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State Of Equality Round-Up: March 28 - April 1, 2011

March 28, 2011 6:10 pm ET by Equality Matters staff

To check out last week's State of Equality Round-Up, click here.

CO: House Committee Defeats Civil Unions Bill

DE: Senate Panel Advances Civil Unions Bill

IL: Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment Dies


Tuesday: House Passes Anti-Bullying Measure. The Arkansas House has given final passage to a bill that would require all school districts to enact anti-bullying policies that consider electronic avenues for bullying, including Facebook. The vote count in the House was 68-18.


Monday: Civil Unions Bill Assigned To Hostile House Committee. A bill that would allow gay and lesbian couples to enter into civil unions has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee, which is considered to be one of the committees least likely to send the bill for a full House vote.

Thursday: House Committee Defeats Civil Unions Bill. The Colorado House Judiciary Committee voted Thursday night to kill a bill that would have legalized civil unions between gay and lesbian couples in the state. During the committee’s hearing on the bill, several anti-gay groups testified that homosexuality could be cured and that civil unions would destroy American civilization.


Monday: House Judiciary Committee Holds Hearing On Gender Identity Non-Discrimination Bill. Last week, the Connecticut House Judiciary Committee held a hearing concerning HB 6599, a bill that would add “gender identity or expression” to the state’s anti-discrimination statute covering employment, education, housing, public accommodations, and credit.

Thursday: Transgender Protections Bill On Hold. The Connecticut legislature’s Judiciary committee has decided to postpone a final vote on a bill that would provide antidiscrimination protections for transgender people in the state. The deadline for a vote on the measure is April 15. 


Thursday: Senate Panel Advances Civil Unions Bill. The Delaware Senate Administrative Services Committee voted Wednesday to approve a bill that would recognize same-sex civil unions in the state. The bill now goes to the Senate floor for debate and a full vote.


Thursday: Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment Dies. A bill that would have amended the Illinois constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman has been declared dead after being referred to the senate subcommittee on constitutional amendments, which has no members.


Tuesday: Senate Approves Same-Sex Marriage Ban. The Indiana Senate voted 40-10 to approve a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriages and civil unions in the state. The measure must pass the General Assembly again in 2013 or 2014 and then be approved by the voters in 2014 before amending the state constitution. During the Senate vote, members of the Jesus Metropolitan Community Church in Indianapolis began loudly protesting the bill, chanting “Jobs Not Hate” and eventually being removed from the Senate gallery. 


Monday: House Votes To Approve Gender Identity Non-Discrimination Bill. The Maryland House voted 86-52 to approve a bill that would provide non-discrimination employment, housing, licensing, and commercial licensing protections for transgender Marylanders. The bill now moves to the Senate, where some fear there won’t be enough time to bring the bill to a full vote.

Tuesday: Gender Identity Bill Sent To Senate Rules Committee. Prospects for Maryland's transgender non-discrimination bill dimmed after the bill was sent to the Senate Rules Committee instead of the Judicial Proceedings Committee (where it was expected to go). Dana Beyer, a transgender activist monitoring the bill, warned. "Bills don’t go to Rules Committee unless there’s a problem with them. This is not the normal process. There really is no reason for it. I would say this doesn’t look good, and there’s no excuse for it."

Wednesday: Senate President Accused Of Trying To Kill Transgender Protections Bill. Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Mitchell is reportedly responsible for sending a gender identity antidiscrimination bill to the Senate Rules committee, where it is expected to languish until the current session comes to a close. The lead sponsor of the bill, Del. Joseline A. Penia-Melnyk, called Mitchell’s efforts “a tremendous, gross disrespect to the community.”


Wednesday: House Rejects Bill Decriminalizing Homosexuality. The Montana House stopped an attempt to move a stalled bill out of committee so that representatives could debate repealing an unconstitutional state law that criminalizes homosexuality. The law was struck down by the Montana Supreme Court in 1997.

New York

Wednesday: Cuomo Expects Marriage Equality Vote Within Six To Eight Weeks. New York Governor Cuomo told state LGBT leaders that he expects a State Senate vote on a marriage-equality bill within the next six to eight weeks, although some are skeptical that enough support currently exists for such a bill.


Thursday: House Approves Bill To Slash Domestic Partner Benefits. On Wednesday, the Ohio House voted to approve a union-busting bill that could be interpreted as rescinding domestic partner benefits for LGBT public workers, including school and university employees.


Monday: Little Momentum To Remove State Sodomy Law. A bill to wipe Texas’s unconstitutional sodomy law is unlikely to pass the state legislature. Despite having been struck down by the Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas, the state’s sodomy law enjoys support from many conservative Republicans.


Wednesday: Legislature Approves Out-Of-State Same-Sex Unions. The Washington Legislature has approved a bill that would recognize out-of-state same-sex unions as domestic partnerships in Washington. The Senate voted 28-19 in favor of the bill and now heads to Governor Chris Gregoire’s desk for final approval.

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