BY ROB SALERNO – The Maryland House of Delegates is the latest US legislative body to vote in favour of equal marriage, following the passage of equal marriage legislation in Washington and votes in both houses of the New Jersey legislature this week.
The house voted 71-67 to pass marriage equality on Feb 17. The law will now go to the state Senate and must be signed into law by Governor Martin O’Malley, who has pledged his support. If passed, the legislation won’t take effect until January. Even still, it is likely to be challenged in a referendum.
In less happy news, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie made good on his promise to veto equal marriage legislation passed by the NJ legislature. Lawmakers have until June 2014 to collect two-thirds majorities in both houses to overturn the veto.
The usual boilerplate on US marriage equality stories:
In June, Washington will join 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 also debating
the issue in Illinois and Maryland. Of course, none of these marriages convey the full benefits of marriage
because the federal Defense of Marriage Act prohibits the federal
government from recognizing gay marriages.
Ten countries already allow full marriage equality nationwide: Argentina,
Belgium, Canada, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa,
Spain and Sweden. Brazil allows same-sex marriages in theory, through
roundabout rulings of its state and federal Supreme Courts, but they’v been performed only in some states. Mexico recognizes same-sex marriages
performed in Mexico City only.
That’s right, soon Baltimore, the city that gave us John Waters and Hairspray, will be as progressive as Johannesburg, Sao
Paolo, Mexico City and Buenos Aires.
Israel recognizes same-sex marriages performed elsewhere only. There are
ongoing debates about allowing same-sex marriage in the UK, Australia,
Finland and Uruguay, and Denmark is planning to pass same-sex marriage
by June. France’s Socialist Party will be campaigning on the issue in
national elections this year.