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Julianne Escobedo Shepherd: Marriage Equality: Who’s Next?

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It’s no longer just New Yorkers who are dancing for marriage equality.

By **Julianne Escobedo Shepherd**

By arrangement with Alternet.Org.

The passage of New York’s same-sex marriage law last week was a victory for America (and not just because we think we’re the center of the universe—we are, thus far, the most populous state to make it official). Meanwhile, Obama seems to be coming around; in his press conference yesterday, he “stopped just short” of advocating same-sex marriage. And the momentum may be energizing marriage equality bills in other states, as well.

In Maine, which two years ago voted against same-sex marriages, legislation will be introduced once more. This time, there’s a template to overcoming the obstacles—convincing both Republican legislators and religious constituents, a dance New York had to learn—and existing language outlining protection of religious institutions. The Bangor Daily News outlines this necessary peaceful coexistence: “A leading advocate of universal marriage, Betsy Smith, executive director of EqualityMaine, says the decision in Maine must come from the voters. She says that ‘hearts and minds are changing.’ But the question is whether they have changed enough to assure that marriage equality will win on the ballot.”

Rhode Island approved civil unions, but not same-sex marriages. “The bill, which already passed in the state’s House of Representatives and which the governor said he was likely to sign, would grant same-sex couples most of the rights and benefits that Rhode Island provides married couples. It was offered as a compromise this spring after Gordon D. Fox, the openly gay speaker of the Democratc-controlled House, said he could not muster enough votes to pass a same-sex marriage bill.”

Across the world: the New York rule has inspired India to discuss decriminalizing gay marriage; meanwhile pride marches in Sao Paolo, Brazil, drew a reported four million attendees, including “men in swimsuits danc[ing] to blaring techno music on floats decked with multi-colored balloon arrangements that slowly made their way down the crowded streets.” Awesome.

Copyright 2011 Julianne Escobedo Shepherd


By arrangement with Alternet.Org.

Julianne Escobedo Shepherd is an associate editor at AlterNet and a Brooklyn-based freelance writer and editor. Formerly the executive editor of The FADER, her work has appeared in VIBE, SPIN, New York Times and various other magazines and websites.

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