American Foundation for Equal Rights

Rhode Island Marriage Bill Hearings & More News

Big news coming this week from Rhode Island, where we may see the year’s first hearing on marriage equality. New lawmakers in Illinois and Colorado express eagerness to pass marriage and civil unions bills. Two lawsuits join forces in Hawaii and Nevada, plus one unlikely country that saw support for marriage double over the last decade.

At the American Foundation for Equal Rights, I’m Matt Baume, and welcome to Marriage News Watch for January 14, 2013.

Last week it was Illinois. This week, it’s Rhode Island that’s tackling marriage. We’re expecting a hearing sometime this week on a House bill to legalize marriage equality. Passage appears likely in the House, but more complicated in the Senate.

The past week has seen a flurry of endorsements for the bill, including from state Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Reverend Nicholas Knisely, the new Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Rhode Island. Those were both overshadowed a bit when President Obama stepped in to endorse the measure as well.

Meanwhile, Rhode Island Senator Frank Ciccone announced plans for a bill that would put the freedom to marry to a referendum. Governor Lincoln Chaffee responded to that with the promise of a veto, saying that rights should be settled by lawmakers and not by popular vote.

For now, Marriage Equality Rhode Island needs your support. Visit them at Marriage Equality RI dot org to find out how you can get involved, no matter where you are.

Meanwhile in Illinois, a new General Assembly convened this week. We don’t yet have a date for hearings on marriage equality there, but State Representative Greg Harris described a marriage bill as being on a fast track.

And in Colorado, State Senator Pat Steadman has introduced civil union legislation. In response, Governor John Hickenlooper called for the bill’s passage in his State of the State address this week.

Turning to the courts, two marriage lawsuits in Nevada and Hawaii will be paired up in the Ninth Circuit. They’re both on hold pending a ruling from the Supreme Court in AFER’s Prop 8 case.

We’ve reached the three-year anniversary of the Prop 8 trial. The 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.

And internationally, a new survey in Poland shows that marriage support doubled over the last decade, from 8% to 16%. There’s still a long way to go, but at least it’s progress.

And Taiwan shows promise as well, with recent hearings on reforming the Civil Code to allow marriage equality.

This is going to be a very busy year for marriage with lots of news happening very quickly. Remember to like and share this video with family and friends. It’s crucial that we get the word out to as many people as possible about all this important work. And subscribe here on YouTube and at for the most up-to-date information.

At the American Foundation for Equal Rights, I’m Matt Baume. We’ll see you next week.