The number of states giving full state marriage rights to same-sex
couples has doubled in under a week as first Iowa and then Vermont
joined Massachusetts and Connecticut in achieving marriage equality.
Additionally, the District of Columbia City Council recently voted to
recognize same-sex marriages conducted in other states.
On Monday, March 23rd, the Vermont Senate overwhelmingly passed (26 to 4) a bill legalizing same-sex marriage,
making the state the first in the nation to take legislative rather
than judicial steps toward granting marriage rights to same-sex
couples. Although House Speaker Shap Smith was confident a majority of
representatives would vote in favor of the "marriage equality" act,
Governor Jim Douglas revealed in a press conference Wednesday that he
would veto the bill, though he did say he would accept a legislative
Soon after the November elections and the dispiriting setbacks for gay marriage equality in California, Arizona, and Florida, a group of religious leaders in Maine formed a coalition
to advocate for gay marriage rights and actively seek equal treatment
for gay and lesbian couples within Maine law. The group, Religious
Coalition for the Freedom to Marry in Maine, includes 120 clergy from
across the state and 14 different faith traditions, including United
Methodist, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Unitarian Universalist,
Congregational, and the United Church of Christ.
Last week, Connecticut's high court struck down the state's
civil union law and ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutional
right to marry. Connecticut joins Massachusetts and California as the
only states that recognize gay marriage. As the New York Timesreported,
the Connecticut ruling is notable because it found for the first time
that a state civil union law, while providing all the legal rights of
marriage to gay couples but limiting marriage to heterosexual couples,
violated the state's "constitutional guarantee of equal protection
under the law."
There are stark differences between the two presidential campaigns'
approaches to federal-state relationships. Differences range from the
amount of funding appropriated for programs run by the states to
whether the candidates would strengthen or weaken state regulatory