A new poll in New Hampshire finds that just 29 percent of residents support repealing the state’s same-sex marriage law, while an opponent of marriage equality in Maryland has said that degrading testimony about gay couples may push him to support the effort. Below is today’s State Marriage Watch:
- NEW HAMPSHIRE: The House Judiciary Committee will consider two bills on February 17th that would repeal the state’s new gay marriage law and an earlier law allowing civil unions. “The effort comes as a University of New Hampshire Survey Center poll released Wednesday indicates a majority of state residents oppose repeal and want the Legislature to focus on jobs and the economy.” The poll found that “62 percent want to keep gay marriage in place while 29 percent want to repeal it.” “Predictions on both sides are that the repeal will pass in the House and Senate, will be vetoed by Gov. John Lynch, and the battle will come over the effort to overturn or sustain the veto. A two-thirds affirmative vote is needed in both houses to overturn.”
- RHODE ISLAND: Yesterday, hundreds of people turned out “to testify or hear from advocates and opponents of a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in Rhode Island.” The bill will have to “pass through committee before going to the House for approval. The major obstacle could be in the Senate, where Democratic Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed opposes same-sex marriage. The Senate is seen as having a more conservative membership than the House.”
- MARYLAND: On Tuesday, the Democratic-controlled Senate held a seven-hour hearing on the marriage equality bill. Following the testimony, Maryland state senator James Brochin (D) said he may now support marriage equality after hearing degrading remarks about gay couples. “The demonization of gay families really bothered me. Are these families going to continue to be treated by the law as second class citizens,” he asked. The senate is expected to vote on the measure before the end of the month.
- NEW YORK: Yesterday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) said that “he intended to ask the Legislature to take up the matter in its current session, which ends in June.” “We’ll be working very hard to pass it,” he said.
- HAWAII: “Hawaii’s house of representatives will soon vote on a bill to legalize civil unions after the house judiciary committee approved the legislation with an 11-2 vote Tuesday.” The vote could occur as soon as Friday.
- INDIANA: On Monday, in a vote of 8-4, a House Committee passed an amendment to Indiana’s state constitution “that would ban gay marriage and civil unions in the state,” even though existing state law already prohibits legal recognition for same sex marriage or for any relationship between same sex couples. “If the full House approves the proposed amendment as expected, it would move to the Republican-led Senate, where it has met little resistance in previous years. If both chambers pass the proposal, it would have to pass again in 2013 or 2014 in order to get on the ballot in 2014.”
- IOWA: Yesterday, an Iowa House subcommittee considered and ultimately tabled House Study Bill 50, a measure that would allow an “Iowa business owner who cites religious beliefs to refuse to provide jobs, housing, goods or services to people involved in a marriage that violates his or her religious convictions.”
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.