Thoughts for the New Year

by Beverly A. Pekala on January 2, 2013

Many say 2013 could be the year gay marriage is legally recognized throughout the United States. The US Supreme Court will take up the issue of same-sex marriage this year, hearing arguments in March and perhaps issuing a decision sometime in June. Should the Supreme Court strike down the Defense of Marriage Act the ramifications would be enormous, affecting issues ranging from Social Security, to pension and immigration benefits.

And just in the last week, Maine and Maryland began issuing same-sex marriage licenses. The road to legalizing gay marriage in Maine wasn’t quick or easy. First, the Maine legislature approved same-sex marriage, but then a statewide referendum overturned it. In response, advocates gathered signatures to put it on the ballot again, and last year voters approved the measure.

And on the first day of 2013, Maryland began issuing same sex marriage licenses. Maryland, Maine, as well as Washington State all approved same-sex marriage in November by popular vote, while the other states which now allow same-sex marriage reached that result not by vote, but by judicial rulings or legislation. Advocates of gay marriage see voter approval of gay marriage in these three states as a sign that the general public has shifted their views, now favoring the rights of same-sex couples to legally marry.

And while we’re only midway through this first week of the new year, the Illinois legislature might consider taking up the issue of same-sex marriage issue this week. Stay tuned.

This is only the 2nd day of 2013, but it’s sure shaping up to be an interesting year.

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