Wednesday, May 20, 2009

NH: House gay marriage vote barely fails; NY: gay marriage seems likely to pass, as opposition is weaker


The New Hampshire house of representatives has narrowly rejected a gay marriage bill, 188-186, partly out of concern over lack of protection for religious institutions. The Reuters story by Andrew J. Manuse is here.

However Jeremy Peters reports in the New York Times today (May 20) that conservative opposition to gay marriage is not getting much traction, and that pro gay marriage forces are actually raising more money.

If New York is able to become the sixth or seventh state to recognize gay marriage, it would probably put considerable political pressure on California, meaning that even if the California Supreme Court lets the 2008 referendum stand, a future referendum probably would accept gay marriage, although narrowly. Slowly, the political process in many more liberal states is starting to accept gay marriage, answering calls that judicial activism is imposing its will on voters, and making court pressure and even potential court appointees less important on this issue. Indeed, New York could totally undermine the original Bush administration claim that a constitutional amendment was needed to protect marriage from judges (as in 2004). The link is this.

President Obama has tended to favor letting states tackle this issue one at a time, and tended to favor civil unions instead. Ultimately there will be a question about federal tax treatment, social security and other benefits. Kathy Beige has an interesting column on About.com here.

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