The fight for marriage equality in Maryland received an endorsement from an influential Republican, while a Utah lawmakers continues to try and write discrimination into that state’s constitution. That’s in today’s State Marriage Watch:
- RHODE ISLAND: Rep. Jon Brien (D) will introduce a bill “calls for a 2012 ballot question to give voters a chance “to approve or reject a constitutional amendment specifying that ‘only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in the State of Rhode Island.” The measure is expected to fail. The House Judicial Committee was scheduled to hold a hearing on Wednesday on a separate bill that would allow same-sex marriage bill, but it was “postponed one week due to the weather.”
- MARYLAND: After stepping down from the leadership position over his support for civil unions, State Sen. Allan Kittleman (R) has announced that he will support legislation to allow same-sex marriages. “The decision came just one day after the Senate Republican Caucus -made up of those Kittleman used to lead – decided to oppose the same bill.” In a statement Kittleman said, “While my faith may teach that marriage is between a man and a woman, our government is not a theocracy. Therefore, while my spiritual life is extremely important to me, it cannot be the sole basis for my decisions as a state senator.” Meanwhile, Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown also told the Washington Blade Wednesday “that he supports marriage equality for lesbians and gays and favors the approval of a same-sex marriage bill pending in the Maryland Legislature.”
- UTAH: State Representative LaVar Christensen (R), who pushed through the state’s same-sex marriage ban, has introduced HB 270, a bill that would require state law to say “married heterosexual families are the ‘fundamental unit of society.’” The measure also says, “marriage is “consistent with the laws of nature and nature’s God, The Creator and Supreme Judge Of The World.” LaVar Christensen has also reintroduced a bill he tried to run in 2006 which “prohibits same sex couples from making contractual arrangements such as wills and financial arrangements.” HB 182, slides in under the generic title ‘Voiding Transactions Against Public Policy’ but would “strip even more rights away from the same sex couples who desperately depend on contractual arrangements as Utah denies them any of the inherent protections afforded to any other couple.
- IOWA: Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal (D) is vowing to kill a House bill that would allow Iowa residents to vote on a referendum recognizing only marriages between one man and one woman. “I cannot cooperate in taking away the rights of a significant number of Iowans,” he said. “That is fundamentally what the Constitution is there to prevent — to make it exceedingly difficult for the majority to choose to discriminate against a minority.” The measure passed the House on Tuesday in a vote of 63 to 37.
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.