It’s Gonna Be a Bumpy 2011 for Marriage Equality

Written by scott on January 1st, 2011

Sometimes you just want to crawl into bed and pull the sheets over your head.

Weeks like this one give me that feeling – that no matter how much progress we make, how many minds we change, there will always be selfish, small minded, misguided or angry people there to try to take it all away.

In November, voters, in their wisdom, decided to put Republicans in control of both houses of the state legislature. And not just in control – they executed a regime change breathtaking in its scope, flipping both houses and giving the GOP an almost 3/4 control of both house – more than enough to override any veto by the state’s Democratic Governor.

They did this because they were fed up with democrats, and their handling of the economy. But have you noticed that whenever voters get fed-up, the gay community is the collateral damage?

Newly empowered in 2011, the GOP has been quick to shed their “it’s not about social issues” stance that helped put them in power. Consider:

  • As mentioned above, the GOP plans to repeal New Hampshire’s marriage equality law as soon as possible
  • In Wyoming, the GOP is trying again to ba gay marriage in the state’s constitution
  • In Pennsylvania, the state GOP is also readying an anti-gay marriage proposition
  • The GOP in the US House is certain to try to kill marriage equality in DC, tho this may be more difficult
  • In New York, the GOP takeover of the Senate has likely killed marriage equality efforts there for the next two years.
  • In Iowa, the GOP won the House, and is increasing pressure on the democratically controlled Senate to help repeal marriage equality there, while simultaneously pushing to impeach the four remaining justices of the Supreme Court who legalized it in the first place.
  • In Rhode Island, where we might actually get marriage equality this year, NOM has threatened to spend “whatever it takes” to derail the possibility

Not to mention losses in California and Maine in the last two years, where marriage equality was briefly a reality.

Sometimes it seems that the hatred and money piled up against us is endless. It seems like every tome we win a victory, the bigots are relentless in their efforts to take it away. If they can’t do it this year, they will try again next year. And if not then, the year after that. We’ve won marriage equality in six places in the US (California, Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, DC, and Massachusetts) and by the end of this year, there’s a significant possibility that three of those will have been repealed, one way or another.

Things should get better over the long haul, as bigotry becomes less fashionable, But in the short-run, we’re in for a tough couple of years, at least.

So what do we do?

First, we get in bed, pull the covers up over our heads, and spend a day or a week watching re-runs of Queer as Folk and eating popcorn (believe me, we’ve tried it and it’s marvelously restorative).

Next, we get out of bed, shower and shave, and suit up again for the fight.

We work hard in the next two years to hold on to what we have, and to expand the field where we can – Illinois, Hawaii for civil unions, Rhode Island, Maryland for marriage.

We cry on each others’ shoulders when we have to, when things go wrong.

And when things go right, we mark those victories, loud and long. The victories are few and far between, and they must be celebrated.

We’ll get through this next year together

–Scott, Gay Marriage Watch


6 Comments so far ↓

  1. Marlon says:


    Very Good!
    Im Brazilian and I loved it!
    Congrulations… 🙂

  2. 55884 says:

    We should push for MARRIAGE in Hawaii, not civil unions! The constitutional amendment doesn’t ban gay marriage, it merely gives the legislature the power to ban it. With huge Democratic majorities and a supportive governor, they should repeal the man/woman=marriage law and pass gay marriage.

    There is no reason to settle for civil unions! Why aren’t more people talking about this possibility??

  3. Davis says:

    “We’ve won marriage equality in six places in the US (California, Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, DC, and Massachusetts) and by the end of this year, there’s a significant possibility that three of those will have been repealed, one way or another.”

    What are you talking about? I assume that you are referring to DC, New Hampshire, and Iowa (which is for some reason omitted from your list). It is simply untrue that there is significant possibility of repeal in either DC or Iowa.

    Regarding DC, the GOP-controlled House is not considering repeal, but rather an amendment requiring the matter to go to referendum. Moreover, any amendment would be unlikely to survive given that the Senate and the White House would be opposed. Regarding Iowa, repeal this year is impossible, since the process to amend the Iowa constitution takes several years to complete, even assuming that it got underway this year. Moreover, the state senate remains in Democratic hands and the majority leader has promised to block any vote on this issue.

    That leaves New Hampshire. Although there is a significant risk of repeal, although I have yet to see a breakdown of the possible votes in the NH House. It would be nice if this blog, instead of posting fatalistic nonsense, could actually make an effort to speak with someone in NH so that we have a better understanding of what the battlefield really looks like.

    In the worst case scenario, if NH repeals marriage, we would still be even or up for the year, since RI looks like a near-sure bet for marriage, and HI and IL will have added civil unions. And even NH is likely to leave civil unions in place if repeal goes through.

  4. Stefan says:

    Because the governor doesn’t support it currently. What I bet will happen is they will legalize civil unions next year and then in 2013 legalize full marriage equality.

    Also, I doubt DC or New Hampshire will repeal gay marriage. The Senate President of New Hampshire doubts they will even bring a repeal up for reading (and he’s a Republican). Also, there are still 26 Republicans in the legislature who voted against repeal last year, while all Democrats who voted for repeal were replaced. I have no doubt that many more anti-repeal Republicans were added with the 120+ seat gain they made in November, and that some who voted for repeal last year will have changed their minds.

    With DC, how can they even repeal it? The 30 day period has long since expired. I know they could deny funding to certain things in DC (like what they did with medicinal marajuana for years), but if they tried wouldn’t they now be denying funding to all marriage, since legally in DC the two are one in the same now?

  5. scott says:

    Hey Davis… you’re right – I did leave out Iowa. (duh). And yes, I do think the chances of repeal in Iowa in the near future are basically nil, but it’s hard to say in the long run what will happen.

    The three I meant were CA and ME, which have already happened, and NH, which very well could happen, though I hope you guys are right and it doesn’t.

    Either way, we have to keep up the fight! Going for some blankets and popcorn right now…


    –Scott, GMW

  6. Stefan says:

    Don’t forget California and Maryland will likely have it by years end, with Perry v Schwarzenegger ending due to the standing issue and Maryland passing it in the legislature, though it would not begin in Maryland this year due to it most definately being put up to a referendum in 2012. New York is also a possibility for marriage equality, as is Colorado for civil unions.

    With Iowa, the soonest it could come up for a vote is 2016, barring some unlikely event which would allow a vote on it this legislative session (2011-2012).

    In the New Hampshire house, a veto proof majority is at least 267 votes (in the event that all 400 are present). It currently has 298 Republicans. 26 who voted against repeal last year are still present, so that makes no more then 272 who support repeal. Only 6 more votes are needed to break the veto proof majority. As you can see, when the numbers are analyzed it seems unlikely they can muster up enough votes for repeal. The biggest issue of course will be having enough anti-repeal representatives show up to vote.

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