American Foundation for Equal Rights

Equality at the Inauguration


We’re making major progress in multiple states, with bills advancing in Rhode Island and Colorado. Plus historic words from President Obama, strong polling numbers, and the anniversary of the Prop 8 trial. At the American Foundation for Equal Rights, I’m Matt Baume, and welcome to Marriage News Watch for January 28, 2013.

It’s looking good for marriage in Rhode Island, but obstacles may still remain. This week the House voted overwhelmingly to approve a marriage bill. Now it’s on to the Senate, where many legislators are still deciding whether they’ll support the measure. A key sticking point is whether the bill will provide broad exemptions for anti-gay groups that don’t want to recognize marriages they don’t approve of.

It may take several weeks — possibly months — for the bill to get a Senate vote. In the mean time, connect with RI United for Marriage dot com to get involved.

And we made progress in Colorado this week as well. The Senate Judiciary Committee passed a civil unions bill on party lines, 3 to 2. Now it moves to the Appropriations Committee. You can get in touch with One-Colorado dot org to help support their work to move the bill along.

We’re also seeing some legislative movement in Hawaii, where Representative Faye Hanohano introduced a marriage bill this week. There’s also a competing bill that would put a marriage ban in the state Constitution. Visit Hawaii United for Marriage dot org for ways that you can get involved there.

And we’re not done yet: there’s also a brand new marriage bill in New Mexico. Representative Bian Egolf introduced the measure, which is admittedly a long shot. The bill’s first stop is the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee.

And on Monday, the 28th, a House committee in Wyoming will hear testimony on marriage bills.

Meanwhile, Minnesota legislators are working on overturning the state’s statutory ban on marriage. Public opinion is quickly moving in their favor. Voters defeated a constitutional marriage ban in November. And a new poll from Public Policy Polling shows a plurality supports marriage equality, 47 to 45 percent.

That growth in support is consistent with national polling, which consistently shows a majority favors the freedom to marry. President Obama acknowledged that sentiment in his inauguration address, comparing Stonewall to such civil rights watersheds as Seneca Falls and Selma.

The Department of Justice has already stated that they believe the Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional. But there’s no word on whether the administration will become involved in AFER’s Prop 8 case. Amicus briefs in the case are due in just a few weeks.

We’ve now reached the three-year anniversary of the Prop 8 trial. It was first time a federal court heard testimony under oath on marriage for gay and lesbian couples.

To mark the occasion, AFER is bringing you highlights from each day of the trial. Visit and check Facebook and Twitter every day to see new highlights from each day of the trial.

This is going to be the busiest year yet for marriage equality. To get an overview of what to expect in the coming months, check out our brand new video, Looking Ahead to 2013. That has all the details you need on the federal work before the Supreme Court, as well as state-by-state progress.

You can subscribe here on YouTube to get weekly updates, on Twitter, Facebook, and at At the American Foundation for Equal Rights, I’m Matt Baume. We’ll see you next week.