Vermont Legalizes Gay Marriage
Vermont has become the fourth state to legalize same-sex marriage. The State Legislature passed the measure, but, as expected, Governor Jim Douglas vetoed it. The Legislature responded swiftly by overriding the veto 23-5 in the Senate and 100-49 in the House. Vermont joins Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Iowa as states allowing gays and lesbians to marry.
Iowa Republicans Lose Vote on Marriage Ban
Republican lawmakers in the Iowa House attempted to bring up the issue of gay marriage after it was legalized by a landmark state Supreme Court ruling. They tried twice, unsuccessfully, to introduce a measure banning same-sex marriage in the state. Democrats, who control the House, refused to allow the issue on procedural grounds, and say it will not be heard during the current legislative session.
District of Columbia Council Recognizes Gay Marriage
The District of Columbia (DC) Council voted in favor of legislation that recognizes gay marriages performed in other states. The step brings the city closer to legalizing same-sex marriage. If passed, the bill would allow DC gay couples to marry in one of four states that allow such marriages, then return to DC, and have the marriage recognized under city law. Council Member David A. Catania said, “This is the march toward human rights and equality, and that march is coming here.” The DC legislation faces final approval by the Council in May. It then must be reviewed by Congress, which has final say over most DC laws.
Colorado Governor Signs Law Protecting Same-Sex Couples
Colorado Governor Bill Ritter signed legislation expanding rights of same-sex partners and unmarried couples. The legislation allows people to select a “designated beneficiary,” who would have many of the rights and privileges of a legally married spouse, including property inheritance and hospital visitation. A spokesman told The Denver Post that the Governor saw the bill as a “low-cost option for people to put their end-of-life matters in order.”
Gay Couples Win Tax Benefit in Maryland
Maryland’s General Assembly passed legislation allowing gay domestic partners who co-own homes to be exempted from the state’s inheritance tax. The bill adds same-sex domestic partners to the list of family members who can inherit a home without paying taxes on that property.
New Hampshire House Passes Transgender-Rights Bill
The New Hampshire House reversed itself, passing by a single vote a bill extending antidiscrimination protections to transgender individuals. The bill was reconsidered after a passionate appeal from House Speaker Terie Norelli. Republican opponents tried to raise fears that it would allow predatory males to use women’s restrooms. Similar bills are under consideration in Massachusetts and Connecticut.
Iraqi Leaders “Ignoring” Gay Murders
Government-supported death squads in Iraq recently have killed 25 young men and boys, according to Amnesty International. The majority of the attacks occurred in the Baghdad suburb of Sadr City, controlled by the ultraconservative Shia militia. The bodies of four gay men, each bearing a sign with the Arabic word for “pervert” on their chests, were discovered in Sadr City. No arrests have been made. Ali Hili, the London spokesman for Iraqi GLBT persons, said it received reports of at least 63 killings in the past four months. He told The Independent, “Since mid-December, we’ve been getting lots of reports about mass arrests, and raids on houses, cafés, barber’s shops.”