Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Gimme Five! Marriage Equality in the USA Turns Five

Happy fifth birthday, or perhaps more accurately, anniversary! This week marks the fifth year of marriage equality in Massachusetts.

Back in May 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage, giving equal rights to committed gay couples (well, at the state level at least).

Since then we've had Connecticut do the same last year, and Iowa, Vermont, and Maine this year. New Hampshire has marriage equality legislation pending in front of the governor.

New Jersey and New Hampshire currently have state-level civil unions, and there are broad domestic partnership laws in California, Oregon, and DC. New York now recognizes out-of-state same-sex marriages and is working on its own law to bring fairness to civil marriage.

The most significant note, however, is how the strident opposition to civil equality - in Massachusetts - has dramatically faded. Nowadays, same-sex marriage is basically looked at for what it is: fair treatment for a committed couple. (Obviously this issue is not nearly settled in other states!)

Compared to other developed nations, America is still sadly lagging behind in treating LGBT citizens equally, but the momentum for fairness and equality is undeniable.

Here at Equality NC, we've been proud to have helped defeat a marriage discrimination amendment to the state constitution for six years running (and we couldn't have done it without you - thank you!). North Carolina is the only state in the South to have done so, making us a bastion of hope down here.

And with the current trend among other states, one can easily imagine what it'll be like when marriage equality does occur here in a few years. It's inevitable, and more importantly, it's now believable.

Wow, what a difference five years makes!

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