House Approves Same-Sex Marriage Bill

April 3, 2009

Same-sex marriage bill advances

Burlington Free Press
MONTPELIER — Vermont’s House of Representatives gave preliminary approval tonight to a historic same-sex marriage bill, setting up a showdown with Gov. Jim Douglas.

After nearly four hours of passionate debate from supporters and opponents of the measure, the House approved the bill by a vote of 95-52 shortly after 9 p.m. The legislation, S.115, gives same-sex couples the right to marry in Vermont.

The bill will be brought up again Friday for final approval, then return to the Senate, where changes to language must be approved. Should the Senate OK those changes, the bill will head to Douglas’ desk and a promised veto.

That veto — which Douglas declared last week he would deliver — would not kill the legislation. Instead members of the House and Senate will try to override the veto by securing a two-thirds majority of support in each chamber. The Senate would need 20 votes; the House would need 100 with all members in attendance.

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Gay Marriage on the March

March 30, 2009

Legislatures in Vermont and New Hampshire are poised to legalize same-sex unions.
The Los Angeles Times

Vermont and California appear to be sliding in opposite directions these days, and we’re not talking about tectonic plates. As the institution of marriage undergoes seismic shifts, Vermont is moving from civil unions for same-sex couples toward full marriage, while the California Supreme Court is weighing whether to uphold Proposition 8, which stripped marriage rights from gay and lesbian couples.

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Lawmakers Vote to Support Gay Marriage

March 2, 2009

By Susan Ferriss, Sacramento Bee

Three days before an historic gay-marriage hearing in the California Supreme Court, the state Legislature approved a resolution Monday declaring that Proposition 8 was an improper revision of the California Constitution.

Majorities of the Assembly and Senate Monday voted to adopt the resolution, which challenges the legality of Proposition 8, the voter-approved initiative that declares that marriage is defined as between only a man and a woman. The vote was split along party lines, with the Senate voting 18 to 14 and the Assembly 44 to 27 in favor of the resolution. Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, one of the Legislature’s openly gay members, sponsored the resolution in that house.
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NAACP Expresses Support for California Legislature’s Challenge

February 23, 2009

Resolution would put California legislature on record as opposing Prop. 8 and urging California Supreme Court to overturn it

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People today announced support of measures before the California legislature challenging Proposition 8, which altered the California Constitution to deny same-sex couples the freedom to marry and equal protection under the law.

In a letter to legislative leaders, NAACP national board chair Julian Bond and President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous urged passage of House Resolution 5 and Senate Resolution 7 to put the legislature on record calling for invalidation of Prop. 8 as an improper and dangerous alteration of the California Constitution.

“The NAACP’s mission is to help create a society where all Americans have equal protection and opportunity under the law,” said President Jealous. “Our Mission Statement calls for the ‘equality of rights of all persons.’ Prop. 8 strips same-sex couples of a fundamental freedom, as defined by the California State Supreme Court. In so doing, it poses a serious threat to all Americans. Prop. 8 is a discriminatory, unprecedented change to the California Constitution that, if allowed to stand, would undermine the very purpose of a constitution and courts – assuring equal protection and opportunity for all and safeguarding minorities from the tyranny of the majority.”

SR 7, sponsored by Equality California (EQCA), will be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Feb. 24th and will proceed to the full Senate for a vote shortly thereafter. Its companion bill, HR 5, also sponsored by EQCA, passed the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Feb. 17th and is eligible for a vote before the full Assembly as early as today.

The California State Conference of the NAACP filed briefs with the California Supreme Court in the legal challenge against Prop. 8, arguing that the measure drastically alters the equal protection guarantee in California’s Constitution and that the rights of a minority cannot be eliminated by a simple majority vote. Several other civil rights organizations, faith leaders, unions and leading corporations also filed briefs urging the invalidation of Prop. 8.

“The NAACP has long opposed any proposal that would alter the federal or state constitutions for the purpose of excluding any groups or individuals from guarantees of equal protection,” said Chairman Bond. “We urge the legislature to declare that Proposition 8 did not follow the proper protective process and should be overturned as an invalid alteration that vitiated crucial constitutional safeguards and fundamental American values, threatening civil rights and all vulnerable minorities.”

The state Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case on March 5th and could rule as early as June 2009.


Why We Fight

February 22, 2009

On Tuesday , February 16th, I had the distinct privilege of addressing thousands of volunteers who had gathered at our State’s capitol for Lobby Day. They were there to meet with members of our state’s legislature and ask them to vote YES on HR5 and SR7. These two resolutions, if passed, would be an official statement by both houses of our State Legislature requesting the California Supreme Court to overturn Prop 8. For more information, please read my previous post entitled “Time to Act.”

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California Lawmakers Back Prop. 8 challenge

February 17, 2009

SACRAMENTO—A legislative committee has endorsed legal efforts to overturn California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage.
The Assembly Judiciary Committee voted 7-3 Tuesday to put the legislature on record as opposing Proposition 8.

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