(video courtesy of Equality Maine, equalitymaine.org)
On Wednesday May 6, Maine became the fifth U.S. state to secure marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples, after Governor John Baldacci chose to sign LGBT equality into law. This marks the second time a state legislature has successfully enacted marriage rights without an overarching Court decision, an achievement first reached by Vermont on April 7 of this year.
Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Iowa also currently offer marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples as a result of judicial review (as did California before the razor-thin passage of Proposition 8 at the polls in November 2008). But the trend now appears to be toward legislative action, with politicians on both sides of the aisle increasingly willing to entertain legislation and move toward supporting civil marriage rights for LGBT couples.
New Hampshire's legislature has quickly followed suit, finalizing passage of a marriage equality bill and sending it to Governor John Lynch's desk on Wednesday. Governor Lynch has opposed marriage for same-sex couples in the past, so all LGBT and straight allies (in New Hampshire or otherwise) should contact his office immediately and urge him to sign the bill. These legislative victories echo far and wide in our country and can inform and boost our fight to achieve full marriage equality here in the District.