IL and MN governors call for the freedom to marry in ‘State of the State’ addresses

This week, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn delivered their "State of the State" addresses to outline overarching goals and priorities for 2013. Both governors used the opportunity to call for the freedom to marry and send a clear message to state residents that now is the time to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage.

Gov. Dayton delivered his address on February 6 in St. Paul, MN. He said:

Let me mention one other cause, which is controversial, but consistent with my faith and my principles. And, more importantly, consistent with this country's founding principles and its Constitution. I believe that every Minnesotan should have the freedom to marry legally the person she or he loves, whether of the same or other sex.

Last year, Minnesotans began a conversation about why marriage matters, and we found our common belief that it is about love, commitment, and responsibility. I want Minnesota to be a state, which affirms that freedom for one means freedom for everyone, and where no one is told it is illegal to marry the person you love.

In the November 2012 election, Minnesotans came together to reject an anti-gay amendment that proposed to permanently limit the freedom to marry in the state. This year, Minnesotans United for All Families, the coalition that worked to defeat the amendment in 2012, is leading the charge to come full circle on the freedom to marry by passing a marriage bill in the state legislature. Learn more about marriage in Minnesota HERE

Gov. Quinn delivered his address on February 6 in Springfield, IL. He said:Our Illinois is not a land of discrimination. Four years ago, nobody thought civil unions would be possible here.

Today, civil unions are the law of our state. And nearly 5,200 couples across 94 counties have joined in a civil union.

Now, it's time to take that next step in achieving full equality. Marriage equality is coming to Illinois. And yesterday was a great start in the Senate Executive Committee.

I want to thank Senator Heather Steans and Representative Greg Harris for their work to move Illinois forward. Let's pass this bill for marriage equality.

In January, legislators in Illinois introduced bills in both the House and Senate to extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. On Tuesday, the Senate Executive Committee advanced the bill, which will be heard and voted on by the full Senate this month. Illinois Unites for Marriage is leading the effort to pass a marriage bill in 2013. Learn more about marriage in Illinois HERE

Last month, Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee also spoke about the importance of the freedom to marry in his "State of the State" address. Gov. Chafee delivered his address on January 16. He said:

Looking ahead to our agenda for the year we have just begun, we in this room will have an opportunity to enact historic legislation. In this climate of intense economic competition, as we work to attract the best and brightest, we are currently at an economic disadvantage with our neighbors. For our economic development, for civil rights, and for basic fairness, we must extend the rights and benefits of marriage to all Rhode Islanders.

Let's come together to pass marriage equality.

Last month, the Rhode Island House voted overwhelmingly in favor of the freedom to marry. The bill will now face consideration in the coming months by the Rhode Island Senate, and Rhode Islanders United for Marriage, the coalition working to pass a marriage bill in 2013, is working to shore up support. Read more about marriage in Rhode Island HERE