Compiled by Dawn Wolfe
Alabama: The first bill passed in both the state Senate and the House in the new legislative session was a constitutional amendment banning equal marriage rights. Both chambers passed their bills on Feb. 8. Now the constitutional amendment can go before voters in a statewide referendum. The bill’s Senate sponsor said he expects the Legislature to set a special election in September 2005, with the anti-equal marriage amendment and a constitutional amendment to remove segregation-era language from Alabama’s constitution on the ballot.
Colorado: The evangelical Christian ministry Focus on the Family says it will try to put a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in Colorado on the ballot in 2006. Plans are still in the early stages and other organizers have yet to be recruited, a spokesman said on Feb. 10.
Florida: A group seeking to reinforce the state’s ban on equal marriage rights has launched a signature collection drive to get a constitutional amendment on the 2006 ballot. The proposal seeks to amend the state constitution to strictly define marriage as a union between “only one man and one woman.” The measure was filed with the state elections division on Feb. 9 by a political committee called Florida4Marriage.org, a group with ties to conservative Christians.
Virginia: The state House approved a constitutional amendment banning equal marriage rights Feb. 8, despite a warning from the state’s first openly gay legislator that the measure will one day prove as shameful as slavery and segregation. The House voted 78-18 in favor of a resolution similar to one approved in the Senate on Feb. 7. If negotiators can reconcile the two versions this year, and the measure passes both chambers again next year, it will be put to the voters in November 2006.