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The Voter’s Speakeasy featuring unbiased reporting and insight into life at Project Vote Smart from our staff, interns, and volunteers.

Same-Sex Unions in 2009

2009 October 29 - Kristen Vicedomini

This year, two states will determine the legal status of same-sex unions by popular vote.

  • Earlier this year, Maine's State House and State Senate approved legislation that would permit same-sex couples to marry, recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other states, and "allow individuals and religious groups to refuse to perform these marriages."  In response, Maine citizens petitioned for a people's veto to appear on the November 3rd ballot.  If this measure is approved, same-sex couples would be prohibited from marrying.

The state of Vermont enacted legislation permitting same-sex marriage in April of this year (see: Senate vote, House vote, Governor Jim Douglas' vetoHouse Override of Veto, Senate Override of Veto).  State Senator Kevin Mullin introduced an amendment to this bill that would have forced a legislative referendum on the measure, but it failed in the Senate.  Not long after, the Connecticut legislature (see: Senate Vote, House Vote) and the New Hampshire legislature (see: House Vote, Senate Vote with Amendment) each passed similar bills.  The State Assembly of New York passed such a bill as well, but it has yet to reach a vote in the State Senate.  Also in 2009, The Supreme Court of Iowa ruled that a 1998 law defining marriage as strictly between one man and one woman was unconstitutional.

Last year, the citizens of Arizona, Florida, and California approved constitutional amendments to define marriage only as the legal union of one man and one women.  Members of the Wyoming State House attempted to pass such an amendment this ...

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