1. Vive La France! France became the third country in four weeks, and the 14th country in the world, to pass legislation legalizing gay marriage, when their lower house of Parliament voted in favor of a “marriage for all” law 331 - 225. The same-sex marriage law is expected to be effective in June 2013. Marriage equality has been a contentious issue in this largely Roman Catholic country. There have been nationwide protests on both sides of the issue for the last six months, and anti-gay violence has been on the rise. Félicitations mes amis Français!
2. Rhode Island’s Senate Judiciary Committee voted 7 - 4 in favor of their gay marriage bill on Tuesday, and the legislation now moves to the full Senate. The full state Senate has scheduled a vote for later today (Wednesday). After the full Senate approves the measure, it will return to the General Assembly for a vot. Gay Speaker of the House Gordon D. Fox said the bill might fly through the lower House, and it could be on Governor Lincoln Chafee’s desk early next week.
Governor Chafee issued a statement in support of the gay marriage bill:
“Marriage equality legislation has now come farther than ever before in the Rhode Island Senate. Rhode Island currently stands as an island of inequality in our region. At this time of intense economic competition, we cannot afford to lag behind our New England neighbors and New York in this important area. There is still work to be done. Over the next 24 hours, I encourage Rhode Islanders to contact their Senators to urge passage of a bill that chooses tolerance and fairness over division and discrimination. I believe that when the roll is called, marriage equality will become law in Rhode Island.”
3. The Delaware House of Representatives narrowly approved their gay marriage legislation by a vote of 23- 18 yesterday. The bill repeals a 1996 same-sex marriage ban, and replaces the state’s 2011 civil unions law. The marriage equality bill now moves to the state Senate, where the vote is expected to be even closer, and passage is not guaranteed. Governor Jack Markell has promised to sign the same-sex marriage measure upon passage.
4. On Monday, the Nevada state Senate began the process of repealing the constitutional amendment that bans same-sex marriages. The process is expected to take approximately 3 years. During the floor debate, State Senator Kelvin Atkinson (D-North Las Vegas) announced to the chamber that "I’m black. I'm gay. I know this is the first time many of you have heard me say that I am a black, gay male.” And in that instant, Atkinson publicly came out. The first step of the repeal passed the Senate by a vote of 12 - 9.
5. In Colorado, the state’s new civil unions law takes effect at midnight on May 1, 2013. A celebration and ceremony has been scheduled for Denver’s Webb Building from midnight to 2:00AM. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock will be the officiant at some of the first civil unions to be performed in the state.
These are quite heady and exciting times for the marriage equality movement! Wow. It’s incredibly exciting.
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