Thursday, February 16, 2012

More States Debating Same Sex Marriage

Another week and three more states appear to be on the verge of approving the ability of same-sex couples to marry within their jurisdictions. Legislation was signed on Monday in Washington which will take effect no earlier than June that will allow same-sex marriage in the state. Both New Jersey and Maryland have bills before their governments today which would legalize gay marriage. Many expect the measure to pass in New Jersey, while questions remain in Maryland. However, even with passage of the bill in New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is expected to veto the bill.

“In Maryland, the House of Delegates will begin debate on the "Civil Marriage Protection Act" sponsored by Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat.” The bill has already been passed by two House Committees, but there remains doubt as to if there are enough supporters to get through the House vote. Last year Maryland was unsuccessful in passing similar legislation.

In New Jersey, “the state Senate approved the proposed Marriage Equality and Religious Exemption Act on Monday.” It is expected the measure will pass the House later today. Once passage occurs, it is almost certain that the legislation will be vetoed. However, I have a hard time fully disagreeing with the governor’s reasoning for promising a veto: he is fully expected to back a referendum in November where he feels it will be up to the voters, and not the legislature, to allow same-sex marriage. Unlike some other jurisdictions where voters have had a voice, a recent poll indicates “that a majority of New Jersey voters support the right of same-sex couples to marry.” As such, supporters of the bill feel that it is only a matter of time before same-sex marriage will be legalized in New Jersey. And, when such legislation passed, it will be the true desire of the voters who cared enough to voice their opinion on the subject.

For further information, you can find relevant articles here and here.

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