Saturday, January 16, 2010

Proposed amendments to ban same-sex marriage in NH and IN; re-introduced MD bill to bar recognizing out-of-state same-sex marriages

I have been tracking recent activities to advance proposed state constitutional amendments against same-sex marriages (and other "legal unions" of same-sex couples). In my last post, I focused on developments in West Virginia and Iowa, with passing reference to Indiana and New Hampshire.

Bil Browing, editor-in-chief of the Bilerico Project, predicts that the Indiana legislature will not pass legislation on a proposed "super-DOMA" amendment. A super-DOMA amendment bans not just same-sex marriages, but legal status for other types of same-sex relationships. Thus Indiana's super-DOMA proposals (Indiana S.J.R. 13 / Indiana H.J.R. 5 and H.J.R. 7 ) would bar state recognition of same-sex relationships that are "identical or substantially similar" to marriage; a super-DOMA bill introduced in Iowa (Iowa S.J.R. 2001) would ban any "legal union" for same-sex couples. reports initial progress by Let NH Vote to engage public support for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages, even though the state last year adopted a marriage-equality law. A bill has already been introduced in the state legislature to repeal that law. (01/17/10 update: According to, the legislation "will be the focus of testimony before the House Election Law Committee on Tuesday.")

The Baltimore Sun reports that Maryland Delegate Emmett Burns has re-introduced legislation (Maryland H.B. 90) to bar recognition of out-of-state, same-sex marriages. State Attorney General Douglas Gansler has been preparing to issue an opinion thought to be in favor of recognizing these marriages. Burns' legislation "is an attempt to step in and prevent the attorney general's analysis from being enforced," said Morgan Meneses-Sheets, executive director of the advocacy group Equality Maryland. Burns' continuing efforts in this matter appear to have no better prospect of success. Neighboring D.C. has just enacted a marriage-equality law that is pending Congressional review. Burns worries that Maryland same-sex couples married there will expect to have their marriages recognized in their home state.

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