In the week that I’ve been apartment-hunting with Michael and Rosie in DC, marriage equality has moved forward at a lightning pace. Just in case you haven’t been able to keep up with the daily barrage of freedom-to-marry news, here’s a brief recap.
- France gave final approval to marriage equality on Tuesday, April 24. Opponents are challenging the legality of the law before France’s Constitutional Court, but the New York Times reports that that challenge is expected to fail. Pro-equality President François Hollande will sign the measure and same-sex weddings will begin this summer. France is the 14th country in the world to approve nationwide marriage equality (not the 17th, as some reports have erroneously stated).
- On Wednesday, the Rhode Island Senate passed a marriage equality bill. Once the House approves the Senate’s minor changes and pro-equality Governor Lincoln Chafee signs the bill, Rhode Island will become the tenth U.S. state allowing gay and lesbian couples the freedom to marry. Significantly, all five Republicans in the Rhode Island Senate voted to support equal marriage, the first time an entire state legislative caucus of either party has unanimously endorsed marriage equality. Rhode Island’s decision to join the equality column means that New England is now the U.S.’s first all-equality region. A clean sweep for the freedom to marry in the region that gave birth to American freedom!
- The Delaware House passed a marriage equality bill on Tuesday by a 23-18 vote. The measure now goes to the state Senate, which is also expected to pass it. Democratic Governor Jack Markell has promised to sign the bill, which is supported by 54% of Delawareans, into law.
- On Monday, April 22, the Nevada Senate voted 12-9 to repeal the state’s constitutional marriage discrimination amendment, becoming the first legislative chamber in the country to do so. According to BuzzFeed‘s Chris Geidner, the repeal bill now goes to the Nevada Assembly. If it passes, the next legislature (which meets in 2015) must also pass it, and then Nevada voters must approve repeal the following year. During the debate, Democratic Senator Kelvin Atkinson came out of the closet for the first time, announcing on the Senate floor, “I am a black, gay male.” Watch:
- And yesterday, a federal judge in Oregon released an opinion in which he flat-out stated that the state’s marriage discrimination amendment is “wholly without any rational basis” and “therefore unconstitutional.”
There were a couple less-than-stellar news items as well:
- The Senate in the South American nation of Colombia rejected a marriage equality bill on Wednesday, defying an order from that nation’s highest court to grant same-sex couples all the rights and benefits of marriage. However, Colombian lawmakers are merely postponing the inevitable: the court’s ruling states that if Congress fails to create marriage or its equivalent for same-sex couples by June 20, 2013, they “will automatically gain the right to go to any judge or notary public to formalize their union.”
- Horacio Cartes, the “I’ll-shoot-my-balls-off-if-my-son-marries-a-dude” guy, was elected president of Paraguay on Sunday.
But regardless of these speed bumps, the past week has indeed been a major one for marriage equality. In fact, it was such a good week that not even Brian “It’s just a flesh wound” Brown could find a positive way to spin it — he called said it was a “tough week” in an email to supporters yesterday.
Get used to this feeling, Brian, because in this fight it’s pretty much all you have left to look forward to.