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USA, Hawaii: State Representative Mark Takai Flips, Will Now Support Marriage Equality

Friday, October 18th, 2013

Hawaii Representative K. Mark TakaiHawaii state representative K. Mark Takai, who had previously opposed the marriage equality bill, has just changed his mind.

On Top Magazine reports:

“There have been few issues that I have grappled with more than same sex marriage in Hawaii,” Takai said in a statement given to the Hawaii Reporter. “I have wrestled with my thoughts, my values, my faith and what I believe to be the best way forward. The world has changed – and so have I. There are no good reasons to continue to prevent every Hawaii resident from exercising his or her right to marry the person he or she loves.” He concluded: “It’s time that laws in Hawaii reflect the Aloha spirit and I will join with the majority in the State House to pass the marriage equality bill.”

Good for him. Hawaii’s special session to consider the bill begins October 20th.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Hawaii.

USA, West Virginia: Democrat Joins Push for US Constitutional Ban on Marriage Equality

Saturday, July 20th, 2013

West Virginia Representative Nick RahallAlthough the effort itself is languishing in committee in the House, this announcement gives it the thinnest patina of bipartisanship. Pink News reports:

US Representative Nick Rahall of West Virginia is the first Democrat to sign on to the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) introduced by Republican Representative Tim Huelskamp shortly after the Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA) last month. The amendment would define marriage as being between a man and a woman inside the United States.

If being against abortion and taxes can be a litmus test on the right, why can’t marriage equality be one for the left?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in West Virginia.

USA, North Carolina: Attorney General Gets Out of the Way of Marriage Equality Lawsuit

Saturday, July 13th, 2013

North Carolina Attorney General Roy CooperNorth Carolina’s Attorney General Roy Cooper won’t try to block the ACLU’s new marriage equality lawsuit in the state. QNotes reports:

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper has announced his office will not block the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina’s move to challenge the state’s anti-LGBT constitutional amendment on marriage. The case is heading to a federal court in Greensboro. The ACLU wants to amend their current lawsuit challenging anti-gay second-parent adoption bans to include a challenge to the state’s Amendment One. The amendment was passed by voters, 61-39, in May 2012. Noelle Talley, a spokesman for Cooper, said the Democratic attorney general won’t oppose the motion. Both cases, she said, were heading to court and combining them is more efficient.

Anyone hear when the trial may actually begin?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in North Carolina.

USA, New Jersey: Democratic Senator Asks for AG Opinion on Civil Unions

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

New Jersey State Sen. Raymond LesniakSeeking to push the state to recognize full marriage equality, State Sen. Raymond Lesniak asked the state Attorney General to re-evaluate the state’s civil unions law. NJ Today reports:

Lesniak (D-Union), a proponent of marriage equality and sponsor of legislation vetoed by Republican Gov. Chris Christie that would recognize same-sex marriage, called upon Hoffman to concur with the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment in Garden State Equality v. Dow. “As a matter of law, civil unions do not qualify for federal benefits as same sex married couples do,” Lesniak wrote in a letter to Hoffman. Following last week’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a key component of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, Lesniak predicted that New Jersey courts would soon allow gay marriage within the state.

The Supreme Court ruling cast things in clear relief – civil unions are no longer the equivalent of marriage, if they ever were – they are now blatantly unequal in that they do not come with the federal benefits that marriage provides.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in New Jersey.

Georgia, USA: Representative David Scott Endorses Marriage Equality

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

Georgia Representative David ScottAnother U.S. House Democrat has just endorsed marriage equality – Rep. David Scott from Georgia. Joe.My.God reports:

Two days ago JMG reader Rob sent me this note: “Dear Joe, My partner & I met with our congressman, Rep. David Scott, yesterday and he told us that he completely supports marriage equality. He stated that he was a guest at Barney Frank’s wedding. He said that he would be willing to look at the Respect for Marriage Act as a co-sponsor if it is reintroduced in this Congress.” I immediately wrote to Rep. Scott’s office and yesterday I received this short but welcome response from his spokesman: “Congressman Scott fully supports marriage equality.”

It won’t be long now before it will become really difficult to run as a Democrat for a major office in the US without supporting marriage equality.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Georgia.

South Carolina, USA: LGBT Non-Discrimination Bill To Be Introduced

Saturday, April 27th, 2013

South Carolina Rep. James SmithA South Carolina Democrat, Rep. James Smith plans introduce an LGBT non-discrimination bill next week. LGBTQ Nation reports:

A bill protecting all workers from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity will be introduced in the South Carolina House of Representatives next Tuesday, according to staff at a state LGBT equality group. “All hardworking people in our state should have the chance to earn a living and provide for themselves and their families,” South Carolina Equality Executive Director Ryan Wilson said in a release… The legislation, the Workplace Fairness Act (H. 4025), is being introduced by state Rep. James Smith (D-Richland), a leading employment and civil rights law attorney.

It’s a small but welcome step forward in the state that has historically been very conservative and anti-gay.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in South Carolina.

Minnesota, USA: Democratic Rep. Tim Faust Tells Marriage Equality Opponents He’s Undecided

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

MinnesotaMinnesota State Rep. Tim Faust is one of the Democrats from the district that voted for a ban on marriage equality. Even though the gay marriage ban didn’t pass statewide, Democrats like Faust may be reluctant to legalize it. On Top Magazine reports:

About 3 dozen people attended the rally held in the parking lot of Tobie’s restaurant in Hickley. It was the first of 10 planned rallies over two weekends by the group Minnesota for Marriage… Faust, a Democrat who represents the area, said he would “always give you the opportunity to convince me that you’re right,” then added: “I also will give the other side the opportunity to convince me that they’re right too.” On Thursday, Faust told the Star Tribune that nearly all the arguments against such unions are based on religious beliefs but that many religious leaders are in support. “Then the question becomes, do we have the right to impose our religious belief on others?” he rhetorically asked. “If the reason we are arguing we shouldn’t be doing this is because of religious beliefs, it’s pretty hard to make that argument.”

Hopefully Rep. Faust and others like him will do the right thing, and support full marriage equality rights for same-sex couples.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Minnesota.

California, USA: Rep. Jim Costa Endorses Marriage Equality

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

California Representative Jim CostaJust as US Senate Democrats opposed to marriage equality quickly dwindled last month, House Democrats are doing the same. The latest – California representative Jim Costa. Towleroad reports:

“In the San Joaquin Valley, family always comes first but what that family looks like is not always the same. While I respect the opinion of those who might disagree, I support marriage for all couples who wish to make this life-long commitment.”

The six remaining house Democrats? Cedric Richmond (LA), Kurt Schrader (OR), David Scott (GA), Terry Sewell (AL), Bennie Thompson (MS), and freshman Filemon Vela (TX).

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in the California Central Valley.

Pennsylvania, USA: State Representative Mark Smith Kicked Out Of Christian Band Over Equality Support

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Pennsylvania State Rep. Mark SmithAfter endorsing marriage equality recently, Pennsylvania State representative Mark Smith was kicked out of the Christian rock band that he belonged to. Joe.My.God reports:

It sort of blew my mind,” Smith said. “It was like a smack to the side of the head.” He said the band’s record producer and a couple of his band mates gave him the ultimatum late last month as they were meeting in Ithaca, N.Y. for a recording session. Smith has played the guitar for years, influenced by blues greats such as B.B. King, and he joined One Floor Away in 2011. He also designed its web site. “I would prefer not to speak on the subject right now,” said KC Sawyer, a keyboardist with the band and the managing director of DMKR studios, an Ithaca, N.Y. record label that handles Christian acts, including One Floor Away. “What we do with our band we prefer to keep quiet.” On its website, One Floor Away says its mission is to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, and Smith was supportive of that positive message.

Smith says he won’t be pressured to change his mind.

Virginia, USA: Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate McAuliffe Endorses Marriage Equality

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

Terry McAuliffeThe man running against far-right GOPer Ken Cuccinelli for the Virginia governorship endorsed marriage equality this week. The Times-Dispatch reports:

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe said Saturday that he supports marriage equality, but indicated that if elected, a repeal of the 2006 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in Virginia would not be among his legislative priorities because he would focus on the economy. “We just went through this process here seven years ago; it’s in the constitution,” McAuliffe said in an interview at the 10th annual Commonwealth Dinner hosted by Equality Virginia, one of the state’s advocacy groups for gay rights, at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.

It’s great that he supports marriage equality, but with no plan to take action on that belief, what good is it, really? Just because it’s been seven years, that makes discrimination alright?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Virginia.