As Winning Progressive reported recently, 2011 was a banner year for LGBT equality. And 2012 is off to a good start. Yesterday, Washington State’s Democratic Governor Chris Gregoire signed legislation making that state the seventh to recognize marriage equality. In doing so, Gov. Gregoire reversed her previous opposition to marriage equality, and Washington became the first state in the country to recognize marriage equality after having previously banned it. Meanwhile, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit struck down California’s anti-marriage equality Proposition 8 as violating the US Constitution, though the case is now going to the US Supreme Court. And yesterday, the New Jersey State Senate approved marriage equality by a 24-16 vote.
While significant progress has been made, much work remains to ensure that all LGBT Americans have the same right and opportunity to marry the person they love that heterosexual Americans have. This Valentine’s Day is a great time for all of us to step forward and support the fight for marriage equality. Here are five states where helping advance the cause of equality will be especially important in 2012:
The New Jersey marriage equality bill now goes to the state General Assembly, where it is expected to pass. However, GOP Governor Chris Christie has vowed to veto the legislation, claiming that marriage equality needs to be subject to a voter referendum. If you live in New Jersey call Gov. Christie – 609-292-6000 – and your state legislators, and write a letter to the editor in support of marriage equality.
In Maine, marriage equality supporters turned in more than 105,000 petition signatures in support of putting the issue of marriage quality on the ballot for the 2012 elections. This figure is more than twice the number of signatures needed. Assuming that the initiative gets on the ballot, we need to work to make sure it passes. The organization leading the fight is called Why Marriage Matters Maine, and here are links to helping out:
Supporters of equality suffered a setback last spring when marriage equality legislation that had passed the state Senate was narrowly defeated in the state House of Delegates. A large progressive coalition, however, is back to get the legislation passed in 2012, and Maryland’s Governor Martin O’Malley announced last week that he has made the legislation one of his administration’s handful of top legislative priorities. Equality Maryland is leading the fight by, among other things, holding weekly phonebanks throughout the state. Here are links for helping out:
Minnesota and North Carolina
Unfortunately, there are also states where we have to play defense, as conservatives have gotten anti-marriage equality initiatives onto the ballot in Minnesota and North Carolina. In Minnesota, the opposition to this initiative is being led by Minnesotans United:
In North Carolina, the effort to stop the anti-marriage equality Amendment One is being led by Protect All North Carolina Families: