Archive for the ‘Other States’ Category

Hawaii Governor Vetoes Civil Unions Bill

July 6, 2010

Gov. Linda Lingle, Hawaii

After months of deliberation, Gov. Linda Lingle of Hawaii, has vetoed a bill that would have granted civil unions to same-sex couples in that state. The civil unions bill would have granted nearly all the state-recognized rights of marriage to same-sex couples.

The state will continue to grant a “reciprocal beneficiaries” arrangement to same-sex couples. The state first passed its reciprocal benficiary law in 1997. Reciprocal beneficiaries have access to a limited number of rights and benefits on the state level, including inheritance rights, workers compensation, the right to sue for wrongful death, health insurance and pension benefits for state employees, hospital visitation, and healthcare decisionmaking. Hawaii’s RBR status also offers partners the option to jointly own property.

Supporters of marriage equality in Hawaii have pledged to continue their struggle in the wake of this devastating defeat.

It is worth noting that Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has pledged his support to sign a civil unions bill into law if it is  passed by the legislature.

Show your support for the civil unions bill by signing the Allied for Equality petition now.


Groups Hitting Midwest in Dueling Tours

June 23, 2010

The National Organization for Marriage, which opposes marriage equality, recently announced plans to tour the nation this summer with protest events. The tour will have no stops in Illinois, but is scheduled to hit three neighboring states: Indiana, Wisconsin, and Iowa. Freedom to Marry has announced its own tour in response and plans to hit all of the same destinations.

More details here.

Court Watchers, Get the Full Story

June 17, 2010

We are awaiting a ruling from the judge in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the case that is challenging the constitutionality California’s Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that took away the right to marry from same-sex couples. In the meantime, you can catch up on all the details of the case – including every legal filing and hearing transcript here.

This is of great interest well beyond the borders of our nation’s most populous state. This case is likely to go to the Supreme Court and will likely determine whether similar ballot initiatives will be allowed to take away marriage rights from couples in other states.

It’s Time to Abandon Muslim Stereotype

June 17, 2010

Ako Abdul-Samad

Ako Abdul-Samad, a pro-marriage equality candidate, recently won a primary election in a landslide against an anti-gay opponent, Clair Rudison, Jr., in a race to represent a Des Moines district in the Iowa legislature.

Samad, who is Muslim, advocated for protecting the right of same-sex couples to marry in the state. Rudison, who is a Christian minister, advocated a constitutional amendment to take away that right.

Jason Hazma van Boom commented on how the race teaches us a lesson about stereotypes, including the common belief that Muslims are uniformly opposed to lgbt rights. Muslims are not unanimous on any issue. Neither are Christians, Jews, or any other religious group.

On the other hand, I have not yet heard of any Muslims in Illinois speaking out on marriage equality or other LGBT issues. If you are out there reading this, please sign our civil unions petition.

Prop 8 Trial Arguments Wrap Up

June 11, 2010

A ruling is expected soon in the Proposition 8 trial, which challenges the constitutionality of the 2008 voter initiative which took away the freedom to marry from California couples. The plaintiffs are two couples and the city of San Francisco. The case is likely to have much broader impact as many observers believe it is likely to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The New York Times had a great editorial today arguing in favor of marriage equality in relation to this case.

Prop 8 Documentary to Screen in Chicago

June 6, 2010

8: The Mormon Proposition, a documentary about the role of the Mormon Church in efforts to pass the proposition that stripped same-sex couples in California of their marriages rights, will soon be showing in Chicago. The Sundance hit will be showing at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St., Chicago, beginning June 18.

You can also e-mail to RVSP for spots at an advance screening on June 13. The screening is co-sponsored by Human Rights Campaign and Affirmation, the lgbt group of Latter-Day Saints and ex-Latter-Day Saints.

The film will also be available on DVD and On Demand. Check out the trailer:

Illinois Couple Marches to Iowa to Marry

June 5, 2010

Lindsey O'Brien and Rachel Miller

An Illinois couple recently marched across the Iowa border together with a group of supporters after being denied a marriage license in their own state. Lindsey O’Brien, of Moline, and Rachel Miller, of Chicago, were then granted a marriage license in the Scott County Recorder’s office in Davenport, Iowa.

In addition to friends and family members, the couple was also joined by Rich Hendricks, pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of the Quad-Cities in Davenport. The couple plan to marry on June 3, 2011, in Davenport.

The full story is in the Quad-City Times.

Governor Again States Support for Civil Unions

May 31, 2010

Gov. Pat Quinn

The governor has stated his support for civil unions for same-sex couples (and his opposition to same-sex marriage) before and he has said it again. The Chicago Tribune recently asked him about the question, along with questions about other social issues. The contrast between him and his Republican opponent, Bill Brady, is clear, so we need to pass this bill before Brady even has the chance to come into office.

His consistent message shows that we have a real possibility of legalizing civil unions for same-sex couples this year. He will sign the bill into law if we can get it passed by the legislature. You can read the full text of the bill introduced by Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, here. The bill currently has thirteen co-sponsors.  

I remember how amazed I was when a few states first began to legalize civil unions more than ten years ago. Things have changed a lot since then. Now, five states Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont – plus the District of Columbia have full marriage equality for same-sex couples. Another three states – New York, Rhode Island and Maryland – do not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but honor the marriages of same-sex couples performed in others states. And nine states offer civil unions or domestic partnerships. As a result of these changes, civil unions – once quite controversial – now represents a moderate position. It was the position supported by most of the Democratic candidates for president in 2008, including Barack Obama. While full marriage equality is our ultimate goal, a civil unions law is achievable in Illinois this year.

If you support the passage of this bill, please sign on to the petition for clergy, religious leaders, and members of religious congregations. Your voice can make a difference!  

Illinois Couples Are Going to Iowa to Marry

May 20, 2010

Image from Iowa Independent

According to a report from the Des Moines Register, at least 2,020 same-sex couples married in Iowa between April 27, 2009, when legalization went into effect, through March 31 of this year. Of those, more than 1,200 came from other states, including 199 from Illinois. Congratulations to all of those couples! If you have gotten married to your partner, please share your photo and tell your story here on this blog. We’d love to hear from you!

The news for Iowans is good. The move to repeal same-sex marriage in The Hawkeye State appears to have stalled, according to one recent report.

But the news for Illinois couples is not so good. Illinois doesn’t recognize those Iowa marriage certificates at all. So getting married in Iowa doesn’t provide any of the rights and responsibilities of marriage for Illinois couples. So while I celebrate for the progress in our neighbor state, it is no substitute for achieving equal marriage rights here at home in Illinois… and everywhere.  

UCC Pastor Shares Personal Reflections

May 20, 2010

Rev. Rex Piercy, pastor of Congregational Church of Arlington Heights

Rev. Rex Piercy, pastor of the Congregational United Church of Christ of Arlington Heights, a member congregation of the United Church of Christ, is proud that his home state of Iowa was one of the first states in the nation to legalize same-sex marraige. As a man in a long-term same-sex relationship, he is hoping that the state where he lives now will follow suit. He shared the following comments with the Illinois Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry:

When the church gathers to worship on July 4, 2010 it will have been five years to the day since the 25th General Synod of the United Church of Christ passed its resolution called “Equal Marriage Rights for All.” Significant things have happened since that vote. One very positive thing was that my home state of Iowa (Iowa you say!) became the Midwest leader in equal marriage rights for all. Not Illinois, not Wisconsin, not Minnesota…Iowa! It made me so proud. It makes me so sad that my new adopted state of Illinois cannot even find its way to support civil unions, let alone full marriage equality. My experience as a gay man in a long-term committed relationship and as the pastor of an “open and affirming” congregation in the United Church of Christ suggests to me that the civil and religious leaders of this state must hold serious, respectful, and prayerful discussion of the covenant relationship of marriage and equal marriage rights for couples regardless of gender as a basic right. 

If you are a clergy person or a member of a religious congregation in Illinois and share Rev. Piercy’s call for justice for same-sex couples, please sign the petition at this link to proclaim your support for a state law allowing for civil unions.