BY ROB SALERNO – Washington State Governor Chris Gregoire made marriage equality official by putting her signature on a gay-marriage law in a ceremony Monday afternoon. Under the law, same-sex marriage licences can be issued starting June 7.
Republican presidential nomination candidate Rick Santorum was also in Washington yesterday to criticize the law while drumming up support in advance of the state caucuses that will take place March 3. He says he plans to lend support to efforts to repeal the bill, which are already underway.
Also yesterday, the New Jersey Senate voted 24 to 16 to pass marriage equality. The bill is now in the NJ state house, although it is expected to be vetoed by Republican Governor Chris Christie. Christie’s been challenging the state Democrats to put the issue on the ballot so he wouldn’t have to use his veto. As it stands, it does not appear that NJ lawmakers have the votes to override a veto, although they’d have until 2014 to find the additional votes.
Washington joins New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachussetts, Iowa and the District of Columbia in allowing gay marriage. The status of gay marriage in California is currently the subject of appeals to the unconstitutionality of the state’s anti-gay-marriage referendum, Prop 8, which will likely end with a decision by the Supreme Court. Maine voters will decide whether to allow gay marriage in a referendum in November, and lawmakers are debating the issue in Illinois and Maryland.
In another turn of good news, the Anoka-Hennepin school board in Minnesota (which we wrote about yesterday for its infamous “No Homo Promo” policy, which has been blamed for an unusually high incidence of bullying and teen suicide), finally replaced that policy at a board meeting. The new policy calls for teachers to encourage respectful dialogue and exchange of ideas on controversial topics while affirming the dignity and self-worth of all students, regardless of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
Good. Let’s allow this school board to put this ugly chapter behind it and move forward to creating a positive learning environment for all students.