Compiled by Dawn Wolfe Gutterman
Committee rejects anti-marriage amendment
ST. PAUL – The Senate Judiciary Committee on April 4 shot down a constitutional amendment to preserve the “traditional” definition of marriage in Minnesota.
In a last-minute twist, senators altered the proposed amendment so that it wouldn’t have asked voters to strictly ban the legal recognition of same-sex relationships. Instead, it would have prohibited judges from defining marriage in Minnesota, reserving that right for state legislators. It was rejected along party lines.
New York gay couples cannot file jointly
ALBANY, N.Y. – New York tax officials said gay couples who marry outside the state cannot file joint returns, according to Lambda Legal.
The group had asked for clarification from the state Department of Taxation and Finance on behalf of a same-sex couple from New York who wed in Canada. Lambda said the agency informed it April 4 that since the same-sex partnership is not a marriage for federal income tax purposes, it cannot be for state income tax purposes.
NAACP leader opposes anti-gay marriage amendment
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Black leaders, including those in the church, have an obligation to oppose a constitutional amendment banning equal marriage rights in South Carolina, the Rev. Nelson B. Rivers III, chief operating officer of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said April 8.
Around 200 people attended the group’s Democracy Day event, which focused a variety of topics including immigration, education and equal marriage.
“Equality is what we must stand on. We cannot be afraid and surrender the higher ground for moral principal,” said Rivers, who encouraged the crowd to see the debate as a civil rights issue.
Virginia governor won’t sign anti-marriage bill
RICHMOND, Va. – Gov. Timothy M. Kaine will not sign a bill that puts a proposed constitutional equal marriage ban on November’s statewide ballot, his administration said April 10.
Instead, Kaine will allow the bill to take force without his signature.
Governors have no authority over proposed constitutional amendments. Once passed in two successive legislative sessions separated by a House election, the issue goes directly to voters for ratification.
Kaine opposes a provision that would bar same-sex couples from signing contracts that simulate the rights of marriage. He was among over 1,300 people at an April 8 fundraising dinner to defeat the ban.