Same-sex marriage is in the news again. Vermont officially joined the same-sex marriage clique when both houses of its state legislature voted to override the governor's veto on Tuesday. This follows a court decision in Iowa that declared the state ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Iowa and Vermont now make four states, after Massachusetts and Connecticut, to have given their blessings to same-sex nuptials.
Vermont, one of America's most liberal states, was the first state to legalize civil unions for same-sex couples in 2000. It has now become the first to legalize same-sex marriage by legislative vote rather than by a state court ruling. Republican Gov. Jim Douglas vetoed the bill on Monday, but was quickly overruled by 67% in the state House and 82% in the state Senate.
According to a Town Meeting Day survey done in March, 55 percent of 13,000 people in 120 Vermont towns and cities supported the legalization of same-sex marriage. Thirty-eight percent of those surveyed said they opposed same-sex marriage, and seven percent remained undecided.
In the meanwhile, conservative Iowans are fighting to undo the April 3rd decision made by their state Supreme Court. Polls show that 62 percent of Iowans are against same-sex marriage, and conservatives are pushing for a state constitutional amendment to renew the ban that the court overturned. Iowa Family Policy Council spokesman Bryan English does not think there is much hope the state legislature will pick up the bill, though, unless there is a strong public push for an amendment.
"It's only a matter of time now before those of us who are still willing to speak the truth and say that homosexuality is wrong are the ones that they are calling criminals," English told OneNewsNow. "We have to rise up now. We have to protect marriage. We must pass the Iowa marriage amendment. People need to get active."
In New Hampshire, the House has officially passed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage on March 26. The bill will now go on to the Senate. Democratic Gov. John Lynch has said he opposes same-sex marriages, but he has not said whether he would veto the bill if it passes in the Senate. He signed the civil unions bill in 2007, outlawing discrimination against same-sex couples.
New Jersey and New Hampshire have both enacted civil union laws, while Maine, California Washington, Oregon, and Washington DC have domestic partnership laws that are almost equal to civil unions.
A majority of Americans still oppose same-sex marriage by 53-44%, according to a CNN poll taken in June 2008. Thirty states have adopted constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage, and 17 of those states have also banned civil unions. The federal government passed the federal Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, defining marriage as "a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife" and a spouse as "a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife."
Vermont Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage - UPI
Iowa Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage - The Washington Post
New Hampshire House Oks Same-Sex Marriage - CNN
Town Meeting Day Survey - WPTZ.com
List Of Defense Of Marriage Amendments To US State Constitutions - Wikipedia
Conservative Iowans Fight To Preserve Traditional Marriage - OneNewsNow
The Decline Of The US - Koinonia House