Compiled by Dawn Wolfe
Florida: On Jan. 19 a judge upheld the federal law letting states ban equal marriage rights, dismissing a lawsuit by two women seeking to have their Massachusetts marriage recognized in Florida. The ruling was the first by a federal judge on a direct challenge to the law.
Idaho: A Senate committee voted Jan. 21 to consider a proposed anti-gay marriage amendment that would add a new section to Article III of the Idaho Constitution, declaring, “Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state. This state and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status similar to that of marriage.” The proposal before the Idaho Senate would need to pass by two-thirds of each body to move forward. If passed it would then be placed on the ballot in 2006.
Indiana: The state Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 20 that the state’s law banning equal marriage rights can stand. The ruling rejected a challenge by three couples to a 1997 state law prohibiting the state from recognizing same-sex partners’ marriages, even those that take place in states where they are legal. A decision on whether to appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court has not yet been made.
Louisiana: On Jan. 19 the state Supreme Court reinstated the state’s constitutional amendment banning equal marriage rights. Without dissent, the high court reversed a state district judge’s ruling in October striking down the amendment on the grounds that it violated another provision of the state constitution – the requirement that an amendment cover only one subject.
Utah: A bill in the state legislature would grant marriage-like rights possibly endangered by the passed constitutional amendment against same-sex unions to unmarried people. The Senate Health and Human Services Committee approved the bill Jan. 21 without debate. It would allow two adults – be it a same-sex couple or a grandmother and granddaughter – to register with the state Health Department and check which benefits they want, including hospital visitation privileges and inheritance. The bill would also allow them to make organ-donation decisions, funeral arrangements and emergency medical choices for the other person.