Thursday, April 12, 2007

Thing One, Thing Two Out West

On that other coast, a progressive governor strongly contrasts with a regressive one. Those bills heading for marriage equality did pass in Washington and and is headed for passage in California. One breathes and offers hope for full equality, while the other shall die at the hands of a vengeful father figure.

In Sacramento, Assembly Bill 43 passed seven to three, on party lines, in the judiciary committee. This is the same Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) bill that passed the whole legislature last year by a thin margin. This should whiz through and pass by a bigger one this time. Then, as with last year, anti-marriage-equality Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will surely veto it. There won't be enough margin for an override.

It is worth nothing that unlike many states, California has a governor who cares little what the legislature does on big policies. This representative democracy thing is an annoyance to him. He says if the states high courts force him, SSM will happen there.

Up the road in Washington, the legislature is crawling toward SSM. The latest move was both houses passing a domestic partnership bill. Liberal Gov. Christine Gregoire will as assuredly sign this.

The Senate has already passed 5336 and yesterday, the House joined in easily 63 to 35.

Even though this falls far short of marriage equality and full rights, there was weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth by the anti-gay and anti-SSM folk.

We all know where it's headed. Only the schedule is uncertain.

Meanwhile, Washington lags California here and appears ready to leapfrog them in the next step unless Schwarzenegger goes away. The move in Olympia is very similar to such bills elsewhere. SS couples will register with the state. They get some key rights, such as inheritance for the intestate and hospital visitation. It falls far short of marriage or civil union rights.

While the anti folk heavy with moral condemnation, the pro-gay, pro-equality types were rueful. For example:
"I wish we were here to talk about marriage," said Rep. Joe McDermott, D-Seattle and one of five openly gay lawmakers in the Legislature. "Unfortunately we are not. Married couples receive over 400 rights, responsibilities and privileges, but same-sex couples are prohibited from doing this."

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