A civil unions bill is headed to the governor’s desk in Hawaii, while marriage advocates are fighting to preserve the right to marry in New Hampshire. That’s in today’s State Marriage Watch:
– HAWAII: The Hawaii Senate passed the final version of a civil unions bill by a vote of 18–5.The bill will now go to Gov. Neil Abercrombie for his signature. Watch my video of passage here.
– CALIFORNIA: California’s Supreme Court voted unanimously to decide whether the sponsors of a 2008 ballot measure prohibiting same-sex marriage “have the legal standing to defend it under state law,” delaying a decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. “The federal appeals court had asked the state high court to provide guidance on whether ProtectMarriage.com, the proponents of the 2008 ballot measure, could defend it before the 9th Circuit after California officials refused to do so.”
– NORTH CAROLINA: Republican state Senator James Forrester is circulating a constitutional amendment that “would not only ban recognition of same-sex marriages but any kind of relationship recognition for gay couples.” “The amendment could also ban private companies based in the state from offering domestic partner benefits,” Equality North Carolina warns. The amendment must pass by a three-fifths majority in both houses and a majority of the state’s voters.
– WYOMING: On Wednesday, in a vote of 17–12, the Wyoming Senate advanced HB 74, “legislation that would ban recognition of same-sex marriages and civil unions from outside the state.” The legislation must now pass two additional votes before it would head to Gov. Matt Mead’s desk for his signature. Late last month, the Wyoming Senate also “voted 20–10 to approve a proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage; that legislation is currently being considered by the Wyoming House, though it’s been pushed down the agenda by House leadership so far this week.”
– MARYLAND: The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee is expected to approve same-sex marriage legislation today, before it moves too the full Senate on Tuesday where supporters say they may have the votes to pass the measure after two days of debate.
– NEW HAMPSHIRE: The House Judiciary Committee will consider two bills to repeal New Hampshire’s same-sex marriage law. The sponsor of one bill, House Republican Leader D.J. Bettencourt, “has said he will ask the committee to hold the bills until next year so lawmakers can focus on fiscal issues. But the sponsor of the second bill believes it would be better to vote on the issue this year.” Democratic Gov. John Lynch has said he will veto a repeal bill, but “Republicans hold supermajorities in both the House and Senate which would be enough to override a veto.” For latest updates, check out Prop8 Tracker.
– UTAH: State Rep. LaVar Christensen (R) has dropped an anti-gay bill that said married straight families are the “fundamental unit of society.” Christensen claimed, “I would like to have time for that dialogue to continue so there is no confusion, misunderstanding or unintended consequences in the bills as they may ultimately be adopted.” Christensen is also abandoning HB270, “which states that Utah laws and policy must support marriage between a man and woman, which, according to the bill, is an institution ‘consistent with the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God, the Creator and Supreme Judge of the World, affirmed in the nation’s founding Declaration of Independence.’”
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.