scheduled to consider the bill today at 4 p.m. Republicans have a 12-9 advantage on the committee and a 60-40 majority in the full House.” The Iowa Marriage Amendment (IMA) would “put a question on the 2013 ballot that would define marriage in the Iowa constitution as a heterosexual union – and thereby reverse the 2009 Iowa Supreme Court ruling that brought gay marriage to the Midwest.” The measure is “supported by 56 out of 60 Republicans in the House and supporters claim all 60 GOP members will likely vote for the measure, which has little – if any – support among Democrats.”
– NEW HAMPSHIRE: After initially saying that the party will focus on economic issues, New Hampshire’s House Republican leader, Rep. D.J. Bettencourt told The Associated Press he will ask the committee responsible for the repealing the state’s marriage equality law “to retain it until next year.”
For a complete overview of the latest developments in the marriage battleground states of Rhode Island, Maryland, New York, California, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Wyoming, Iowa, and New Mexico, click here.