How marriage moved forward this week in DE, HI, IL, MN and RI

It's been another big week for the freedom to marry in five key states where we can pass marriage bills in the state legislatures in 2013. Check out some key updates from this week in Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, and Rhode Island!


On Wednesday and Thursday of this week, Equality Delaware, the statewide organization committed to securing the freedom to marry for all Delawareans, sponsored town hall meetings in Wilmington and Rehoboth Beach to talk about the importance of passing a marriage bill this year in the state. The meetings mark one of the first big mobilization efforts for volunteers and supporters this year, and last night's event in Wilmington didn't disappoint: Nearly 100 supporters came to talk about how we can win in 2013, including U.S. Senator Chris Coons (Inset, above). Equality Delaware President Lisa Goodman explained the function of the Town Hall meetings to The Washington Blade yesterday, saying, "The purpose is to talk to our allies and the community about marriage equality in 2013 for Delaware and to get people involved in the effort." You can check out video from the Town Hall in Wilmington HERE. (Photo by Equality Delaware)


Just over a week ago, legislators in Hawaii introduced marriage bills in the state House and Senate, where they will be considered over the next several months. This week, a poll conducted by Anzalone Liszt Grove Research and commissioned by the Equality Hawaii Foundation, demonstrates that Hawaii residents overwhelmingly favor the freedom to marry for same-sex couples, with 55 percent of respondents saying they favor ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage.

Two key legislators in Hawaii also spoke out this week in favor of marriage and in support of Hawaii United for Marriage, the coalition working to pass a marriage bill in the HI legislature in 2013. U.S. Senator Brian Schatz said, "The time has come to make marriage equality a reality for Americans around the country so that all people can exercise that right in freedom and without restriction ... I encourage State lawmakers to pass legislation that will ensure equal rights for all Hawaii residents." Rep. Tulsi Gabbard also spoke out in support, saying, "Those in same-sex relationships should not be denied by the government the right to marry and enjoy the benefits, rights, and responsibiltiies as heterosexual married couples."


Senate President John Cullerton spoke out on the freedom to marry this week, explaining that the timing is now right to ensure passage of the freedom to marry this year. He spoke on Monday at the City Club of Chicago, where he said, "We're getting more support in the public every day. I expect we will call it very early on in the session, if not in the first few weeks."

Some of that support has stemmed from IL Republican Chairman Pat Brady, who voiced his personal support for marriage. Other support has emerged from the business community - last week, dozens of business leaders in Illinois came together to sign onto a joint letter calling for the freedom to marry in the state. Learn more about key developments at Illinois Unites for Marriage, the coalition working to pass a marriage bill through the state legislature this year.  


This week, Public Policy Polling released the results of a poll that demonstrated increasing support among Minnesotans for a marriage bill that would extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. The poll showed that a plurality of respondents - 47 percent - support ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage, while only 45 percent are opposed. The poll comes just a few months after Election Day 2012, when a majority of voters in the state - and 58 percent of MN legislative districts - came together to vote NO on an anti-gay constitutional amendment that would have permanently limited marriage to different-sex couples. These impressive numbers taken together indicate that now is the time to complete the conversation on the freedom to marry by passing a marriage bill in 2013. 

Last week, the American Academy of Pediatrics announced that working with Minnesotans United for All Families - the coalition working to pass a marriage bill in 2013 - is one of their top legislative priorities for this year. 

Rhode Island 

Marriage supporters in Rhode Island are still celebrating the big win from just over a week ago when the RI House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly in favor of the freedom to marry. Now, the bill will be considered by the Senate, and in the meantime, there's plenty of evidence that Rhode Islanders across the state are excited to join the rest of the New England states in ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage.

Today, the Rhode Island State Council of Churches announced their endorsement of marriage for same-sex couples, saying, "The Council calls on all people of faith to examine, discern, and share views related to the complex and difficult gender issues related to marriage. We call for mutual respect and guidance that seeks the good of all, even with our different views on this matter." The Council, which represents over 300 churches in RI, consists of 12 denominations and six member organizations.

The results of a Public Policy Polling survey were also released today, and Rhode Islanders United for Marriage, the coalition working to pass a marriage bill in 2013, celebrated the triumphant results, which indicated that a super majority of residents in the state - 57 percent - support marriage for same-sex couples.