Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Step Forward from Maryland and a Step Backwards from New Jersey on the Gay Marriage Front

Friday saw both good and bad news on the same-sex marriage equality front in the United States.


A Smiling Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley after the Friday Vote

First the good news:  the Maryland House of Delegates narrowly approved the rights of same-sex couples to marry on Friday.  The vote was 72 - 67.  This is the first time the House of Delegates passed a same-sex marriage bill.

The bill now moves on to the Maryland State Senate, which approved a similar bill was passed last year. The Senate is likely to pass this bill, and signing by Democratic Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley is guaranteed.
The new law, if approved by the Senate, will take effect on January 1, 2013.

Maryland will then join 7 other states, and the District of Columbia (Washington D.C.) which lies immediately to its South in adopting marriage equality. 47 million people in the United States, about 15% of the population, will live in areas where gay marriage is allowed.

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New Jersey Republican Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie --
Angrily Veto's Marriage Equality on Friday.  

Now the bad news: The Republican Governor of the State of New Jersey, Chris Christie, has vetoed a similar law passed by the New Jersey legislature on Friday. The legislature does not have the 2/3 majorities in both houses to overturn the governor's veto.

However, it is only a matter of time before a more progressive New Jersey governor, or a popular referendum,  will enact marriage equality. My estimate is that this will happen at some point this decade.  Chris Christie is most likely to be reelected in New Jersey in 2013, since his popularity is strong on other issues-- which means that the wait is most likely to take several years.

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