Some Good News for Gay Families
In Indiana a constitutional gay marriage ban dies in the House.
What it means: It will be 2012 before Indiana voters would get the op to vote for a new constitutional amendment, since any constitutional amendment must pass through two consecutive legislative terms. Say what you will about conservative Indiana, being slow to change the constitution makes a lot of sense to me.
What it doesn’t mean: The state still has laws against gay marriage, so nothing really gets better for gay families. Things just don’t get any worse, for now.
In Oregon, same-sex couples may now register as domestic partners as of February 4, 2008.
What it means: Oregon’s senate and house passed a domestic partner registry law that allows same-sex couples to register their partnerships, thus granting them state-level matrimonial rights – joint tax filing and inheritance rights, mainly.
What it doesn’t mean: Oregonian and all other American gay families are still not recognized by our federal government, which means that any corporate pension or retirement benefit with federal ties (taxable income) may not be transferred to same-sex spouses without tax penalties. Also, there are over 1,100 federal rights and benefits attached to marriage that will not be available to gay-partnered Oregonians.
A New York appellate court ruled that valid out-of-state gay marriages must be recognized in New York.
What it means: Until the NY legislature decides to amend the constitution to say otherwise (and it could), out-of-state gay marriages (Canada, Massachusetts, other countries that allow gay marriage like Spain and the Netherlands) must be recognized by the state.
What it doesn’t mean: Gay couples still can’t get married IN New York. The highest court in New York ruled in 2006 that gay couples did not have a current legal right to marriage in that state.All three events are just a continuation of the ever-evolving patchwork quilt of our civil rights, but at least these are relatively good news.