State Legislation Enacted
Updated 12 June 2014
2014 State Legislation
MISSISSIPPI #1• On 27 February 2014, MS lawmakers revised SB-2681 so that it would legalize discrimination by any person, government, or corporation claiming personal religious beliefs as the reason, except when the discrimination is outlawed by a “government interest of the highest magnitude.” The bill was passed and approved by the governor on 3 April 2014; effective oas of 1 July 2014.
2013 State Legislation
ALASKA • On 19 September 2013, the AK Division of Personnel and Labor Relations revised the definition of “immediate family” to include the same-gender partner of any state employee who takes leave because of that partner’s serious health condition.
COLORADO • On 9 January 2013, civil union legislation was proposed (the state constitution prohibits full, same-gender marriage). On 11 January 2013, the bill passed the Senate a second time, again by 21 to 14. On 28 February 2013, the state House Judiciary Committee passed a civil union marriage bill on an 8-to-3 vote, sending it for a full House vote. On 6 March 2013, the Colorado House Finance Committee passed the civil union bill. On 8 March 2013, the bill passed its third and final committee (House Appropriations) on a 9-to-4 vote. On 12 March 2013 lawmakers finished voting in favor, and sent the bill to the governor, who signed it.
HAWAI’I • On 23 January 2013, state Representative Faye Hanohano (D) proposed a law to legalize same-gender marriage, and Representative John Mizuno (D) introduced two constitutional amendments: one to allow same-gender marriage, and another to ban it, so that voters can decide. Separately, 15 representatives from both parties, and one senator, introduced proposed laws to ban same-gender marriage. On 11 February 2013, the state House Judiciary Committee decided not to hold any hearings on the same-gender marriage bill, effectively killing the proposal until the next legislative session starts in January 2014. On 16 August 2013, all 4 members of HI’s Congressional delegation urged state lawmakers to pass a law to upgrade HI civil unions to same-gender civil marriages immediately. On 28 August 2013, HI Governor Abercrombie introduced a bill to legalize same-gender civil marriage. On 9 September 2013, the governor called for a special, 4-day legislative session on marriage equality starting 28 October 2013. On 29 October 2013, the HI Senate Judiciary & Labor Committee held hearings and voted, 5-to-2, to advance the same-gender civil marriage bill to the full Senate, which passed on a 20-to-4 vote, after which it was sent to the House Judiciary and Finance Committee. On 5 November 2013, a HI House of Representatives committee finished hearing testimony from 5,184 citizens, and voted to amend and then advance the equal marriage bill for a full House vote. On 8 November 2013, the HI House of Representatives passed the bill, 30-to-19. On 12 November, the Senate approved the changes made in the House. On 13 November, the governor signed the bill, ensuring the start of same-gender civil marriages on 2 December 2013.
ILLINOIS• On 20 December 2012, Lambda Legal, ACLU Illinois, and Equality Illinois announced Illinois Unites for Marriage, a coalition to pass HB-5170, the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, a bill that would upgrade civil union to full marriage. On 26 February 2013, an IL state House committee approved the bill by a 6-to-5 vote, thus sending it to the full House for a vote. On 5 November 2013, the IL House approved the bill, and the Senate concurred. On 20 November 2013, in Chicago, IL, at a desk once used by President Abraham Lincoln, Governor Quinn signed a bill that upgrades the civil union law to a full marriage equality law. On 5 March 2014, IL attorney general Lisa Madigan told county clerks to begin issuing same-gender civil marriage licenses immediately (instead of waiting until 1 June 2014 when the law passed in 2013 would have taken effect), and IL Governor Pat Quinn said the IL Department of Public Health is accepting all marriage licenses issued by any IL county clerk.
MICHIGAN • On 23 December 2011, Governor Snyder (R) signed legislation that outlawed all domestic partner benefits for all state employees, except those at state universities. On 30 April 2013, the MI Supreme Court decided not to hear an appeal, thereby ensuring that same-gender domestic partners of state employees will continue qualifying for health insurance.
MINNESOTA • On 4 March 2013, 340 clergy and religious organizations endorsed proposed same-gender marriage legislation. On 12 March 2013, Senate and House committees both voted in favor, sending the bill to the floors of the two chambers. On 10 April 2013, the pending same-gender marriage bill was strongly endorsed by four political parties: DFL (Democratic-Farmer-Labor), Independence, Libertarian, and Green. Only the Republican Party was opposed. On 6 May 2013, the MN House Ways & Means Committee voted in favor, and on 7 May, the MN Senate Finance Committee also voted in favor. A House floor vote passed on 9 May, and a Senate floor vote passed on 13 May 2013, sending the bill to Governor Dayton, who signed it.
RHODE ISLAND #2 • On 22 January 2013, the House Judiciary Committee unanimously approved a same-gender civil marriage bill, and on 24 January, the full House voted for it, 51-19. On 23 April 2013, Rhode Island’s 5 Republican lawmakers endorsed the bill. The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the bill on 23 April, advancing it to the full Senate. On 24 April, the Senate Judiciary Committee defeated an amendment for a voter referendum in 2014, and then passed the full marriage equality bill, advancing it back to the House for final sign-off on 2 May. The legislation was signed by the governor on 3 May 2013. Same-gender civil marriages began on 1 August 2013.
2012 State Legislation
CALIFORNIA • On 31 May 2012, a same-gender marriage advocate, California state senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), proposed Senate Bill 1140, which defined marriage as a civil contract instead of a religious ceremony, and protected churches’ non-profit status even when clergy refuse to perform same-gender wedding ceremonies. It was enacted on 30 September 2012.
RHODE ISLAND #1 • On 14 May 2012, Governor Chafee ordered RI agencies to treat out-of-state same-gender marriages as legal, and to treat married same-gender and opposite-gender couples equally, to comply with a 2007 state attorney general’s opinion. Results: same-gender spouses of state employees and anyone covered by a RI-regulated insurer got health/life insurance benefits; same-gender parent names appear on birth certificates; and same-gender couples became exempt from sales tax on property and vehicle transfers.
Send questions and comments to Ned Flaherty: NFlaherty@MarriageEquality.org.