Entries from: Marriage Equality

Illinois GOP chair quits after marriage equality tussle

bradygopillIllinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady today resigned his post in part, he said, because his personal support for marriage equality cost him the support of social conservatives in the party.  The move comes as some in the GOP are resisting efforts to broaden the party’s appeal and tone down anti-gay rhetoric.

Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk is one of two Senate Republicans to announce their support of marriage rights for same-sex couples.  ”I agree with him, we need to get on the right side of history,” said Brady.  ”It’s about addition and not subtraction, and if we come off as mean-spirited or angry or too dogmatic, then we don’t attract people to the party,” Brady told the Chicago Tribune.

State GOP operatives upset with Brady’s vocal support for a pending marriage equality bill have tried for weeks to remove him, finally settling on a transition plan that made clear Brady was no longer welcome.

Ill. gov. works with out legislator to round up marriage votes

patquinnIllinois Gov. Pat Quinn told the Windy City Times this week that he’s working with openly gay state Rep. Greg Harris, the sponsor of a pending marriage equality bill, to secure enough votes for the measure’s passage in the coming month.

“We’ve been talking to house members of both parties, really dozens of them. I’m really optimistic we’re within striking distance. Hopefully between now and the 31st of May, Greg Harris, our sponsor, will find a moment to call the bill for a roll call,” Quinn said.

The Illinois House has until the end of the legislative session to pass the bill, which has already won approval in the state Senate.  ”We’ve come a long distance. We’ve traveled over a very high mountain. But when you come down to the last stretch in the race, we’ve got to sprint. We cannot jog. In other words, what we have to do in these next few days and weeks is redouble our efforts because we don’t want any legislators at the last minute deciding not to vote yes,” Quinn told the Windy City Times.

Gay lawmakers applauded on Rhode Island marriage victory

rhodeislandmarriageThe Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund today congratulated the four openly gay and lesbian Rhode Island state legislators whose efforts helped secure marriage equality for same-sex couples.

House Speaker Gordon D. Fox, Rep. Frank Ferri, Rep. Deb Ruggiero and Sen. Donna Nesselbush became the face and voice of thousands of LGBT Rhode Islanders in same-sex relationships who have long sought equality under law, speaking out in favor of legislation that received final approval today in the state Senate.  The House, which already gave overwhelming approval to another version of the bill, is expected to approve the Senate-passed legislation next week, and Gov. Lincoln Chafee has vowed to sign it into law.

“We are grateful to Rhode Island’s gay and lesbian legislators for standing up for themselves, for their partners, for their families and for every young person across the state who dreams of one day marrying the person they love,” said Victory Fund president and CEO Chuck Wolfe.  “They spoke passionately and authentically about the personal impact of this struggle, and that has made a tremendous difference.  Today is a day to celebrate their hard work, and that of their colleagues and all the groups in the Rhode Islanders United for Marriage coalition who made this day possible.”

Openly LGBT lawmakers, working alongside local, state and national LGBT organizations, have also seen success in recent legislative pushes for marriage equality in New York, Maryland and Washington state.  Currently, 109 openly gay, lesbian and bisexual state legislators are serving in 37 U.S. states.

“We’re working to make sure every single state legislature in America has the benefit of at least one openly LGBT lawmaker who can speak for our community,” said Wolfe, “but when we can build up a caucus of four, five, six or more, it makes it far more likely that state legislatures will begin to see LGBT Americans as worthy of the right to pursue happiness.”

Go here to sign Victory Fund’s online card thanking the four out members of the Rhode Island legislature.

France OK’s marriages, adoptions for same-sex couples

france marriageThe French parliament today gave final approval to a bill legalizing marriage and adoption for same-sex couples.  The 331-225 vote in the National Assembly comes just two weeks after the French Senate approved the measure, and days after a spate of anti-gay violence across the country that some believe is connected to the pitched debate over marriage rights.

“We believe that the first weddings will be beautiful and that they’ll bring a breeze of joy, and that those who are opposed to them today will surely be confounded when they are overcome with the happiness of the newlyweds and the families,” said Justice Minister Christiane Taubira, who added the country’s first same-sex weddings will likely be held in June.

Photo:  LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Nevada state senator comes out amid marriage debate

kelvin atkinsonA measure that would allow Nevada voters to reverse a state ban on recognizing same-sex marriages passed 12-9 in the Nevada Senate last night.  The legislation now heads to the state House.  It will need to be ratified once again in the next legislative session before the question appears on a statewide ballot.

The debate in the Nevada Senate turned personal when Sen. Kelvin Atkinson told his colleagues he is gay, according to a report in the Las Vegas Sun:

“I’m black. I’m gay,” Atkinson said in a trembling voice after describing his father’s interracial re-marriage that would have been banned earlier in American history. “I know this is the first time many of you have heard me say that I am a black, gay male.”

Atkinson went on to rebut the argument that gay marriage threatens any other definition of marriage. “If this hurts your marriage, then your marriage was in trouble in the first place,” he said.

Atkinson’s coming out brings to five the total number of out state lawmakers in Nevada.