Same-sex marriage has taken multiple states by storm this year, adding to the list of same-sex marriage legal states Delaware, Minnesota and Rhode Island. Once Hawaii and Illinois pass the proposed measures as they are expected to do, the total number of states who have legalized same sex marriage will rack up to 16, including the District of Columbia.
Since the Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s ban on same-sex marriage, an influx of lawsuits and rulings against states who have effectively banned the practice of same-sex marriage have taken the country by storm. In turn states one by one are bowing to the pressures of the people, making same sex marriage a reality for millions of hopeful gay and lesbian couples.
New Jersey in October of this year followed suit after a judge struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. Coupled with Governor Chris Christie’s dropping of his appeal against the ruling, the wave of pro gay marriage rulings doesn’t show any sign of abating.
According to TIME’s guide to “the states most likely to legalize gay marriage in the months ahead,” states traditionally conservative like New Mexico, Oregon and Nevada are in the sights of same-sex marriage activists who are looking to take the states by storm.
“They used to say you could only win in the coast, not in the heartland,” says Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry. “The more we make it real- the more places gay people share in the freedom to marry- the more people see with their own eyes families helped and no one hurt.”
The shift in public opinion on same-sex marriage has drifted drastically in favor over the past decade, with over 60% of Americans supporting same-sex marriage.
States that are still vehemently opposed to same-sex marriage include Mississippi, Texas and Tennessee. These states are traditionally opposed to progressive or liberal causes.
Still the march towards the full legalization of same sex marriage for a majority of Americans is in full speed, with 37% of Americans projected to be living in ‘freedom to marry’ states once Illinois passes the measure.
Swing states like Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Colorado and Utah are in same-sex marriage activist’s sights, saying that despite the typical stereotype that same sex marriage is confined to the liberal coast, these majority landlocked states could see the tide pushed in favor of same sex marriage in the coming months.
The Hawaii House of Representatives concluded a special session bill Friday night to legalize gay marriage, sending it on its way for approval by the state Senate. After it passes the Senate it will be sent to Governor Neil Abercrombie for his signature. According to sources the Senate is more than likely to pass the measure following an earlier version passing the house last week.
Hawaii’s move to legalize same marriage comes after more than 50 hours of public testimony from people on both of the issue and countless hours of floor debates. Gov. Abercrombie in a statement said he commends the House of Representatives for “taking this historic vote to move justice and equality forward,”
by John Amaruso