The Rising Tide of Marriage Equality
April 30, 2009
By Chris Edelson, HRC's state legislative director: Today’s vote by the Maine state Senate in favor of marriage equality is another exciting step forward in what has become a rising wave of positive marriage votes by state legislative bodies in Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire (and perhaps in more states to come in the months ahead). Our own Regional Field Organizer Jeremy Kennedy has been in Maine for the past three months working with our allies at Equality Maine to help secure key votes in support of marriage. Good luck to Jeremy and to Equality Maine as the bill moves to the House, and congratulations on the great result in the Senate! State legislators often cite deeply personal reasons to explain why they are voting for equality. In the floor debate that led up to the Maine Senate’s vote earlier today, one senator spoke of his two-year-old daughter, and explained that he wanted to be sure that, when she grows up, she can marry the person she loves, whether that is a man or a woman. Another senator explained that, when she married her husband decades ago, she faced difficulties because of their inter-faith marriage. She observed that she, like gay and lesbian couples, was simply engaged in “the pursuit of happiness”, a principle enshrined, of course, in the Declaration of Independence. The Senate President, Elizabeth Mitchell, may have found the best words to express why marriage equality for same-sex couples is the right thing to do. As Senate President Mitchell described it, “this is not a political issue. It is an issue of the heart, of the conscience.” That is a profound statement. Some people argue that marriage is just another political issue, to be debated over and, perhaps, deferred for another day, depending on the legislative schedule. In fact, the right to marry the person of one’s choice is a basic human right, and as legislators begin to recognize this, they begin to grant same-sex couples the full dignity they deserve as human beings. Recognizing marriage equality is about recognizing the humanity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. Each vote in favor of marriage equality is a statement that gives fuller meaning to what it means for each of us to be human.
May 20, 2013