Most States in U.S. Considering Constitutional Amendment Against Same Sex Marriage

Rhode Island, U.S.- A peaceful rally took place in the rotunda of the Rhode Island State House on Tuesday, March 15, in supportive of a bill to ban same-sex marriage. However, the opponents also participated in the rally advocating their stance.

"Look at the way God created marriage ... between a man and a woman," said Richard Donnelly, pastor at St. Mark's Church in Cranston.

State Rep. Victor Moffitt, R-Coventry, has introduced a bill intended to uphold the "sanctity of marriage" and ensure that "any same-sex marriage approved in another state won't be legal here," he said. Moffitt said it is important his bill becomes law so that if Massachusetts allows same-sex marriages, those unions would clearly be illegal in Rhode Island.

Associated Press reported on how the states are handling the issue in regards to approval of the constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage. In most states, the lawmakers are considering adopting the amendment.

ALABAMA: Constitutional amendment awaiting action in House of Representatives. Most lawmakers support amendment, but some Democrats want to delay putting it on ballot until 2006, fearing referendum in November would help Republicans by drawing more conservatives to the polls.

ARKANSAS: Supporters of proposed constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman are collecting signatures from voters ?80,570 are needed by July 2 ?to put measure on November ballot.

ARIZONA: House has approved and sent to Senate a proposal urging Congress to pass federal constitutional amendment banning gay marriages.

CALIFORNIA: Resolution introduced urging Congress to approve federal amendment banning gay marriages. Gay-marriage backers plan rival resolution opposing that amendment. Assemblyman Mark Leno has proposed redefining marriage as gender-neutral civil contract between two people, instead of between man and woman.

COLORADO: Resolution supporting federal amendment is on hold.

DELAWARE: Republican minority leader in Senate plans to introduce bill to amend state constitution to forbid same-sex marriage and civil unions.

GEORGIA: Democrat-controlled House narrowly defeated Senate-passed state constitutional amendment, but proposed ban may be reconsidered.

IOWA: Resolutions urging Congress and state to adopt constitutional amendments banning gay marriage are pending in Senate.

IDAHO: House-passed amendment to state constitution was shelved by Senate.

ILLINOIS: Lawmakers have introduced four constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage. All are being held in House and Senate committees and are not expected to come up for votes.

INDIANA: Proposed state constitutional ban on gay marriage passed Senate with bipartisan support, but Democratic Speaker Patrick Bauer shelved it in House, provoking walkouts by House Republicans.

KANSAS: Senate about to begin hearings on House-approved amendment to state constitution declaring that only valid marriage in Kansas is between one man and one woman.

KENTUCKY: Senate-passed constitutional amendment is pending in House.

LOUISIANA: Proposed amendment to state constitution scheduled to be considered in session convening March 29.

MINNESOTA: Proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage is pending in House and Senate.

MASSACHUSETTS: Legislators have given preliminary approval to constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage but allow civil unions. Their deliberations are in response to Supreme Judicial Court ruling saying same-sex marriages, under current constitution, must be allowed.

MARYLAND: House committee killed measures that would have amended constitution to ban gay marriages and denied recognition of gay unions from other states.

MAINE: House and Senate narrowly defeated proposals aimed at preventing gay marriages.

MICHIGAN: House came up eight votes short of two-thirds needed to ask voters whether they want to change state constitution to limit marriage to one man, one woman.

MISSOURI: Senate-passed constitutional amendment is now pending in House. If passed there, would appear on November ballot.

MISSISSIPPI: Senate and House have each approved proposed state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriages. Measure likely to go on November ballot.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Senate has approved bill, now pending in House, that would bar recognition of gay marriages from other states.

NEW JERSEY: Lawmakers in January voted to make New Jersey the fifth state granting extensive legal rights to same-sex couples. The bill did not authorize gay marriage.

NEW YORK: Bills supporting and opposing gay marriage have been introduced, but passage not considered likely any time soon.

OHIO: In February, state enacted one of nation's strictest bans on gay marriage, and also prohibited same-sex and unmarried heterosexual couples from receiving some state benefits available to married couples.

OKLAHOMA: Proposed state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage died in Senate committee when Democratic chairman refused to bring it up.

PENNSYLVANIA: Republican leaders in House have put off voting on proposals to strengthen existing gay marriage ban and ban taxpayer-funded same-sex benefits, citing confusion about what the amendments would do.

RHODE ISLAND: Bills introduced opposing and supporting gay marriage; no hearing dates scheduled.

SOUTH CAROLINA: Bill pending in House saying it is against public policy to recognize legal benefits of nonmarital relationships.

SOUTH DAKOTA: House committed rejected measure that would have banned civil unions and domestic partnerships.

UTAH: Legislature has voted to place proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage on November ballot.

VIRGINIA: Both legislative chambers have passed resolution urging Congress to approve federal constitutional amendment banning gay marriages and civil unions. Both chambers also approved a bill, awaiting governor's signature, to ban recognition of civil unions from other states.

WISCONSIN: Both legislative chambers have approved state constitutional amendment defining marriage as union between man and woman and barring civil unions. Measure needs approval again in next session, then could go to voters in April 2005.

WYOMING: Legislature killed bill that would have denied recognition to same-sex marriages from other states.

Vivian S. Park