Tipping Point?

Iowa, Vermont, and then DC (kind of) just passed gay marriage legislation, also the issue is advancing in New Hampshire, where it passed the state House and is awaiting action by the Senate, as well as in Maine and New Jersey, which are debating same-sex marriage legislation. I find it very interesting that this is all being decided in the courts and not through popular vote like in California (not that constitutional amendments are the norm). While I’m almost embarrassingly unaware of how this stuff does, or should, work, I find it really interesting that these decisions and strides towards civil rights and justice are being made by legislatures and court systems. I mean, that’s what theyre there for, but it seems like it was too easy. I’m sure the gay rights activists in all those places were active, but I found it surprising how quickly these policies changed. There was no loud protests, no legislation that went out to a popular vote, and no large public outcry that caused these laws to change. One of the articles even said that many gay rights activists were surprised by the Vermont decision because they were still celebrating the Iowa decision, and then the DC decision passed too! Let’s see exactly what happened in each case:

Iowa: “The Iowa justices upheld a lower-court ruling that rejected a state law restricting marriage to a union between a man and woman…In its ruling, the Supreme Court upheld an August 2007 decision by a judge who found that a state law limiting marriage to a man and a woman violates the constitutional rights of equal protection…2005, when Lambda Legal, a New York-based gay rights organization, filed a lawsuit on behalf of six gay and lesbian couples in Iowa… We are firmly convinced the exclusion of gay and lesbian people from the institution of civil marriage does not substantially further any important governmental objective,” the Supreme Court wrote.

Vermont: “The two houses of Vermont’s legislature voted last week for a same-sex marriage bill — four votes short of a veto-overriding majority — and Gov. Jim Douglas (R) vetoed it Monday. But Tuesday, several house members who voted against it last week switched sides to support the override, making gay marriage law. The final vote was 100 to 49 to override the governor’s veto.”

DC: “Lawmakers say Tuesday’s unanimous vote moves the city a step closer to eventually allowing same-sex marriages to be performed in the nation’s capital. Gay couples married in other states are currently recognized as domestic partners when they move to Washington.” (this legislation changes it so they are recognized as a married couple)

Pretty interesting…I wonder if the domino theory will hold on this one…


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